Bishop T.D. Jakes is famous for his sermons, ministries and the work he does at the Potters House. You may know him through T.D. Jakes books, shows and videos. That said, Family Digest wanted to go deeper with Bishop Jakes. We wanted to get him to share his advice for what African American women and men can do to help their children realize their intellectual potential. Below, in his own words, is Bishop T.D. Jakes’ advice in the interview with Family Digest publisher Darryl L. Mobley.
Every African American child has the ability to learn and parental involvement is critical for school success. Education starts at home! Black parents have more “teachable moments” with their children than teachers do at school. Parents have more influence in their daily one-on-one interactions to demonstrate that they value education and use it daily in their lives. Therefore, parents can enhance their child’s likelihood of success in education by finding answers from a combination of common sense and research about how children learn. When considering how you might help your child learn, consider the following GM4 principles: Great Morals, Great Methods, Great Means and Great Management.
Far too often parents blame the schools and television for their child’s discipline problems. However, research shows that students who have supportive parents are less likely to be a discipline problem at school. In fact, most parents underestimate the impact of childhood observations. If parents want their children to have great morals, they must do more than communicate their expectations. Indeed, they must live by the same ethics that they expect of their children.
If a parent gossips, disrespects a teacher, or speaks unfavorably about the school, the child will likely adopt the same negative attitude. This could seriously undermine the authority of the school personnel and lead to long-lasting discipline problems in the classroom. It seems that the old saying, “practice what you preach” would apply here. Projecting a positive attitude towards learning and the school can influence students to have the same optimistic viewpoint. Ultimately, each child must make his or her choices but they are less likely to default on the goal when the support is there.
It is widely known that daily routines make life more predictable, and make children feel safer. With their basic needs of safety and security met, children are more likely to experience greater academic success. Therefore, parents can increase student success by providing structure at home. Establishing a structured place for homework, for example, will increase productivity. Namely, having a quiet place, with the necessary school supplies and good lighting, away from the traffic pattern, will promote good study habits.
Parents who regularly read and study in front of their children promote the importance of learning. Notably, parents that show enthusiasm for learning will reinforce that learning can be enjoyable and is well worth the effort required.
Parents should become involved early and stay involved in their child’s education. In fact, the level of family participation is more important to school success than how much money the family makes or how much education the parents have. Encourage your child to read! Whether purchased or on loan from the library, I encourage parents to keep a variety of reading materials available in the home. Keep books, magazines and newspapers in the house. Talk with your child.
It’s important to show your child that he or she has interesting things to say. It also provides your child an excellent demonstration on how to be a good listener. Older siblings and relatives can also be valuable resources in this area. Parents can also help by working with teachers to ensure that they provide curriculum, technology, and teaching methods that are proven to help children learn. Additionally, I encourage parents to be creative and use the community as a supplemental classroom. The means to a successful education are endless. However, every parent must chart the course!
Children will be successful when they pursue knowledge, instead of knowledge having to chase them!
Parents must help to maximize their student’s time and resources. Research shows test scores are higher when absenteeism is controlled, reading materials are available, and the time kids spend watching television is limited. Researchers claim that too much time is lost to watching television, which cuts into the important childhood activities, such as reading, playing with friends and talking with family members. So, giving education a high priority can increase student performance.
Encourage your young child-student to become independent learners by teaching them to use the library or the Internet responsibly. Taking responsibility and working independently are important qualities for school success. Teach your child how to learn and create opportunities for the child to be intrinsically motivated. Your children will be forever successful when they are in pursuit of the knowledge, instead of the knowledge in pursuit of your child. In the end, success comes when parents find the right balance between a challenging school curriculum and a rewarding social schedule.
Common sense and research confirm that parent involvement is the key to success in your child’s education. Successful students come from families that provide structure, support, and guidance!
1. If African American parents want their children to have great morals, they must do more than communicate their expectations. Indeed, they must live by the same ethics that they expect of their children.
2. Black parents can increase student success by providing structure at home.
3. Black parents should become involved early and stay involved in their child’s education.
4. Black parents must help to maximize their student’s time and resources.