The main idea behind parent culture is that parents, as leaders and role models of their families, should stay engaged in continuing their own education. Education is a life-long endeavor and does not end when formal education does. In fact, some of the most valuable educational insights and outcomes originate from quiet and reflective self-education. Per the general recommendations of parent culture, we continue to read books of all types, both fiction and nonfiction, we study foreign languages, we learn new skills, we discuss ideas with others and so much more.
This is important for the most obvious reason: we are better teachers if we broaden our own mind. But, there is another more subtle lesson to this as well. In our efforts to continue our own education and in our efforts to refine our own skills, we then are reminded of the role of a student or learner. It is through this reminder that we are really becoming better teachers. When in the position of a learner, we have changed our perspective. We are reminded of the struggles and difficulties in learning new tasks. We remember how patience and diligence are needed in greater amounts than is always comfortable. Importantly, we see life and ideas through a fresh new lens again.
For example, keeping our own nature notebook is valuable as a parent and teacher, because it reminds us of how one may struggle to capture the image of a flower in our sketch more because our drawing skills can’t match our visual than because we have not been careful and attentive when drawing it. It reminds us that sketching and drawing is based on skills which grow stronger when practiced.
Perhaps as the teacher we have instructed our very young children to always write the Latin names for natural objects observed and sketched into the notebook, yet our students have no real understanding of what they are copying into their notebook. When parents and teachers keep their own nature notebooks, they might come to see that more time should be allotted for sketching and could be taken from the time spent copying Latin names, a task which could be added when they are older. We would know that our students need more time developing their fine motor skills and refining their sketching skills, because we actually experience this revelation through our own effort in sketching. A teacher who is not keeping their own notebook may never come to realize this.
If we as teachers are always removed from the actual acts from which we expect our students to learn and perform, then we are also too far away to truly teach from that perspective. This is the deeper message for continuing and maintaining our own education.