On Parent/Teacher Conferences…

I was over at Drudge Report this morning for my daily marching orders, and I saw the following: “Parents who skip kids’ school conferences could face jail in Detroit…“, so I clicked on it.  You should too.

In summation, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy wants a law passed that will put parents in jail for skipping parent-teacher conferences.  Predictably, some are “for”, while others are “against”.  According to the article, “Her plan would require parents to attend at least one conference per year or face three days in jail. Parents of those excelling in school would be exempt, as would those whose health issues make travel difficult and those “actively engaged” with teachers through e-mail, phone calls or letters.”

One respondent said this, “You can’t legislate parental involvement,” he said. “If the law forces parents to go, what will it do other than fill up a room with parents who don’t want to be there?” 
That is probably the most frustrating thing to read.  I think that anyone with half an awareness of current events knows that Detroit as a city is a disaster.  Crime is out of control.  The economy stinks.  And the one thing (besides Jesus, of course) that people need is an education process that is focused on teaching and working with parents.  Survey after survey shows that parents are the main influence on kids, yet parents remain strangely distant.  Perhaps it’s the un- and under-employment. Perhaps it’s the broken family situation.  Maybe the Detroit school system is doing such a fantastic job with their students that parents don’t feel the need.  Maybe they’re doing such a lousy job that parents don’t see the point.
Ultimately, the emotion that rises to the top when I think about this article is that of profound sadness.  Sadness that our culture and society is so broken by sin that jailing parents would even be offered as a solution.  Sadness that parents are either unable or unwilling to participate in the education of their children.  Sadness that another generation of kids are falling through the cracks.  
Why I’m writing about this:

One of the things that I struggle with, probably the most consistent frustration over the past 5 years has been communication to and with parents.  I send out a “mostly”-weekly email, update “mostly”-weekly our parent website , send stuff home with kids, through the mail…we’ve even hand-delivered invitations for events.  And, for the most part, and with a few awesome exceptions, we never hear or see the vast majority of parents at anything they’re invited to.  I can count on one hand the number of personal conversations I’ve had with parents that have even asked who we are as a church.  
This too, makes me sad.  

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Filed under parent ministry, parents, youth ministry

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