I’m back.

I took a little time away from blogging to enjoy our 11-year-old showcase her talent at the
Nike National Juniors Tour tennis tournament in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  The participants wore a cool Nike sponsored t-shirt with the words: “Who’s next?” splashed across the front--a bold message for a bunch of young tennis players aspiring to hit a powerful forehand stroke like Serena Williams to win the tournament.

There were 128 families with their daughters from various parts of the Midwest.  There were so many different ethnicities, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds represented.  But we all shared one thing in common:  encouraging our kids to pursue a passion that enhances confidence and develops focus.   It was obvious that each girl spends a minimum of 10-12 hours per week honing their skills on the court, which means they are consistently balancing homework and the hours of practice it takes to be as good as these junior tennis players—and I’m not talking about the homeschooled kids. 

Millions of children all over the world spend hours polishing piano playing skills, violin concertos, free throws, memorizing lines for theater productions, perfecting plies, achieving black belts and more. 

I don’t have to do much research to dare state that those kids outperform their peers who unfortunately have no one to develop their interest in music, sport, dance, or drama. 

Millions of children all over the world spend hours on
Facebook to proclaim their boredom.   The idle mind is a playground for the devil.  Unfortunately, many of those become influenced by the dark forces of drugs, gangs, premature sex, and gangs. 

I know a young person that consistently posts “I’m bored” status updates on
Facebook.  I respond with “Go get a book and tell your mama I got something for her!”  The idle mind is the devil’s workshop.

Our kids can’t afford to be bored.  There is a world out there waiting for the next principal dancer, CEO, general surgeon, best-selling author, Chief Justice of the United States, and the next Oprah.  There is work to do.  There are books to read, math problems to solve, museums to explore, music to make, games to win, and life lessons to learn to prepare our kids to become better than us to improve our nation’s economy, health care, environment, technology, and education. 

You know plenty of parents that need to raise their expectations of their children and put in a little more effort to set them up for success.  Tell them about the Dean of Parents blog.  Right now, I have readers who appreciate my content but, for the most part, are fortunate enough to understand the importance of setting up their kids for success.   Other parents have kids posting “I’m bored” on Facebook.

I dare you to ask, “Who’s next?”  Send them this link:  Dean of Parents

While I’d love for you to think I am the perfect parent that did everything right to support my girls’ school success, there is room for improvement.  Sometimes I’m occupied with items listed on my personal agenda—like creating this blog--that distract me from giving them my undivided attention.

My 7-year-old could use more support with staying organized.  I wonder if she mistakes her book bag for the trash bin.  The organized eleven-year-old needs to learn how to work smarter.  She spends too much time perfecting simple assignments and waits until 10:00 pm to start the more challenging projects.  I tried telling her that child protective services take parents away for going to bed before their children.  That didn’t work.

The end of the school year is a perfect time to take a look at what’s working for your kid and what areas need improvement:

       Reading comprehension: Does Jordan remember what she read? 

       Reading fluency: Does Kayla read with smoothness? Quickness? Expression?

       Vocabulary: Do your hear Tyler use new vocabulary words when talking with you?

       Math concepts: Of course Lauren can do the problems but can she explain the concept to you?

       Homework completion: Does Isaiah finish homework with minimal difficulty?   

       Staying organized:  Did you receive the school communication two days after    the field trip?

       School project quality: Did the science fair board exhibit your creativity or Steve’s? 

       After school activities:  Is there too much on Sydney’s plate or not enough?   

       Home workspace organization: What can you do to improve Jonathan’s homework space?

       Television time: Oh, wait a minute…what TV? Right? (New blog topic!)

   What tips and strategies can The Dean of Parents offer? What can you share with others?