Proverbs 22:6 says, Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Parents and educators frequently remind me about the importance of teaching the principles of The Fred Factor to children. The only thing better than learning these lessons as an adult is learning them as a child. The sooner someone understands these timeless truths, the sooner they’ll start experiencing the benefits in his or her life. Both the individual and the community are served by the integration of these principles and practices.
I was fortunate to have good teachers who instilled in me a love for learning. In high school I did a combined vocational education and college prep curriculum. Since I was a farm kid, and had gotten my start in speaking in 4-H, I wanted to belong to the Future Farmers of America (now FFA), and the only way to do that was to take vocational agriculture classes.
Without a doubt, the most important skills I learned in high school were through my participation in the FFA. The regular coursework was necessary for my future success in college, but FFA taught me things like teamwork, parliamentary procedure, leadership skills, public speaking and the importance of service. Although at the time I didn’t use the same words and terminology I used in The Fred Factor, I was learning the same principles for success in life.
Vocational education organizations like FFA, FHA, VICA, DECA and others play a crucial role in teaching students skills rarely learned elsewhere in public instruction. Many students don’t get a chance to participate in these organizations, so the involvement of parents in making sure kids learn these things is necessary.
Kids need to know that they do make a difference. They need to know that education isn’t apreparation for life—education is life. Students shouldn’t feel like they’re in a holding pattern while in school, unable to truly experience life until after they graduate). They need to understand how to build healthy relationships and use their creativity to create value for themselves, their family and friends, and for an employer. And importantly, young people need to realize that each day is a chance to try again, to be better than the day before, no matter how good or bad the day before.
We’ll all be better for it.
© 2006. Mark Sanborn. All rights reserved. Please contact us if you’d like to reprint this article.
Fred @ Work
The Freds of Mason County Schools…
|Nominate a FredHelp us acknowledge the Freds that we all encounter on a daily basis whether through work or in our lives outside of work. Please use the nomination form found here to tell us your Fred’s story. And please, tell a story not just, “I nominate Joe because he’s a great guy,” but tell us what actions of Joe’s make him a Fred. This kind of information will help us all become more Fred-like by providing us specific ideas and actions that we can model in our own lives. It’s a Fred-like activity in and of itself!|
Kelly Middleton – Associate Superintendent of Mason County Schools in Maysville, KY recently shared with us how implementing the principles of The Fred Factor throughout their school district helps them maintain their position as one of the highest performing school districts in the state of Kentucky. All of their four hundred employees have been trained in The Fred Factor and they work together on how to be ‘Freds’ at different positions. Currently they’re implementing a program to better recognize the extraordinary efforts of their Freds.
Kelly provided a couple of examples of these efforts:
…I usually keep my stories to myself but here is one that I am rewarding next week. We had 6 eighth grade students that were not going to the big, last dance at their middle school this year. The teachers knew that the reason they were not attending was that they were quite poor. A few teachers brought this to the administration team. A team of administrators took the girls shopping for clothes and shoes. They did not stop there. They were having so much fun they took these 6 girls to get make-up, manicures and pedicures. They then decided they needed to attend a nice restaurant in their new dresses. This group of teachers and administrators knew that they were giving these girls a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Like the real Fred, they also had a lot of fun in the process. “Children do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” All our kids really work hard for us on our state test.”
Kelly then continued with another story…
“By going into our student homes, we find out much more about our students and parents. One student began acting up at the end of the previous year. While on the home visit, the teacher learned that the mother had cancer. Every time the parent went for treatments the previous year, the child would act up in school so that they would get in touch with the mother. This year the teacher allows the child to call his mother from the classroom before and after the hospital treatment. The child did not have any discipline problems all year. In most schools the number one factor is the state test. In our district it’s the children. We have districts visiting us weekly to see what we are doing to obtain such high scores, many leave our district disappointed that they did not find a special educational program or policy.
Thanks for your work,
No, thank you Kelly for the work that you and all the Freds from the Mason County Schools district in making The Fred Factor principles come alive for your kids!