Roberto German 00:00
Welcome to our classroom. In this space, we talk about education, which is inclusive of, but not limited to what happens in schools. Education is taking place whenever and wherever we are willing to learn. I am your host, Roberto German. And our classroom is officially in session. Peace. Welcome back. Today we're gonna be talking about three ways parents can help prepare their children for college, for the university, for their careers, for the next level, for life beyond high school. And lemme tell you where this is coming from. My niece came over, she stayed over for the past few days. It was wonderful to have her here. We had a great time. In the course of some of our conversations, asking about homework, asking about college plans, all that jazz, right? 'Cause she's a senior. It surfaced that her counselor said she should not apply to certain schools 'cause she's not gonna get in. Pause. I was not feeling that at all whatsoever. And so I asked her why the counselor said that. She started talking about the GPA and SAT scores and this and that or whatever. I'm like, "Throw that out the window. Listen to what your father tells you." Because I know what he's told her. Because both of us have worked with high school students. We have worked with them and their families supporting them, going through this process as we did for ourselves. Keep in mind, I was a pretty good student, but my first year of high school, I really struggled. Second year I was cruising. It was junior and senior year where I tore it up. But my overall GPA was probably similar to hers. It wasn't too high. I was average. I don't know. I must've finished with a 2.0 or a 3.0 or something like that. But my last two years, I was one of the best students in my class, no doubt about it. And my SAT scores, they were either average or below average straight up. But I knew myself as a student. I understood my value, I understood my work ethic. And as I told her, there's gonna be a college or university out there that's gonna look past your GPA and your SAT scores and they're going to see other components that you bring that will enrich their institution. I don't care what your counselor says.
And so this conversation got me thinking. I'm like, yo, what do we as parents, as supporters, as village people need to be aware of as it relates to helping our children prepare for college, prepare for the university, prepare for their careers, prepare for life beyond high school? And I think there's a number of different things that we could focus on. Academic guidance, resources. I could talk about, you know, college planning. We could talk about life skills and independence. And yet the three things that came to mind for me are the following: proactively affirm their greatness. We have to proactively affirm the greatness of our children. Number two, for us to be partners in the process of college preparation and planning. Partners. And then three, to step in when necessary. You know what I'm saying? Sometimes we gotta go and flex. Sometimes we gotta make our presence felt. Oh, I'm worked up about what this counts to my niece not feeling it at all. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Not having it. Not having it. And so let's start with number one. We have to proactively affirm the greatness of our children. If we don't do it, who's gonna affirm it? And that starts early. I'm not talking about wait to their seniors before you start affirming their greatness. Start affirming from day one. You dig what I'm saying? We have to let our children know that their potential is great. That their potential is limitless. Obviously they gotta put their mind to it. They gotta put in the work. They gotta make it happen. But they have to know and believe that they have the potential to be great. And we have to sow those seeds in their minds, letting them know, "Hey, your voice matters." "Hey, you are so bright." "You are talented in all these areas." "Hey, I see how you're developing. I see how you're growing. I see how hard you're working." "Wow, you are amazing as an artist, as a performer." "Wow, your skills as a writer are incredible. Your words really resonate with me." Look, I'm not telling you to pump them up falsely. I'm not telling you to tell them that they're great at something that they're terrible at. And listen, this whole topic that I'm addressing, again, this is inspired by what my niece told me that her counselor told her. And I know her potential. That's why I'm worked up. Because this is not somebody who's like skipping class, not prepared, doesn't study, doesn't put in. No, no, no, no, no. That's not what we talking about here. This is somebody that when you listen to her, you're like, "Yo, she knows some things. Wow, this kid is bright. Wow, I didn't know that."
