Parenting by modeling is how my husband and I choose to train our children. Strong character, manners, moral training, and good self-esteem are among the things we most want to instill in our children. We show them how to love people by reaching out through service projects to those in need. We model strong character by working hard. We instill self-esteem by reminding them they have value and are equipped with unique gifts to give to the world.
Yet when it came to education, I realized I could not model what I did not possess.
Marrying shortly after high school, I forfeited going to college so I could work and help support my husband’s educational endeavors. Semesters became years and years brought babies and soon I was teaching my own children at home.
As a life-long learner I was accustomed to reading books and learning through observation. Yet for many jobs being self-taught cannot replace the benefits of obtaining training at a higher education institution. After the birth of our premature daughter, I wanted to work with medically fragile children. So, I took classes and passed a state exam to become a certified nursing assistant. Later, my desire to start a business revealed how much I needed to learn about legal and tax issues surrounding entrepreneurship so I enrolled in continuing education classes through a local community college.
It was important to me to be transparent with my children about my own lack of formal education and the pursuit to obtain that training and education.
There is an art to juggling the demands of parenting and your own education.
- Have a family meeting to get everyone on board with your desire to return to school.
- Be honest about the time commitment involved and how that will impact the members of your household. Remember the time will pass anyway. This is a temporary situation.
- Set boundaries of when your study times will be and stick to those perimeters.
- Select a family reward for when the class is over and celebrate your accomplishment.
- Release yourself from the guilt of investing in your own dreams and educational goals.
Doing homework with your children models to them the concept of life long learning.
Children learn more by example than instruction and doing your own studying while your children are doing their schoolwork is a great way to model good study habits. The old adage says we are never too old to learn. What a valuable lesson to model and instill in our children.