Ann Bednarski: Spring invites reflection on life as a tutor
April 13, 2013
Springtime, no matter how the weather acts, is one sensational season in which my experience validates a lot of things happen very quickly and often spontaneously, without warning. One day hordes of birds suddenly start singing; tulips and daffodils pop up in spectacular color; the days are magical. Not really, but it could be magic that makes them longer. I like spring.
As a tutor, it was in spring that the most people decided to hire a tutor for their children. It is in late April and early May that young students and their parents succumb to the fact that they are woefully behind for their grade level. If they are advancing to middle school or high school, there is a sense of urgency to prepare for the transition.
I would say these situations yield some of the best dialogue between parents and children; it continues long after the problem ceases to be. It is often a new plateau for the parent-child relationship. On several occasions I was privy to these planning sessions; they are a tribute to the family unit because goals and aspirations are discussed honestly and most importantly, lovingly.
I did not join in the conversation; I served as a mediator. Sometimes I cautioned that discussing blame to determine whose fault something is usually is a waste of time. I would urge parents and students to focus on the problem first and foremost, then factor in summer plans and aim for amiable solutions. That is exactly what usually happens … if everyone is honest.
It seems nowadays parents and children do not converse much about life, goals and plans. There is chatter about clothes, cellphones, cars or fads on TV, but not much substantive dialogue. A few times I commented to a parent about his or her children's goals and was surprised they had no idea of what course in life their child had in mind. I did because that is where my focus is when I am tutoring.
Schools have morphed into a different institution that has changed its focus to social issues and child-rearing entities that diminish family values. Apparently, it is more critical to the system to have a robust sex-education program in place in kindergarten than ensuring these young people learn to read.
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Parents have fewer and fewer opportunities to decide what their child will learn in school. In addition, students' knowledge of sex will be factual and not judgmental; there is no proper or improper, moral or immoral input in the lessons.
As aforementioned, things happen quickly and sometimes spontaneously. In one week, our Legislature has moved forward to lower the mandatory age for schooling from 7 to 5 years old. The definition of marriage as "between one man and one woman" will be deleted from our Constitution if gay civil unions become recognized as marriage by the Legislature. Kindergarten teachers will be responsible for teaching explicit sex education to their young pupils. It is hard to believe and frightening at the same time. Tutors are provided by schools, at taxpayer expense, to ensure the progressive agenda is reinforced and not individualized to the needs of the selected students.
The choice of legislative issues is unimpressive. The deliberation of unintended consequences was not considered. Parents' wishes were not an issue. There seems to be a political contest among parties and states with the objective of controlling power not for the good of Americans, but to be re-elected to snatch more power and money from the very people who pay for many, many wasteful programs and expenditures.
The world is a different place. Americans are losing long-fought-for freedoms. Hold and hug your family today and pray for strength and peace.
Ann Bednarski of Carson City is a career educator and journalist.