All fathers can play a critical role in their children’s education. Research shows that when fathers are involved, their children learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier behavior. Seeking to assess the level of father involvement in children’s education, the National Center for Fathering conducted a national random sample in October 1999. The survey contacted 894 men and women and requested their responses to questions related to their children’s education.
The results show some encouraging signs, but they also show that some of us are being selective when it comes to our children’s education. Let’s be involved in any and every way we can. We can have a powerful positive impact on our children’s attitudes and performances in education.
Young boys especially need encouragement from fathers. Most commonly, it’s moms who check homework and women who teach at the elementary school level. The result is that many boys get the message that education is a female thing. They may get turned off and search for a more so-called “masculine” pursuit—often gangs, anger, violence and the like.
We need caring dads and other men who are involved at school and at home to help kids recognize that a good education is often a major factor in propelling them to long-term success in life. If we’re not interested in our children’s school work, chances are our children won’t be either. And that could have far-reaching, lifelong implications.
Let’s let them know—without a doubt—that school, education, and achievement are very important, and then become involved ourselves by helping them set goals, being aware of their day-to-day assignments and progress, and providing lots of praise and encouragement.
- Read a short story, Reader’s Digest article, or essay to your kids.
- Have your child read to you, or take turns reading a narrative where you can use a variety of voices for the characters.
- With an older child, read a newspaper article or editorial and discuss it.
- For non-custodial dads, get a copy of a book that your child is reading in school. Read it on your own and be ready to ask your child some questions about it. Or, read it with your child over the phone.
- Put an “I love and appreciate you because …” note in your child’s lunch box or book bag.
- Visit your child’s school at least once this month.
- Write an encouraging note or e-mail to your child’s teacher(s).
- Learn the names and something about your child’s 3 best friends.