SO —  A FEW THINGS ARE GOING ON (See below)


Chapter Two

Parents – A Very Important
Part of the Education Equation

 For twenty years, I’ve been waiting for someone to

anoint child-raising as a profession requiring skill,

talent, and monumental value.”    Erma Bombeck

A father at a cub scout meeting bragged about all the things he could provide his son. The nine year old had his very own television, his own phone, sets and sets of video games he could play on the TV in his room. All the ‘things’ Dad didn’t have as a child.

Yet he couldn’t understand why the boy was failing in school, why his grades were so poor. Maybe the thing junior needed most was a place to do homework. And a father who read to him and spent time with him, in ways that reinforced what he learned in school.

During the height of popularity of TV’s Cosby Show comedian/actor Bill Cosby wrote about his humorous encounters with children and parenting. In Fatherhood, he relates the story of Adam and Eve, who disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden and ate some forbidden fruit. Cosby figured if God had trouble handling children, “what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for you?”

He also points out the fact that mother and father (or guardians) need to be in agreement when it comes to discipline. (Note that Bill Cosby has since become unpopular because he went to jail for drugging and sexually abusing women. Maybe he was a good father. He’s been a terrible spouse, though.)

Being a parent  today can be so rewarding but is also tough, no matter how you slice it. Today’s kids have more free time and more bad choices on how to spend it than ever before. More students today also come home to empty homes because their parent or parents work than ever before. And when the parents do arrive, they’re tired. (Just click off the brain and click on TV.)

No one can deny the great influence parents and guardians have on children. Even the simple acts of walking and talking with your child can be significant. A recent federally funded survey pointed up the fact that even into adolescence young people need emotional support and have a sense of well-being based on the strong feeling of being cared for by parents. No one wants to be an abandoned kitten. And the study found that if teens feel loved by parents and comfortable in school they are less likely to have early sex, smoke, abuse drugs or commit violent acts, or even commit suicide.

A good parent needs to also be a good listener and not rush to judgment. Using self control to listen to your child’s point of view when it is diametrically opposed to your own is important in good communication and maintaining a decent relationship, especially  when   he’s   an adolescent. You’ll get a turn to state your point of view.

Educationally speaking, you teach your child as much as your child’s teacher at school does. Certainly during the first five years of her or his life you do.  And once they are in school, you don’t stop being their role model, their spiritual guide and family leader in education.

A few things they could know before kindergarten include, says parents.com, knowing their full name, being able to count 10 things, being able to tell a simple story. If they know some shapes and colors then they are a little ahead of the game.

So, are you hopeful for the future? Are you preparing your child for that future? Some parents or guardians never get involved in their child’s future through the school system. Some take the other tac early on to become involved with school, but in a negative way, quickly putting down the teacher and the school system when the child does poorly. Sometimes this may be justified. Even if there ARE problems, parents and teachers should  ALWAYS be on the same side and working together.

Teachers need parents and parents need teachers. And they should even discuss if the child makes friends in school or not. School should be set up to support this teacher/parent relationship, though many now do not.

For Parents To Consider

This is the information age, with all its media choices (TV, radio, video games, movies, computers, cell phones) and hype. It tends to monopolize many students’ time without being very helpful. Is this a good use of their time? Are they learning any positive values with these electronic distractions? And is TV, the ‘teacher creature’ as one columnist put it, imparting proper values?

The electronic babysitters are very handy and hard to get away from, depending on your time, interests, and economic situation. In the past I have openly disagreed with the TV, letting my sons know what my values are. If some action was particularly stupid, violent or unrealistic, I let them know. Now they   ‘critique’ TV shows on  their own, recognizing that a lot of it is unrealistic or just plain stupid. (Now I have to work on getting them to watch more educational  programs.)

Although we expect educators to encourage good work habits and other good values, these need to first begin at home. The values of independence, cooperation, and persistence are important ones parents or guardians can impart by their example. If you’ve a problem at home involving money and calmly work to resolve it, for example, this helps show your child it is possible to reach a goal, even if there is some difficulty along the way.

It is also important for a child to be resilient, to ‘bounce back’ if they suffer a disappointment, fail a test, or get left out of the in-crowd. Encourage a child to express his or her feelings, while at the same time showing him or her self control and  appropriate ways to vent anger, like talking feelings out. Don’t let them become isolated in their room and never talking to you, spending all their time online. We are social creatures and it’s not natural to be so all alone.

How else do you know if you are doing the most for your child educationally, or if your nearby school system is adequate? And how do you become a part of the ‘education equation’? Here is a checklist that will help.

Education Checklist (Answer Yes or No)


  1. Is your child healthy and properly immunized?
  2. Do you know the signs of a learning disability?
  3. Does your school have a philosophy, a set of goals,

mission statement to go by? Can you add to it?

  1. What is your school leadership like – principal, gui-

dance counselor, superintendent, school board?

  1. Are your schools safe and properly maintained?
  2. Are you supportive of your child’s/grandchild’s teac-



  1. Do you seek support for yourself? Is your PTA effec-


  1. Does your child take responsibility for his or her act-


  1. Are there innovative ways you can better be a part of

the education equation?


  1. Common sense will tell you that a child who’s rested and well fed will do better in school than one who isn’t. Very young children, in the lower grades especially, need as much as 10 hours sleep a night to be properly rested. A good breakfast of cereal and fruit, toast and eggs, pancakes and juice, and the like gives children needed energy to stay alert in class till lunch time. A healthy lunch (not a school bag full of candy and other empty calorie junk food) such as a sandwich, fruit and maybe a small dessert, is also important.

