Right now I am sitting in row 19, middle seat on a Southwest airplane on route from Newark, New Jersey to Denver, Colorado. The day I have been anticipating for the last 18 years! The day my oldest son Sam leaves for college. Today is the day I say goodbye and pray that I prepared him for a successful life in college, in relationships and in the workforce.
This past year has been hectic; SAT prep courses, college applications, writing essays and applying for scholarships. Much of my focus as his mom has been on supporting and guiding Sam on getting INTO college. And here I am 39,000 feet in the air with my baby asleep on my shoulder wondering if he has the social and emotional intelligence to be successful on his own; without my guidance, boundaries and reminders. I wrote him a letter which included some important things to remember such as how to treat a woman, the effects of drinking and drugging and the importance of having a cause greater than himself. I touched on the importance of staying in touch with his younger sister and brother and calling mom once a week.
But I know letters and lecturing don’t give kids the skills or the motivation to do what is right. Kids learn by experiencing, practicing and watching.
With my heart in my throat and tears that won’t stop falling the question I am pondering at this very moment is did I give him the experiences and provide consistent practice of what it means to be empathetic, compassionate and trustworthy?
Did I show him exactly what respect looks like to authority figures, his peers and strangers?
Did I help him understand the importance of active listening and giving eye contact?
Did I role model what it looks like to be inclusive, inviting and welcoming to all people regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and their physical appearance?
Did I really focus on what it means to be nice, positive and supportive even if someone isn’t acting that way towards him? Did I teach him the essential questions to ask himself such as looking at situations using facts rather than emotions?
When looking at various situations, problems and conflicts does he focus on what others should or should not do or does he acknowledge that the only person he can control is himself?
Does he notice things that are unfair and unjust and strive to make things right, even if it doesn’t affect him personally? Does he focus on what he can do contribute to society and volunteer and serve others so not to always focus on his own needs?
Does he believe in something greater than himself and work towards the common good?
I know that all parents who are dropping their kids off at college this month are thinking these same things. All parents hope that we did a good job and our children turn out to be good, responsible and successful people.
At Generation Text Online(GTO) we are looking to connect with school administrators who are interested in providing their teachers and parents with a framework that will ensure their students are college and career ready. GTO guides school staff, involves parents and engages the community in providing an 21st Century approach that will prepare students to leave the walls of our schools, homes and communities, go out into the world and make us proud enough to say, “I taught him”, “I mentored her” or “I helped raise him!” Make no mistakes, if we want these things for our students and children we have to be intentional about teaching these skills along with this method of thinking, acting and responding.
At Generation Text Online the focus is to train parents and educators by providing interactive and engaging workshops that demonstrate how to instill these morals and values in their children and students. Generation Text Online not only provides parents and teachers with strategies, techniques and discussion questions to use with their teens but provides an online resource with conversation topics, real life situations and videos that provide the guidance and support to provide the foundation for a happy, healthy, strong and resilient life.
The GTO training and online resource demonstrates to educators and parents how to use questions (rather than lecturing) as a method of discussing important topics. Our goal at GTO is to support you in how to be intentional about guiding youth in building relational skills and social and emotional intelligence.
In a world where anything our children want to know or buy is at their finger tips, Â in a world where kids spend so much of their time on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and take more selfies than we thought possible, our children need us to take an active role in guiding them!!
Do you know of a school district that is looking for a framework to support a school and parent partnership?
Do you know of parents who are looking for support on how to raise a child to be empathetic, compassionate, inclusive and work well with others?
Do you have parents that want to instill the importance of getting an education and give them the life skills to be successful in school, in the community and in the workplace?
If you have heard of schools or parents talk about how they want to raise their children to be good listeners, respectful of others, be able to resolve conflict and be resilient; please tell them about an online course that provides information and strategies about how to raise children in the 21st Century. Generation Text Online is looking for parents who want to give their children roots and wings and our goal is to provide them with the tools to do that!