Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

July 30, 2013

The future president?

By State Rep. Cindy Ziemke Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — Where did the summer go?

It hardly seems possible that kids are already preparing to go back to school – trading in their pool noodles for new pencils, binders and notebooks and gearing up for another year of education that will shape their futures.

I know I’ve said this many times before, but the children who are being influenced right now by their teachers, parents and friends are the future of our country. The work ethic, responsibility and morals being taught to them will influence how they live their lives and how they will eventually teach their own children.

Somewhere in the United States, there is a child who will become president in 30 or 40 years. That child is in a classroom with other children, learning to read, share, color in the lines, tie their shoes and count to 10. Eventually, that child will hopefully learn the meaning of hard work, perseverance, fortitude, tolerance, kindness, honesty and a slew of other much-needed life skills. What they are being taught right now might be the difference between our country’s success or failure in very large ways. But it’s not enough for a teacher in a classroom to be the only one presenting and enforcing these values.

As a member of the Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee, I am dedicated to helping women and children in need. Another aspect of this committee, along with the Indiana Department of Child Services, is helping families as a whole. Children who have parents, one or two, who invest time, energy and love in them are much more likely to succeed in life. That may sound rather obvious, but you would be surprised to hear the number of parents who leave all teaching up to a school.

Teachers need parents to reinforce the lessons they present to your children. A book written by a Professor of Education at Harvard University called “The Essential Conversation: What parents and teachers can learn from each other” highlights the delicate line between parents and teachers. Mutual support of each other will help a child grow and flourish. Focusing on the fact that it’s all about what is in the best interest of the child will help parents and teachers work together on a plan that will benefit the child, who also must be viewed as a student. You may disagree as to the best methods of discipline, information presentation, teaching methods, etc., but it is imperative that you work together toward your common goal – ensuring that your child/student gets the best education possible.

As the upcoming school year approaches, I encourage parents to take a moment to speak with your child’s new teachers to find out their goals for the year. Think of creative ways to help carry lessons from the classroom to the living room, and dedicate a portion of your evening to ask your child what they learned at school that day. You never know, your child could grow up to be one of our nation’s greatest leaders with significant influence on their fellow man. Spend as much time with them as you can – they grow up way too fast.

State Rep. Cindy Ziemke serves as Vice Chairman of the Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee. She also serves on the Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee and the Select Committee on Government Reduction. Rep. Ziemke represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.