A few years back (1994) federal studies found over half of school children vulnerable to preventable diseases because they weren’t vaccinated. In 1994 the President passed legislation whereby funding would be provided to health departments and clinics to help children whose parents were eligible for Medicaid, did not have health insurance, or had insurance that didn’t cover immunizations.

Private healthcare providers may be able to be part of this program for free or readily available vaccines, as well. All children should be vaccinated against childhood diseases like polio, measles, mumps, etc., beginning as early as two months of age. Your local health department or family doctor can provide a schedule, and you can catch up if any shots have been missed before school begins. Ask about Covid-19 boosters as well.

2. Something every parent may be faced with is the possibility their child or children have a learning disability. Most children do not have a learning disability, but the U. S. Dept. of  Education classified 7.2 million students as in need of IDEA (Individual Disability Education Act) services in 2020-2021.That was 15 percent of school children.

Some warning signs include:

– Difficulty being able to rhyme words (“What rhymes

with cat?”) “Bat, sat, rat” – not can or sand, which have

similar sounds;

– Memory problems with reciting the alphabet, remem-

bering names, learning new tasks;

– Other language problems with learning letters, pronou-

ncing words, understanding questions, following dir-

ections or explaining things, as some of these could in-

dicate a speech or hearing problem;

– Attention difficulties finishing tasks, concentrating or

finding belongings.If a child consistently has a problem in more than one areas, he or she may need further evaluation by an education professional. Once in school, if  you’ve a concern, don’t hesitate to talk to the child’s teacher about it, early intervention being important to your child’s success in school. (Buy this and more online)

And now, a few words (and an example from my upcoming ebook):

    Working still on the eBook, “Nature Vs. Technology — Who’s Winning?” That is the question of the hour,  what with all the crazy weather we’ve had and concerns out there about A. I. invading our accounts online. So here is an excerpt, on the pros and cons (mostly pros of exploring space!)… (Read below)

 Chapter Five – Space, the Final Frontier

(Or Could We Say that about the Brain)

      Space… the final frontier. These are the voyages of Starship Enterprise…. Thus began an American television series whose ideas have continued well past its beginning in 1966, when Star Trek the original series first aired on TV. It was the imaginative concept of Gene Roddenberry, a former pilot and policeman and writer, who projected into the distant future, some 200 years from now, when people would fly to other planets and galaxies at warp speed (the speed of light or faster) to meet with alien beings. They were mostly humanlike in appearance, with eyes, a mouth, walking limbs, something like hands, and in colorful costumes to remind us aliens have a lousy fashion sense.

    Many times, they were more warlike than peaceful, and not too cute – except for those furry round Tribbles, who the doctor known as “Bones” surmised were born pregnant so reproduction was almost instant. What can you say about this? This is great science fiction for sure.

    But is everything about the Star Trek TV shows and movies just a dream and impossible?

About the Future

   Movie character Marty McFly wants to tell you “About the future” (though we can’t yet drive to the past at 88 miles per hour). That would be unrealistic. Is anything in the Star Trek series realistic concerning future space travel and human life experiences?

   Like food replicators. Would that ever be possible? If you are in space millions of miles from earth, there would logically be no grocery store out there with fresh food to eat. In the Star Trek: Enterprise series (with actors Scott Bakula and Jolene Blalock), Bakula as Capt. Archer mentions that “Chef” will make meals, and they always look super-market ready. It’s more likely meals, like those eaten up at the International Space Station 250 miles (400 kilometers) above sea level, are from those vacuum-packed MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), like our military uses.

    But can a steak, mostly protein, be made with some kind of replicator machine?

    Researchers have worked to build chains and layers of amino acids and proteins, almost in 3D fashion. But this would take “tons” of work, and wouldn’t really taste much like steak. And it would cost, like, $330,000 dollars to make, based on an experiment done in Europe.  Mark Post’s team at Maastricht University in the Netherlands worked for months to create a hamburger in petri dishes, but it didn’t taste like much. (No fat or salt added.) Could this be practiced on a spaceship far away? Maybe, if the process were perfected to taste better and cost less.

    What about warp speed (traveling at the speed of light)? If a spaceship “could” approach warp speed, then in no time at all you’d be examining what life there is (or isn’t) near the nearest star, Alpha Centauri (which is actually part of a three star system around four light years away). You could probably survive on those MREs for a while, and if you had a place for frozen vegetables or could plant potatoes (like actor Matt Damon did in that Mars movie, with a hydroponic system of some kind) you wouldn’t starve – not unless there was really no life there, or plants you could grow food from once you arrived.

     As for actually traveling superfast through space, there are some theories about whether something approaching warp drive could be achieved. Scientist Erik Lentz has a theory that would use conventional physics (not the matter-anti-matter machine used in Star Trek adventures). This Alcubierre Drive would somehow contract and twist space using negative energy, putting your ship in a kind of bubble where you don’t discern the great speed you are traveling at. But it would require tons of energy, a theoretical idea at this point.

(Did you enjoy the excerpt? Let me know: djwriter55@hotmail.com)

I have book recommendations at


An article I wrote some months ago: www.http://radfordmagazine.com/2022/11/18/community-efforts-keeping-the-new-river-clean/

I wrote an essay on solving the “guns everywhere” (and gun deaths) issue in a column in the Roanoke Times   https://roanoke.com/opinion/column/commentary-guns-are-not-the-answer-to-your-problems/article_b3e68b72-0577-11ee-9bee-d7dc189ba710.html

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