Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Civil rights leader Edith Savage Jennings: Parent engagement and education is the solution

For those of you who have not heard of her Edith Savage-Jennings is one of the women of the civil rights movement. She did her fair share of protests,  marches, and sit ins. Now at 90 years old she has some things to say about the state of the family in an articl on nj.com.

I was struck by three things she said in the article:

"Something is going wrong as far as parenting is concerned," 

"Better parenting might solve many of the more recent problems cropping up."

"I think it is very important for parents to really start parenting," 

What struck me is these three statements suggest she has seen a downturn in how children are parented in her lifetime. It is something I have also seen in my lifetime. Admittedly, I am younger than Mrs. Savage-Jennings being 2 when the Voting Rights Amendment became law; yet I seen so many parent struggling and not understanding why.

In many classes I have heard parents say to me. "Kids today are not like when I was a kid. I cooked, did laundry, and cleaned the house when I was 13, my daughter does not." When I asked this Mom in one of my sessions when she taught her daughter to cook or do laundry she looked at me blankly. I was very disheartened by this fact.

I am not sure where the disconnect came in, but somewhere along the way parents stopped teaching their children. I think maybe we in education had  a hand in it by saying parents were the first teachers. Suggesting once children enter school it was no longer necessary to teach. I say this because more and more our schools seem to be trying to teach things beyond reading writing and math. In today's schools there are classes on manners, emotional intelligence, washing hands, and all sorts of things parents used to teach their children. This is not acceptable. There is no way a classroom teacher can be a parent to the children in her class.

We need to get the pendulum to swing the other way. Many parents may need help in knowing and truly understanding their roles. This is where the church should come in. Believing in Parenting has a program for churches willing to take on this demand it is called a Parent Development Ministry. Designed to be overseen by Children's Pastors, but run by a group of volunteers this program will help the volunteers develop, set up, and run a ministry. The purpose of this ministry is to support all parents in the congregation.   If you would like more information you can either choose to leave a comment below or contact me directly at educatepta@gmail.com.


  1. Barbara - This is spot on to the concern in parenting. The exact behavior that they do not like, they often need help slowing down and reflecting on the teaching aspect of their role. We have parents who are great providers but poor teachers. Or are emotionally connected to their kids however, cannot transfer important life skills, to their child. Here's the key parents - who said you have to do this solo? So what, you have 2-3 kids. Do you feel bad and think "with this many kids I should know what i'm doing...it should get easier." You do not have to have all the answers but you CAN get guidance!! I'm getting on a soap box. Great blog topic!! (struck a cord)

    1. Miranda, thank you for your kind words. I took a look at your posts and please send me a link to your book to review for this blog. I love the title. I often tell parents they need to remember they are not raising children but, adults!