If our society really values children:
- We will start by respecting child-rearing, more. Sure, we all know the cliche "Children are our future", and we all say quality child care is important, but are we prepared to work towards it? And if you see a stay-at-home mom or dad, do you automatically think they are being lazy by not going out into the work force? I would love to see equal respect shown to those who work outside and inside the home.
- We will offer more support to parents, both immediately after child birth, and in the years that follow. Raising children is rocket-science, and, since we are talking about how actual human lives are affected, there should be more resources available. And I'm not talking about googling information. I'm talking about being able to, as a parent, discuss particularly difficult behaviours in children, and our own reactions to them, with child experts, and perhaps with other parents in a group. Without judgment. Without guilt.
- We will pay child-care workers and teachers more fairly. It is not right that teachers and child care workers get paid far less than many other professions when the work is intense....and extremely important for the future generation. Please don't see this as whining though. I'm doing fine. And many people who sincerely love to work with children will do it for low pay. We see the value in our work. We don't need all of society to realize this. But in light of some recent conversations involving teacher-bashing, I feel that someone has to stand up for this group. We respect your careers. Please respect ours. This respect involves not belittling our jobs because we work with little people. (See above, regarding how these little people grow into big people.) And this respect involves wages which reflect the importance we place on child care and education. (And yes, we ALL know that there are some bad teachers out there. That there are some bad child-care providers out there. That is no excuse to act as if this work is not crucially important to our future society.)
- We will completely appreciate that multiple intelligence is where it's at. While teaching the 3 R's is a must, working with children's strengths is also important. I don't know about you, but I'm seeing a far greater need for social intelligence than for academic intelligence in our world today. There is a great imbalance, and I believe it is linked to the value we place on academics, over all other types. If we want to live in a world where everyone respects each other's differences, let's start walking the walk at the elementary level.
- We will stop the educational cuts. It really breaks my heart to see these funding cuts in the school system again and again. I remember when Noah finished SK, his Kindergarten teacher told me that she would have 30 students the next year, with no educational assistant. Now this is what I mean by disrespect to the profession. I mean, is that even humane? But, pushing that aside, lets look at the more important impact here: the students get less. And this is why it saddens me when I hear teacher-bashing. What super powers are you expecting teachers to have? And to the government: Are you really that naive to think that "everyone will be fine"? I am just flabbergasted. It is a cruel, cold act. And if you think deeper about it, you will see that I'm not overreacting. We won't get back these years.
If we value children, we value their potential. We value humankind. We value life.
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