A century ago, the answer posed in the title of this article would have been easy to answer – either you didn’t have the money and education wasn’t an option or you sent your kid to a boarding school hundreds of miles away and you didn’t see them till they were grown, all educated and ready start families of their own.
Nowadays, things are far more complicated and one cannot help but feel that they are getting more and more complicated with each year that passes. For instance, when we were children, most of us didn’t get too much help with our school from our parents (or at least that was the case in the author’s household). Nowadays, parents are doing 90% of their children’s homework and wondering why they aren’t learning much.
Then again, we don’t want to look disinterested.
It is definitely getting really, really complicated. So, where do we stand at the moment? How involved should we as dads get?
Support Their Choices
People have achieved incredible things in whatever field you may think of.
For example, there must have been more than a few kids who loved spending time collecting bugs as children and whose parents might not have been too psyched about it. Those kids became world-renowned entomologists who contributed immensely to the world of science.
It is very likely that many of world’s wealthiest IT billionaires’ parents didn’t love it that their children played on their computers for hours on end.
No interest is dumb. No choice of education is stupid and leads nowhere. There may be fields and professions where success is harder to achieve, but who are we to say that our children will not be happy with limited means, doing what they really love?
Supporting their choice definitely beats the alternative – pushing them into something that will make them money, but make them miserable along the way.
Let Them Fail
We live in a world (especially in the Western Culture) where all failure is immediately seen as a weakness and something that makes a person seem less worthy. Winning is everything and there is nothing that should stand in the way of victory.
We have taken this to such an extreme that parents feel horrified when their children fail at something. Getting an F has become tantamount to burning down the school. We feel pressured by the people around us and our children feel pressured by everyone around them.
We do stupid things just to prevent our children from failing.
And there is no worse thing we can do. Failing is a part of life. It is part of learning. You have to fail in order to know what you are good at. You are not good at everything. Your children are not good at everything. Failure will help them grow and learn.
Do not prevent your children from failing during their education.
Be There for Them
Education used to be a thing that mothers take care of. The father was there to perhaps make the final call of what the child will pursue, but that was that.
The good thing is that things have changed and that fathers are finally more involved in their children’s education. Back when we were children, how many of us ran to our dads when we needed help in school?
It was always the mom.
Nowadays, your children are as likely to come running to you as they are to mom and this is a great thing. They will ask you to be there for them, to help them out, to hear them out. Maybe they are looking for a bit of guidance. Be there.
The great thing is that this is not easier than ever thanks to the internet and the various things that it enables you to do. It can be something as small as brushing up on your basic knowledge of physics if your kid needs a bit of help or it can be something as huge as getting them help to nail university admissions at the world’s best colleges.
Instead of a Closing Word
Never push. Pushing never gets you anything and it can only hinder your children’s education efforts.
Help. Advise. Guide.
But never push.