As in like, she will say something and like, "Well, I didn't know that. I was not aware of that. I did not have that knowledge." And so I think it's so important for us to affirm their greatness because they may encounter an educator, counselor, teacher, administrator. They may encounter somebody that does not see their greatness. And if they don't have a strong mind and a strong support system, they may believe what this other individual is pitching to them, right? So we are not allowing that to happen. Let's make sure we are constantly affirming the greatness of our children, right? So that they believe that they have that confidence, that they understand, that they have the ability to step into any space and perform well and have success and achieve for themselves and for others. Number two, be a partner in the process. Sometimes folks go to extremes, right? Parents, caregivers go to extremes. Sometimes they're trying to take over the whole process as if they're the ones going to college, going to university, preparing for that next career, making all types of choices without involving the young folk. Now with that. The other extreme is the hands-off approach. Now, you're 17, you are 18, you are old enough now you should be able to handle this. Just loop me in when I need to sign the papers. Nah, I'm not with that either. Listen, let's take a balanced approach in terms of supporting our young people. And we should be partners in this process. Active listeners, right? Really receiving what they have to say, considering what they have to say. Posing a lot of question for them to process and think through, trying not to be so reactionary, right? Leading with curiosity. 'Cause they likely are going to say some things or maybe they're gonna determine in their heads where it is they should be. And you as a parent may absolutely know that's not the move. And yet should be mindful about how you communicate that because you don't wanna shut down your child. So let's try to lead with curiosity. Let's try to be partners in this process. Hey, how's it going this week? What have you accomplished on your task list? What do you need support with? How can I best support you? What schools are you thinking about? Are you thinking about the same schools that we previously discussed? Has anything shifted? What schools would you like to visit? When do you wanna sit down and map this out so that I'm clear about when we need to go to these schools? We, right, because I'm not sending my child to go visit the school alone. We going together. I need to see firsthand. I wanna hear from the representatives. I wanna fill out the environment. 'Cause If I am going to entrust my child at set institution that's gonna provide higher education or training or whatever the case may be, I wanna fill that environment out so my child and I could process that and discuss the pros and the cons. Part of partnering is being involved in the research process, right? Exploring the different options and why you might consider those options. Exploring the financial responsibility attached to them, right? That's a pretty important one. Understanding the financial planning that's attached to this. Exploring the data together. Hey, let's process the data, right? I mentioned earlier the GPA and SAT scores, and you got weighted GPAs and you got all types of factors that are included, right? You wanna understand that. You want your child to understand that. You wanna understand that for yourself, and you wanna be ready to speak on that if necessary, right? And so processing that data is part of being a partner in the process. All right? And for your child to feel like, listen, we're seeing this through together. This whole experience, we're seeing this through together, and it's gonna be a gradual release. All right? Don't worry, we're not trying to keep you tied up. We're not trying to keep you bound to us, you're ours but there will be a gradual release, right? Because you're growing and you're becoming more independent. And we love that and we support that. And we want you to have the life skills and be able to handle your time management, be able to problem solve on your own, be able to self-advocate. And simultaneously, we want you to know that we are here to support you. That's right. As parents, as caregivers, as folks from the village, right? Because sometimes the village people need to step in. Sometimes the uncle, the Theo might know more than the parent. The parent might lean on, "Hey, I need you to talk to your niece. You mind giving her some game? You mind schooling her on this, that and a third?" "No doubt." Let's go. Let's step in because it's the village. It's love, it's the family. We do this as a community. I'm encouraging that. And so again, the second point was be a partner in the process. And the third one is step in when necessary. Step in when necessary. So part of being a partner in the process is being able to see what's happening, how it's impacting your child. And when it is that your child needs you to step in and say something, needs you to set up that meeting with that counselor, with that teacher, with that administrator. Which set educator that is not providing the necessary support to help your child achieve, get to the next level? To help your child accomplish the tasks that need to be done in the college preparation process? For you to be ready to step in when one of the educators has said something to your child that could potentially derail them from where they are trying to go, from what they are trying to achieve. We gotta be ready to step in. Oh, it's time. I'm sending that email. I'm CCing so, and yep. Paper trail. You got time tomorrow? Let's go. I'm there two o'clock. No problem. See you tomorrow in your office. I'm not necessarily saying you gotta come in hostile. I'm not advocating for hostility. I'm just saying you should be prepared to step in and be clear about why you're stepping in, what it is you wanna address, how it is you need to address that, right? Understanding your audience and how to deliver your message so that it's heard and felt, and that ultimately the delivery is one that brings about a positive impact. 'Cause at the end of the day, we wanna keep the child a student at the center, right? This is not the parent show. You're a partner in the process who might need to step in because somebody's saying something off. Somebody just told your child, "Hey, I don't think you should apply to these schools. I don't think you have the qualifications. Your GPA's too low, your SAT's too low." What? Stop. Stop it. I'm applying to all those schools. I'll let them tell me. I'll let them tell me that they don't have a spot for me.
