A number of years ago, the relationship between successful students and family dinners was highlighted for me. It was highlighted in a form of “research” though I cannot quote any source. There was logic to the connection. Family dinners promote dialogue, strengthen relationships, demonstrate interest, support inquiring minds, and provide opportunities for thoughtful and active listening. I’ve always believed this and it frankly helped provide navigational beacons for me as I journeyed through the fog of raising adolescents!
Parents have been asked to have a dialogue with their children about the topic of a school uniform. I cannot emphasize enough the opportunity that this presents for parents and students. Many students have intense opinions on the matter – both for and against. Over the last couple of weeks my message to students has been – “What’s your logic?” “Where’s your argument?” Simplistic, emotional, and shallow statements are not good enough. What is your logic to oppose and what is your logic to support? That’s my message to kids. I hope that parents engage in a meaningful conversation with their kids on this topic. It is rich territory.
We seek to strengthen analytical thinking skills. We want kids to consider various sides to an argument and to be capable of dialogue on a topic. This is critical. Parents can, and should, challenge the statements that their kids make on this matter. They should engage in the discussion.
The Board of Trustees at LCS has opened the decision up to the parents. Next week we will find out what the parents say in this matter. A group of student leaders met with several members of the board of trustees who explained the operations of the board and listened to the students. This was an important meeting and I personally appreciated this step. It is important for students to know that the board, following it’s constitutional by-laws, is acting with positive intentions in considering the best interests of the school from a strategic perspective. The community that votes on matters is the parent community. The student voice has been expressed but, frankly, students do not get to vote directly on this decision. That’s just the way it is! That’s how the school works and it’s important for our students to know the functioning dynamics of a school organization.
I urge parents to talk with their kids and vote. If, and when, a parent view is different than their child’s view, it’s an important lesson for all involved. There are plenty of times when parents and their adolescent kids don’t agree. Good logic, good listening, and respectful dialogue are the key. It can’t be all about emotion! There are multiple positive arguments to be made in support and opposition. That’s the beauty of this conversation, it is ripe for building discussions. Engage your child over a family dinner and I guarantee that the conversation will be interesting and lively!!! My only request is that you push them to provide thoughtful logic, factual arguments, and not simplistic responses full of emotion!
(For further posts about school uniforms refer to January and February 2013 archives!)