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Editorial: WHAT WE SAY

L’Observateur / February 16, 1998

The School-To-Career Alliance recently discussed the possibility of a mentoring program in St. John the Baptist Parish, similar to those in otherparishes. These programs bring together an at-risk student with a personin the business community in a “big-brother”-type relationship, designed to motivate the student to succeed and provide a positive role model.

It’s somehow sad that business people must be recruited to go into the schools to give some much-needed attention to these children who are so starved for affection.

Isn’t it a shame that instead of the role models of this generation being the children’s parents, it has to be something of an artificial parent? There are many, many parents intimately involved in the education of their children, intellectually, morally and spiritually. However, it’s unfortunatethat the STC Alliance has to step in to provide something which should be second-nature for parents.

The work of the STC Alliance should be commended, without a doubt. Theyare doing something that greatly needs to be done for the survival of the children who attend school today.

Too often, parents dump off their children at shopping malls, at small businesses, at libraries and other places, virtually abandoning them for hours on end. How often do you see small children hanging about in abusiness unattended and obviously not there as customers? Too often, these are children taking advantage of “free child care” by these places.

It’s unfair to those people running those places, but even more unfair to the children.

The schools are swamped with disciplinary problems that many teachers are unequipped to handle. Teachers have to deal with students withsubstance abuse problems, criminal behavior and social problems. It hurtsother children trying to learn and makes the difficult job of teaching even more difficult.

The profession of education has lost many good teachers who found the stress of being a surrogate parent too much and far beyond their emotional resources. Schools now are not the same as schools of years gone by. Theworld has gotten tougher and some children have developed the same sort of toughness to deal with it. However, teachers haven’t been able to keepup with it and often find themselves at a loss of how to handle these situations.

How nice it would be if these mentoring programs didn’t even have to be in place. It should be the parents’ job to “mentor” their children. They shouldteach them the proper values that stand for the right thing to do – morally and spiritually. However, some parents are ill-equipped to be parents andend up paying the consequences down the road.

What’s wrong with the parents taking responsibility for their children instead of dumping them on someone else? What’s so tough about simply loving your children, giving them attention and being there for them in their needs? Parenting is, admittedly, the hardest job there is. It is also one whichcomes with great responsibility and is not to be entered into lightly.

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