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As a previous high school teacher, the first few months of school was a getting-to-know-you-stage among teachers and students. And along about the 6th week of school, the time came for the parents to show up at the Open House to meet their child’s teacher and introduce themselves.
What I always found shocking was the fact that I could predict—with almost perfect certainty—which parents would show up and which parents wouldn’t. Of course the ones that didn’t show up were the ones that should. The parents that didn’t show up had children that never did their homework, had excessive absences and tardiness, were “slow” learners, and showed discipline problems in the classroom. These children, by example of their parents not supporting their education, were the ones that had no value in the educational process.
On the other hand, parents of good students were the ones that were present. And even more coincidently, the top students had both their mothers AND fathers present. The students more often than not even accompanied their parents to the Open House. The whole family took an active part in their success at school. And their marks and discipline records reflected that.
In a study conducted by the University of Newcastle, Dr. Nettle, the lead researcher, reveals that there is a “sizeable difference in the progress of children who benefited from paternal interest.” Although it doesn’t share the actual statistics of the study’s outcome, it makes a generalization that those children whose fathers spent time with them at an early age were more socially successful and went on to have better career prospects than those who lacked that opportunity.
It was easy to understand this theory when dealing with my own high school students. In almost every case of students whose father spent time with them, the child was altogether more successful than others. And the ones that I found the most trouble with were the boys raised without paternal influence. In fact, one of the worst students I ever had was raised by a single mom. Not only did he never do his work, but a simple request by me for him to get his notebook and pen out sent him into a rage alerting me that he did not want to do anything I said. The three of us—me, the boy and his mother—sat in a conference when he made this declaration and his mother looked to me to fix this problem. This problem goes far beyond the walls of the classroom.
In any event, if you are a father, you have been bestowed with a great privilege to mold your child into a respectful, successful adult and it starts from an early age. Take your duties seriously and make sure you always have some quality time to spend with your son or daughter.