Some of the best teachers are the ones you accidentally call mom. Remember them? They were the caring, smiling and friendly teachers in Kindergarten or First grade who genuinely seemed interested in you doing well in school and they would even help you tie your shoes or pull on your boots and zip up your jacket. That’s when you were most likely to say. “Thanks mom”, and then look embarrassed because she was your teacher and not your mom. And hopefully you had a mom at home who was also just as loving and nurturing.
Of course loving your child should be a no brainer. And I don’t mean just saying “I love my child”. Everyone says that. Words can not only be important but cheap too and a word like love has no meaning if it’s not backed up by loving actions and loving deeds and personal sacrifices.
Teachers know that children need a lot of things from their parents before they go to school but what kids need mostly is love. They especially need a mother’s love. A father’s love is important too but let’s face it, If your mother doesn’t like you, you’re pretty well going to have a troubled life, dad or no dad. (And I don’t mean “tough love” either. Tough love is love like tough steak is steak. One is still love and the other is still steak but you can take them both back because nobody wants that crap) Kids want and need (as do we all) tender love…and tender steak!
Unfortunately I have seen many teenage mothers during my 33 years of teaching and almost always it was their idea that having a child would mean that they would finally have someone who would love THEM. But babies learn love from their mothers. It doesn’t work in reverse.
All children know and are aware of whether or not they are the recipients of love by the time they reach school age. And that’s a knowledge that no teacher can help them unlearn… and trying to tell the child that “Sometimes love just skips a generation, darling” doesn’t work very well either. Kids are hip to crap even before they get to school…
And here is something else that we should be teaching to all children in schools everywhere, especially young women. Everyone needs to know that the single biggest indicator for poverty amongst women is childbirth. In other words, if a woman has a child in today’s world and today’s economy she faces the likelihood of spending the rest of her life living in poverty. And that statistic is a true one…you can Google it too.
Women at the earliest age possible need to be taught that giving birth to a child is an extreme, difficult and costly responsibility that is unfortunately quite likely to fall completely upon her young shoulders. Whether we want to admit it or not, divorce is rising the charts with a bullet and single parenthood, of which women constitute 83% of all single parents, often leads to a life below the poverty line.
According to the most recent census, around 25% of single parent households live below the Federal poverty level. This is an alarmingly high number, since only about 15% of the entire United States population lives below the poverty level. So women need to be taught that if they are going to have a child they should be prepared and able to care for that child and themselves on their own and without the assistance of others because whether they are planning on it or not the odds are beginning to favor divorce, abandonment by the father, or some other calamity that no one ever counts on happening.
And how can women prepare themselves? Well, They can stay in school and get the best education possible and then get a good job, save their money, buy what they need to live a happy and fulfilling life and then consider giving birth to a child. Any other advice that they get on the subject will not be in their or their child’s future best interests and for whatever the reasons, that’s a cold hard and unfortunate fact of living in the 21st century… as it probably was in the 1st century too.