The price of the folder

School office supplies

The beginning of August signifies the winding down of summer to many people.

Kids are getting restless.  Activities are winding down. School supplies line the aisles of local stores.  Letters with class assignments are arriving in mailboxes.

As parents, we are incredibly influential about the view that our kids take of education.

When we go to purchase school supplies, what is our attitude?  As a mom of four, I can honestly say that my attitude has not always been great.  I have spent my fair amount of time grumbling over the price of a backpack, or the specificity of the list.

Then one day I heard my very own words come back to me, and I was made plainly aware of the message that I was sending.

In our home we value education, I was fairly confident that my children knew that.  I value both traditional education and the invaluable education the life gives you.  I thought I was making that clear.

When I walked the aisles of the local store and complained about the items on the list, even though I would ultimately end up purchasing them, the message my kids were receiving was that the list was dumb. Furthermore, what the list represented, school, was dumb.

With my sarcasm, I was projecting the idea that school overall was not worth my money, and therefore not worth my time (or theirs).

I want my kids to realize the value of attending school.  I want them to understand the importance of an education.  I want them to grasp the privilege that is afforded them that school is a given and not something unattainable.

In order to accomplish this, I had to change the way I talked about school supply shopping. I am now mindful of the words that I say and the attitude that I project.

A positive attitude towards a shopping trip alone will not set the scene. I must be mindful that when we talk about the beginning of the school year, I impress upon them the importance of an education.

Schooling is not a task to be endured, but a tool to be utilized as a stepping stone to where they want to be.

As I have stated before, I do not believe that college is for everyone.  Completing high school should be the goal for everyone.

*I am aware that for some there are extenuating circumstances.  That is not the case for my kids*

Our words, our actions, our tone, set the feeling leading into the entire school year.

When I was young, my parents often referred to school as my “job.”  All extracurriculars were just that, extra.  I was to complete the work for my “job” before all else.  Once that was finished, I could use my extra time to fill in the extras.

In our society, we seem to fill all of our time with the extras, and try to squeeze some schoolwork into the mix if we have time.

In looking at school as my job, I was expected to be in class, on time, every day.  It was not optional.

In my position as a supervisor, I see clearly the problems that arise when the job is not taken seriously.

Employers all across the country are dealing with a culture that does not understand the need to be in their workspace, on time, every day.  It is not optional.

There has been a paradigm shift.  Vacation hours are burned as quickly as they are earned.  Excuses are handed out like candy for missing days, being late, and a variety of other employment and attendance issues.

It all starts with school.

When we help our kids to understand how important it is for them to go to school, to do their job, then when they are adults they will understand what a work ethic is.

If we complain about the price of a folder, telling our kids that we do not value education, that their job does not matter, we end up with a culture of people who take every opportunity available to call into their jobs as adults.

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