The Importance of Parental Involvement in a Child’s Life
Throughout my educational experience, I have learned the importance of parental involvement in a child’s life. The involvement can take many forms: being a role model, instilling good habits, being consistent in discipline, and building good relationships. This can be done by taking the time to nurture a relationship with grace and love. Equipping children in such ways can help them overcome various life challenges. Since social interactions are vital for children’s development, let’s review how social interactions occur in the family.
Social Interaction in the Family’s Everyday Life
Social structure is an essential element of the reality of everyday life.1 Being born into the world we come to adopt the words and gestures used by those around us.2 Children are unique human beings with their own characteristics and nuances of how they perceive the world around them. For instance, the firstborn, the middle child, and the last child each have their own character traits.3 The birth order can result in varying levels of independence and influence on one another. This all may contribute to the way family members interact. Each family member also influences the type of interactions that take place and the ways family members learn to help one another. All of these interactions are the building blocks by which tight-knit family bonds are built.
When parents and children interact with each other, learning takes place. Learning is an integral part of generative social practice in the lived-in world.Thus, one cannot avoid learning, whether that’s learning about another’s unique traits or learning about oneself in relation to others. As human beings, we can draw out the uniqueness within ourselves, whether it’s a spark of laughter, a burst of passion, or a fit of anger. No one causes us to react a certain way other than the way we learned to react and learned to control that reaction, through practice, not in isolation but dictated through conditioning by parents.4 The other important aspect of the family structure is language since it takes one of the primary roles in social interactions. Let's review how it is developed individually and then within the family.
Language and Knowledge in the Family’s Everyday Life
Language is the most important signing system of human society, and it starts in the family. Language has its primary references to everyday life; it refers above all to the reality children experience consciously.5 Put simply, through language an entire world can be actualized at any moment. In the family, language provides a child with a ready-made possibility for unfolding experience. The language also typifies experiences and thus allows a child to subsume meaning under broad categories in terms of which he/she has meaning not only to him/herself but also to other family members. As language builds upon itself and shared experiences are accumulated, the complexities of what can be communicated expands.
Language becomes an essential constituent of the reality of everyday life in the family and the commonsense apprehension of this reality. When a child interacts with parents, he/she ultimately becomes aware of the community standards, which shape the various parental roles as those community standards are internally interpreted and adopted within individual families. This is why it is vital for parents to instill in their children a biblical foundation before they start schooling. This makes it all the more important for parents to strive to place their children into an educational system that promotes moral values, good study habits, teaches them virtue and ethics.
The family world is structured in terms of routines and events in everyday life. The child identifies with significant others in a variety of emotional ways. By identifying with significant others, the child becomes capable of identifying him/herself or acquiring a subjectively coherent and plausible identity. Minds are formed by the character of language, not language by the minds of those who speak it. Linguistic forms are one of the keys to the minds, and the entire mental, social, and cultural life of a family. As a child matures, he/she develops abilities that make it possible to shape one’s own character. Now, let’s dive further into how parents can transform their world of knowledge to their children.
Parents as Servant-leaders in the Family
Parents are servant-first in many aspects as they are raising their children. Greenleaf5 stated that servant-leaders are closer to the ground - they hear things, see things, know things, and their intuitive insight is exceptional. Brian Tracy, an inspirational speaker, identified seven leadership qualities that stand out as being more important than others: vision, courage, integrity, humility, strategic planning, focus, and cooperation (www.briantracy.com). Throughout the Bible, a parental leadership role is emphasized where parents are directed to train children in the ways of righteousness (Proverbs 22:6). One cannot do so without being a servant leader, modeling after Jesus. Jesus taught by example, put others first, and amassed an enormous following.
Parents need to learn how to lead in self-sacrificial ways to be a servant first. Jesus is a great example of a servant, his disciples were different in age, social status, marital status, and were unique individuals. However, Jesus worked with them, caring for their individual needs to develop them to become fearless proclaimers of the gospel. Jesus as a leader was self-sacrificial, virtuous, caring, nonjudgmental, able to restrain his tongue, perceptive, bold, respectful, spiritual, and loving to all people. Jesus said, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39). The character is the starting point in finding the nature of a person, the actual process of moral formation begins within one’s family, then transforms into school, work, and community.
What has been discovered about a child’s proper development within the realms of psychology and pedagogy within the last 50 years is highlighted in the Bible. Young children are highly influenceable and what they accept as true as young children will continue with them through adulthood. Proverbs 22:6 states “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. ”In Deuteronomy 11:19 it is written that parents and adults ought to teach children when talking to them, when sitting at home, when walking along the road, when lying down, and when getting up. We are relational human beings and nothing happens in isolation. By default, based on a biblical worldview, it is assumed that parents should be leaders in their family even though some parents might not be aware of this role.
Because parents can acquire shared knowledge, there is hope that despite missed opportunities, education can fill in the gaps to equip parents to become leaders and children to acquire the necessary knowledge before they become parents themselves. As technology has allowed communication to travel at lightning speeds, parents can all the more become equipped, despite past failures, to acquire the necessary knowledge. At the same time, the amount of necessary knowledge is perpetually increasing, and it will naturally become a growing assimilation of the global community, especially as communication ability rapidly evolves. Technology brings the benefits of face-to-face communication across borders, and parents can learn from each other. Interestingly, much of recently accepted thought on leadership is coming back to what was taught 2000 years ago by Jesus, a servant-leader.
In summary, early education is very important for a child’s proper development. Merriam Webster interprets the word to educate as “the process of teaching someone the knowledge, skill, and understanding” (www.merriam-webster.com). A child is more likely to lack necessary life skills if hindered from proper education opportunities. The window of opportunity is very short - about the first twelve years of life. United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) published an article on early childhood development and discussed the importance of the window of opportunities.6 Nowadays, more than ever, children need parents who can lead them by example, provide the best academic opportunities, be consistent, and correct with love.
For any questions about how you can get involved in your child’s life through online school education, please call (866) 488-4818, or visit EnlightiumAcademy.com. Enlightium Academy is an accredited alternative education option for educating your child from home. Our program offers the comfort of a homeschool education environment and the quality of private school education curriculum. Enlightium Academy is a private Christian school that offers a Bible-based, flexible, accredited, teacher supported, and affordable education. Enlightium Academy meets all accreditation and state education requirements, while neither using the state curriculum or Common Core.
1 Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (1966). The social construction of reality; a treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday.
2 Lock, A., & Strong, T. (2010). Social constructionism: Sources and stirrings in theory and practice. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press.
3 Belmont, M., Marolla, F.A. (1973). Birth order, family size, and intelligence. Science. 182. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
4 Lave J. & Wegner, E. (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.
5 Greenleaf, R. K. (2012). Servant leadership [25th Anniversary Ed.]: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. Paulist Press. Kindle Edition. Retrieved from Amazon.com
6 UNICEF. Early Childhood Development: The Key to a Full and Productive Life. Retrieved from: http://www.unicef.org/dprk/ecd.pdf.
7 Bible. Retrieved from https://www.biblegateway.com/