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Truth or Consequences
by Elaine Sigal

I used to think that Truth or Consequences was just a TV show. I have come to understand that it is a part of our every day reality – especially when dealing with children. From the mundane questions to the obscure reality, we as parents and teachers do not always get the truth from our children. So then what happens? As one Mom recently said, “If I punish him, whom am I really punishing?” What an interesting question she poses.

Well, my next comment should not be taken out of context, but the day you became a parent, you started to punish yourself. As a group, we never think we have done enough, we think we did too much, we should have done the private school route (or not), we should have moved to a less crowded state, we should have had our child take the SAT in Nebraska (no the scores won’t change) and we should have been smarter. Guess what? Children do not come with a guarantee. They do not come with a direction manual. But then again, neither does life. Do the best you can. Understand that they are people just like us. No one is perfect.

I once told my eldest son, he was too young to remember, that while I gave him life, I understood in my heart that it was now his life. I can guide him and offer suggestions and be there to help clean the wounds, but it is his life to live. The hardest part for me is following through on my own beliefs. I want to fix everything for everyone, and I can’t do that. I can just offer guidance.

Do we expect everyone to always tell the truth and do what is right? What about the parent who writes the children’s essays for them? What about the youth group leader who take alcohol on overnight camping trips? What about the teacher who “fudges” the lesson because he/she is not prepared? What examples are we giving our children? What are the consequences that are observable to them? How should they react to their own misdeeds? I’d love to hear your opinions.

Today’s suggestions for education revolve around helping our children to help themselves. Be a guiding light for them, but you don’t always have to hold the flashlight.

Today’s Topic: Organize and Be Prepared

  •  Students of all ages need a place to work that is free and clear of distractions. It is, in my humble opinion, too difficult to learn, to listen to music, text message and talk on the phone all at the same time.
  • Students need a place to work that is a constant and not moveable. Studying for a test while driving to school does not help one’s grades.
  • Students need an agenda book – or a new fangled computer device (if of course they won’t lose it) where they can learn early on to write their lives in it. What adult do you know who could keep everything in his/her head?
  • Students need the right tools to be successful. Disorganized child? Post a check off list daily with everything he/she needs. Have him/her initial it every day. Instill good habits in your child now.
  • Parents need to know that it is okay to ask questions and offer constructive criticism. This should become a routine at home. The recordings of family events could take place once a week. “But Mom, you never told me about this, you told my brother!” is an avoidable occurrence. I wish I had a quarter for every time one of my own children said this to me.

Elaine received her BA from The College of New Jersey and her MA in English from Villanova University. She is licensed to teach English, Speech and Theater in two states. Elaine founded and ran a classroom based 'brick and mortar' educational company from 1995 - 2009. Elaine has significant experience matching learners to the appropriate educators and has a large available network in the educational arena. Elaine also taught English on the university level, created adult education courses, managed a credit recovery program, managed all areas of supplemental development, and established a 501c3. She has over 35 years of experience in the education field.

STIZZiL.com - is an online educational resource offering individual and group lessons tailored to any student’s needs at his/her convenience and safety, taught by experienced U.S. licensed teachers through state-of-the-art interactive web tools, such as live web video. STIZZiL will match the best teacher to the right student based on an in-depth survey filled out by the student. Teachers undergo a rigorous background inquiry with only the best chosen to join the STIZZiL staff. All sessions are recorded and archived for student review and quality assurance.