Let's talk about indicators. The number one indicator of student academic success is teacher quality. It isn't teacher credential, but how well a teacher can demonstrate that they genuinely care about individual student growth and how well they can deliver content so that it is comprehensible.
The greatest factor in a child's overall success is not socio-economic status. It's not immigration status or ethnicity; it isn't even the level of a parent's education. It's the degree of high expectation demonstrated by parents and the involvement, no engagement in that child's day to day life. It's the old self fulfilling prophecy, and it's right on.
So what? Well, it's a big so what. It's so big that I have to remind myself of it every time I start to feel like second guessing myself as a parent. Now that my son is on life's training wheels, I can sit back (hindsight is 20/20 right?) and think about all the times I felt like my "I love you no matter what" talks were bouncing off the ceiling and getting absorbed into the atmosphere. The surprising thing is, he'd heard every word I said and no matter what he did to refute it, my love sank in. Thank God! No really, thank God He taught us to Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). It was my secret mantra through all the nights I prayed that I wouldn't get an emergency medical call or worry that Tony was going to get hurt emotionally, physically, whatever. They were only two and half years, but they were the scariest two and a half years of my life. Wayne helped both Tony and I through it. He saved us from one another more times than I care to admit. And now, our son is on almost on his own. Wow, and I have so many nights of thinking where I could have done better, but still.
You see, Tony's been my bud since he was born. He was momma's boy, always at my side, always yanking on my shirt. He was like that until he hit the great adolescent trauma stage, or as I like to think of it, the dain bramage years. All my training as a teacher, counselor and everything I knew as a parent was suddenly questioned. That was the exact time that I needed to hold on to promises. He will not depart from it...
There's more to write, but my heart won't let me share it right now. I will share this beautiful dialogue that happened on a sunny day in the water with Peyton a few months ago.
Peyton: Mommy, Tony's becoming much more responsible nowadays.Me: He is! And, he'll get even better you just wait and see. You're going to love him even more.Peyton: Yeah, he's really nice to us, and when he babysits us, he doesn't let us stay up past bedtime or anything. He even plays with us.Me: When he gets a little older he'll be ten times better, I promise. And, he'll be your big brother hero.Peyton: He already is my hero.