I will let them tell me that I'm not the best fit. But you are not gonna-- no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I'm not gonna be discouraged because you don't think I'm the best fit for those schools. Because you think the GPA and the SAT is the only thing that matters. Nah, I've been through this. And thankfully Merrimack College gave me an opportunity when I was an undergrad student and I shined. I shined. Yeah, they got their return on investment. Thankfully, Boston College gave me an opportunity, pursue my masters there, even though my GREs were horrible. I don't remember what my GRE score, but it was probably similar to my SAT's. Probably like a 930, not good. Average. Below average. I shined. I shined. They got the return on investment. And so we're in that period of time where most of our kids in this country are back to school. If not, they will be. 'Cause Labor Day just passed. Have your antennas up, radars up on what educators are telling our children. Let's be attentive. Let's be proactive. And when we have to react, let's do so thoughtfully, strategically, and also in a way in which our children feel like we're partnering with them. So some of that might mean, Hey, we're gonna have this meeting. I'm gonna be present. The child's gonna be present. You could help the child support the child by not just getting them to think through the matter that needs to be addressed, but they might need support in terms of language to address the matter, right? Supporting their self-advocacy. Now, when it goes down, if they stumble they don't have it, they're not communicating clearly or there's some hesitation, then that's the opportunity for you to step in as a parent. You've already stepped in by your very presence and preparing them and whatnot, but when the actual meeting takes place, there might be an opportunity for you to step in because they might be struggling to get it out or perhaps they feel a connection with this particular educator. And even though the educator was wrong in what they delivered, the student might feel hesitant. Your child might feel hesitant in addressing this adult. And so we have that responsibility then to step in and lend that support. Alright? And in that sense, we're modeling problem solving, right? We we're showing our children how it is that we can address folks respectfully, but in a way in which we're empowered to address folks when they're wrong. When they're wrong, and being clear about that. We're also modeling the importance of advocacy, right? And these are skills that our children are gonna need with them as they move on from high school to the university college level. Or if they're planning on jumping into their careers, wonderful. They're still gonna need these skills. So I hope y'all receive that. Keep that in mind. Share that with parents and caregivers. Share this episode with the young people. I need the young people to listen to this. I need them to be on it. I need them to be ready. I need them to understand why I feel so strongly about this. 'Cause I wanna see all my youngsters winning. And I don't wanna see them be derailed by others who are simply looking at data points that don't tell the whole story. And again, I wanna remind you all, I'm not advocating for us to be unrealistic. I'm not advocating for us to be pie in the sky. I'm not advocating for us to tell children to pursue something that they absolutely have no opportunity of attaining.
Yet, even in that, I think we need to be mindful of how we frame our words. And we all make mistakes. I've made this mistake before. I'm sure I've told some young person at some point in time that, "Hey, you know, you shouldn't do that because you don't have the qualifications or you know that's not it for you." Instead of leading with curiosity and saying, "Listen, why do you wanna pursue this? What have you done to prepare yourself to pursue this? Are you aware of their criteria? Do you think you meet their criteria? What will you do if you apply and you're not accepted?" Alright. You learn with time. We all make mistakes. So there's room for grace. There's room for grace. I'm not here to crucify anybody, but I'm calling a spade a spade. Just like I would expect others to call me out when I'm wrong, and sometimes I am. So I appreciate your time. Thank you for listening. Again, please share this. Encourage our young people and parents and caregivers, three ways that we could help prepare our children for college. One, proactively affirm their greatness. Two, be a partner in the process. Three step in when necessary. Peace and love from yours truly. As always, your engagement in our classroom is greatly appreciated. Be sure to subscribe, rate the show and write a review. Finally, for resources to help you understand the intersection of race bias, education, and society, go to multiculturalclassroom.com. Peace and love from your host, Roberto German.