Raising Adults

College Blog Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Unlike Mrs Marlow I prefer to read a good book than watch reality dating shows. Currently I'm reading the autobiography of Michelle Obama, 'Becoming'. I'm not usually one for politics but I am definitely drawn to a good story and there has been one line in this book which has really stuck with me.

Michelle grew up on the south side of Chicago in a small unit with her parents and older brother. Michelle recounts with great detail aspects of her upbringing, the values of her family and her achievements in her school years. As she recalls the way her Mum and Dad approached parenting, Michelle states a memory of her mother saying, 'I'm not raising babies, I'm raising adults'.

This statement really struck me as both an educator of young children and as a parent. Do I see my role as preparing children for today or for their many tomorrow's? Am I developing skills in these children to navigate their preschool years or to manage their adult lives?  Is it possible to do both?

One of the key aspects of the Early Years Learning Framework, the national curriculum for the early years, as well as a principle within BPL is lifelong learning. As educators, therefore, we are compelled to instill in young children a love of learning that will take them through their adult lives, knowing that there is always something new to learn. As parents one of our key roles is to set our children up to be successful adults. And this will look different for everyone. From something as little as being able to cook for yourself, to dress yourself, to navigate relationships and going to your first job interview. The skills and abilities we aim to develop in young children are for their today as they work through early and middle childhood and into their teenage years. Those skills will also be necessary as they enter adulthood, maturity and beginning a family of their own.

I'm sure that if Michelle Obama's parents had any idea that they were raising a future First Lady they may or may not have done things differently. The approach of 'raising adults' as a parenting style obviously built certain skills and dispositions within Michelle. I wonder if she took this same approach into the parenting of her own daughters. I'll need to keep reading to find out. One thing that I already know for sure is that if we direct our children onto the right path, even when they are older, they will not leave it (Prov 22:6). This is a verse often quoted by educators and parents alike. It's a promise that children will learn the right path in their youth and always come back to it. We often hear that the early years are foundational and this verse reminds us of the value of childhood into adulthood.

Not everyone is going to marry the future President of the United States but everyone is called to a life of purpose that starts today and has many tomorrows.

Suzi Scott
Director of ELC