Choosing The Right School For Your Child

It’s summer time and some parents are moving their children to different schools. A family may have moved. A student may have graduated a level. Or simply, parents want to try a different school. Been there, done that. With that said, I’ve always felt choosing a school for your child is an important decision every parent should make carefully and with reason. Our kids will spend about 1,000 hours a year at school. This is 1,000 important hours out of our care and supervision so choose carefully. School is where we hope they will also learn many important characteristics such as sharing, manners and respect. If we think about it, school is really their second home.

Now we know about test scores. We know about curriculum. We know about location. We know about reputation. But there is one clue that I rely on more than any of these. And that’s the character of the kids in the school. And how do I determine the character of the kids of the school? Actually, it’s really easy. I watch and study the kids in the highest grades of the school. If it’s an elementary school I’m watching and studying the fifth and sixth graders. Are they being nice to the younger students? If it’s a middle school I’m trying to decide on, I’m watching the eight graders’ demeanor and focus. Are they being respectful to their teachers? For high school, are the seniors still tuned in? Are they focused and serious about their education or are they always joking around and testing the integrity of the school? Why study the elder students of a school? Because they are the best representation of the culture of the school. They set the tone. They are the ones (for better or worse) who have spent the most time inspiring or “wearing out” the administration that is playing such a crucial role in molding your child. Moreover, they are the “leaders” that your kids will intuitively follow. Studying the older kids is a great sneak peak to what your child will most likely be like. Sure your kid can be the different one but why count on that or put them in that position? If you see kids that are already dressing too old for their age, reconsider. If you see kids making fun of others, reconsider. If you see kids disrespecting their teachers or school property, reconsider.

To conclude, when choosing schools, parents usually place such a premium on test scores whereas I put a premium on how my child will score on the character test. I understand great aptitude scores help you get into the best schools and land the best jobs but it’s your character that is the true barometer of success and happiness in life. Simply put, our kids spend almost a third of their lives at school. Make sure their second home is working with you and not against you.

Be The Example

One question new parents always ask me is “what can I do to be a good parent?” It’s a simple question and one that I’m happy is asked. Why? Because it shows there is real interest in wanting to do good in what I consider the most important job in the world. However, it’s obviously not an easy answer because there are so many things that can and should be done. Nevertheless, the single easiest and most important thing I tell new parents to do is to be a good example. Do and be as what you want your kids to be. If you want an honest kid, value and be a person of integrity. If you want a giving child, give to those in need. If you want a reader, read yourself. Kids are more than likely to be and do what they see and value. And if your kids value you above everyone else (which most kids do) they will rely and revert to the example you set.

As a father I am mindful of what example I’m setting, especially for my daughters. Of course my boys will learn a lot from me but so will my daughters. Because one thing I’ve learned is the husband of their choice will very likely resemble my characteristics and my personality. If I’m a yeller or an abuser mistreating their mother or themselves I can’t be surprised if they choose a husband 20 years later that is doing the same. On the contrary, if I tell them I love them and show them I love them they will naturally search for a spouse that loves and cherishes them.

Case in point, my 10-year wedding anniversary last week. My best friend said to me, “Well done, bub. You made her (Frances) really happy.” My response to him was blunt, yet honest. I said, “This may sound rude but I didn’t do this just for Frances. I did this also for them.” I was pointing to Dee Dee and Jo Jo who were both as happy as can be with overjoyed smiles from ear to ear. Sure the night was for Frances but she wasn’t the only beneficiary. Our kids saw, felt and experienced their happily married parents honor and celebrate their love and respect for each other. Simply put, they benefited just as much as we did. In closing, although it was a lot of work putting the surprise event together it was a 1000% worth it. It was not only a love filled night for us but it was also an investment into our kids’ future.

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Pay With Love

If you have a traditional bank logo on your credit or debit card I have a question for you. Why? You are missing out. Now I’ll give partial credit to some of you hip ones as you have your favorite sports club or super hero plastered on your plastic but the really cool people have a picture of their family or children on their cards. Yes I said it. A customized picture on your plastic! Why should you do it? Three great reasons.

  1. You will think about your kids more often. And the more we think about our kids the more we think about their well-being. And the more we think about there well-being, the better parents we are. And the better parents we are, the better people our kids will be!
  2. Your kids will appreciate it. They will feel the love you have for them. It’s interesting how it happens but for some reason kids hit ages where they question your love for them. And pretty much every time it happens, it seems to be after you’ve said no to something they’ve wanted. Ha ha….It’s all good though. Truth be told, they know you love them. You tell them every day. But why not show it to them in a casual and “unintentional” way as well. Think of it this way. The next time you buy them the new Air Jordan shoes they will not only feel the love but they will also see the love. Let’s face it, we don’t always know exactly what they are going through or what’s in their young minds so they just might need that reminder of your unconditional love. Can’t hurt right?
  3. It’s cool! We live in a time where YOU control the picture on the plastic in your wallet. Don’t let that technology go to waste. Take advantage of it. Now I have to admit. It took me some time to edit my debit card so my credit number would be blocked out. We all know identity theft and credit card theft is no fun so I took my sweet ole time to make sure I was properly protected. With that said, if the two reasons above haven’t convinced you to customize your card please do it for the third reason….Do it FOR ME. Do it for my sanity so I know I didn’t waste my time and unneccessarily expose myself to theft. Thank you! 🙂

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Thank you all for your congratulatory messages yesterday. As you know we are excited to finally  “officially” launch The Family Rules. We would love for you to be part of our TFR family by offering tips, asking questions and sending articles to yourfriends@thefamilyrules.com. Let’s enrich our families together. #MuchLove #Family #Parenting

“The Family Rules” is launching on June 28th, 2017

So, it’s finally here! Or will be in 5 days. What am I talking about? I’m talking about…..The Family Rules! On June 28th, 2017 (which is also my 10 year wedding anniversary with Frances) we will be launching The Family Rules. The goals of TFR are simple. We want to make your family (and ours) better by sharing advice, tips, articles, stories and anything else that will make our families healthier and stronger. It is something we’ve been wanting and planning to do for over a year now and we are really excited to finally launch it. With that said, fasten your seatbelt as we unleash The Family Rules during our 10th year of marriage. Let’s Do This!!! #TheFamilyRules

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