What My Father Taught Me About EducationSometimes the roles of fathers are minimized in the world of education.

The sports or disciplinary roles are given to the fathers and homework time is given to the mothers, in a traditional heteronormative family.

Well, my family was a little bit different (for many reasons, but this isn’t therapy).

I hope this little article can inspire fathers to think about how they can impact and shape a little academic in their students.

I often tell this story (mainly because it is so hysterical) about how my father taught me how to be self-sufficient in truly the most embarrassing of ways.

In third grade, I was asked to create a lighthouse based on a poem I read. My father, in true Jim style, told me that he already had done the third grade and for me to do it by myself.

After five hours of scouring the pantry and putting my less-than-savory art skills to the test, I came up with a wad of paper towels atop a paper towel roll. It looked like a bootleg battering ram. I went to class and was confronted with the worst. Full functioning lighthouses with beautiful, functioning bulbs and self-sufficient lichen.

I was embarrassed and sad, and barely held it together (ok, I may have shed a tear or two) when I presented this battering ram in the class. I was even pulled aside after class for my lack of effort and skill in my presentation. I was heartbroken and wanted my dad to hear about it.

He was going to get a piece of my mind! When confronted with my third-grade-anger, he simply said, “So you got a C, you got a C you earned. I would rather you earn a C, then I earn an A.”

So when I have clients asking to negotiate grades, I encourage the practice, but only when they feel that they have earned (as opposed to deserve) and alternate grade.

“I feel like my effort and grasp/mastery of the material was not reflected in my grade.”

On the other hand, my father taught me never to be satisfied with good, to always endeavor for exceptionality in all things, and in particular in education.

He was never satisfied with good, only great and that constantly pushed me to achieve more academically. My father coached a lot of my sports teams growing up and was acutely aware of when I was phoning it in.

I remember the knowledge that my father had of whether I was putting 100% naturally carrying over to academics, knowing that someone would know if I didn’t put in my best effort.

Having someone know me and support and believe in my ability to achieve excellence is part of what my father has instilled in me.

My father having consistently high standards for me is part of why I have such a passion to excel both for myself and for the students I counsel.

On this Father’s Day, think about your children and how you can, through your own lens, teach them lessons that will inevitably go into academics.

Are you a nature lover? Teach your child passion through your own love of the outdoors. Are you a sports lover?

Teach your child math skills and dedication through including them in the draft of your fantasy football team. The list is endless!

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