The Democratic Party would iike to extend a warm welcome home to those who spent the summer abroad and  extends best wishes to all students,  teachers, staff of learning institutions island-wide,  and surely to parents too,  for the new academic year. 

We believe that parents play an important, perhaps the most important role in this equation. We do so with  genuine appreciation and respect for all that parents must sacrifice and do to ensure their children’s  success, sometimes working two,  even three jobs to pay school fees, books, uniforms and more; not to mention after-school care and activity costs, which increase if the child engages in some sport or form of art (sports gear, musical instruments etc.).

Of the expressions of God’s steadfast and abiding love here on earth, that of a parent is surely one of them.   From it we learn that sacrifices and investments made for all those who come behind us is the very definition of civilization.  

Good teachers confess to faithfully picking up where the parents leave off, child after child,  day after day.   Yet in conversations held in confidence, we hear them say that they work even better with students whose parents take the time to give them individual and personal assistance.  Why?  They say they know for sure that those students will always have an extra push and those parents keep a keen eye on their child’s progress or their challenges. 

Even 30 minutes of uninterrupted one-on-one time spent by a parent with their youth on homework or any other activity , not only strengthens the bond, but is  critical to their development and  an ‘unspoken’ agreement in “co-labor” that the youth will uphold.  

It may be that they resist at first, believing that you will not continue,  or they  prefer to command their own space. Persevere!  That sacrifice of time in full and undivided attention (no phone calls, work, tv, newxpapers or interruptions allowed) is vitally important for them because it ‘says’ they are more important than anything else you could, would, or ‘should’ be doing – even for their benefit.   Without this kind of attention, few youth, even good students are motivated to reach their full potential.

The message is that those 30 minutes ‘say’ more  and have greater impact than a stream of lectures directed at them.  Our complete time and attention with them feed a need of intimacy and nurturing that did not disappear after infancy.  It demonstrates ‘love’ in a primal way that cannot be conveyed simply by what we do ‘for’ them.

So what is an ultra-busy parent to do?  Begin considering all that you have done and will continue  to do and prioritize this one more: make, find or rewind 30 minutes at least four times a week and spend it with child or children. At the end of the day, just as consistent attention to one’s homework in academics is the only way to  get the best outcome and results, so it is in parenting as well.  With this resolve by our parents, not only will students excel, but teachers will be able to “run with the ball” and students will follow. 

Best wishes to all for a safe,  successful and productive school year.


August 13, 2017