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The 3 Rs - Respect, Responsibility, Resilience.

Friday, May 17, 2019


An article called 'Parents Behaving Badly' in 'Good Weekend' (SMH) April 20th says "unreasonable expectations and bullying from parents is the number one issue facing school Principals"

High school Principal Karen Terry, 54, links this development to a pervasive "happy-ology" - a belief children must be happy all the time. "They don't want their children to feel any sense of discomfort or distress," she says. Another exasperated principal recently wrote a pleading note to parents at a middle class suburban school in Melbourne "It has become more and more apparent to me that we are raising some of the most fragile children ever" the note read. "It seems that many parents simply will not allow their children to experience any kind of challenge, setback, discomfort, sanction, or to take responsibility for their actions"

At the same time these parents are demanding that schools teach their children to be able to excel at any task they attempt and question every exam or assessment mark that isn't an A+

The Principal mentioned above went on to say, "Parents, I implore you, please, let us do our job. We are professional educators who know how to deal with and develop young people. Every time you needlessly second guess us, question minutia, (tiny details) or simply refuse to support the school, it actively damages your children.

We all know that the great majority of parents are fair and reasonable and support their children's teachers and schools. We also know schools and teachers don't always get it right or don't communicate as effectively as they could...they are humans working in an imperfect world like the rest of us. But we also know there is a growing group of people who shrilly complain whenever they or their children aren't treated as the best and fairest all of the time.

There are two points I feel we should regularly remind ourselves of:

Firstly, Australia is not a perfect country;- there are many things we could do better - but we are still a healthier, better educated, safer and more equal country than most. It's up to us all to work on, and discuss the things that matter to us, positively, calmly and fairly.

Secondly, -and I'll illustrate this with a proverb; "the most successful people are usually those who have failed the most" No matter how good we - or our children - think we are, or how we feel we should be treated, we all have to learn to take responsibility for the consequences of our choices or actions. Falling and getting back up makes us tougher, making mistakes and learning from them makes us wiser, admitting we have been disrespectful or unfair and making amends makes us more caring, decent, happier people.

Protecting our children from scrapes, poor results following lack of effort or the consequences of inappropriate behaviour, ultimately affects everyone.

And abiding by the 'referee's' decision - whether it's on the sporting field, the road, at work or school - and getting on with the game of life makes it safer, fairer and more fun for everyone.

Let's remind ourselves to be reasonable, responsible and respectful.