Teacher hunting season is here again. Every year all across America some teachers find themselves in the crosshairs of spoiled students and angry parents. Sometimes the teachers fall. They are mounted on the wall, over the fireplace, where they become the proud conversation of well-meaning parents who let the world know they stood up for their child and felled another teacher. Felled. Not failed.
Hunters pride themselves on having respect for their prey and following time-tested rules of the hunt. Except in this season. In this season there are no rules. Ladies don’t have to be ladies. Gentlemen can become terrorists. Christians can lay down the cross and take up the curse, and feel justified, maybe even noble. After all, isn’t it an honorable thing to stand up for your child?
Well, actually, no. Now, before you put me in your crosshair (I’m not a teacher, so save your tag), let me explain a few things.
1. It is not wise to fight for your child.
Follow this line of reasoning carefully. It’s a subtle paradigm shift. If you raise your child to think that you will always fight for him, that you’ll always be in his corner, no matter what, your child has not actually learned anything from you except that he always has a back-up, and that maybe you’ll help him get out of trouble someday. Youtube routinely displays such ignorance, as in the case of the woman who just last week famously stated: “He didn’t do nothin’ wrong; he just shot a cop.”
People have disrupted communities this summer because they were “standing with the kid” who got shot by a cop. Some people think that’s the right message to send, but it is not.
If your child is wrong, and you think it’s your place to fight for your child, right or wrong, you just create two wrong people instead of one. If your child is an idiot, and you defend him, you’re a bigger idiot than the child because you perpetuate the idiocy in your family line. Oops, I may have left subtlety for a moment.
2. It IS wise to fight for truth.
Rather than loyally and blindly fighting for a child, what parents ought to be doing is fighting for a principle, for truth. If you teach your kids honesty, respect, self-discipline and other virtues, then as they grow they “will not depart” from those values, so says the proverb. They’ll make mistakes, and then they’ll own up to the mistake and take their correction or punishment.
And in those occasions where they are right, and a teacher is wrong, they won’t seek blood. They’ll seek truth, and they’ll need a parent to help fight for truth. When you and your child are actually pursuing something noble and righteous and truthful, that’s a fight you can carry with dignity all the way to the courthouse, if need be, because in that instance your target is not the reputation of a teacher but rather the establishment of a principle.
3. It is always right to love your child.
If you haven’t got the subtle paradigm yet, I’ll try to phrase it one last time. Loving a child when he is wrong is good, but fighting for him when he is wrong simply perpetuates his wrongness.
Love ’em forever. But lead them. Teach them. Show them that the pursuit of honor and righteousness is more noble than a classroom victory.
Good luck this school year. When the season is over, may the only trophy in your home be a wiser, stronger, nobler child who has grown in grace and dignity.