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L is for Lowering Standards

• May, 12 2024

In this episode of "Preschool Pioneers," host Jeremy Walker critiques the modern trend of lowering educational and parenting standards in the episode titled "L is for Lowering Standards." He argues that reducing expectations leads to poorer developmental outcomes and societal issues, contrary to the prevalent belief that it promotes happiness. Using biblical references and his extensive experience in childcare, Walker challenges listeners to maintain high expectations for children's behavior and development. He emphasizes the importance of recognizing inherent traits in children, such as personality and intelligence, that cannot be altered by lowered standards. This episode is a call to parents and educators to resist the ease of reduced demands and instead, foster a robust framework for growth and responsibility in the younger generation.

Hosted by
Rev. Jeremy Walker

Husband, Father, Pastor, Teacher, Podcaster, and Christian Education Advocate

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  • Series: Preschool Pioneers
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Jeremy Walker (00:14):

And welcome back to another episode of Preschool Pioneers. I'm your host, Jeremy Walker. You can follow us on our parent network, CR101 radio, on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Gab, and YouTube. And you can subscribe to this podcast on your preferred platform so you never miss an episode. Visit cr101radio.com for these links.


Well, well, well, welcome back everybody to another episode of Preschool Pioneers. This episode is entitled, L is for Lowering Standards: How Modern Parenting and Educational Advice Recommends Lowering Standards to Improve Happiness and Developmental Outcomes and Why they are Horrifically Wrong. Well, here on Preschool Pioneers, we want to talk about Christian teachers, Christian parents, and why oh why they're so, so important.


If you are listening to this episode, you are part of the solution, or at least you can be. People all around the world are lowering standards of expectations for children, for adults, and for society. They think that this will lead to happiness, some form of societal bliss where we can all come together. Quite the opposite is happening. If you are paying attention all around the world, things are not getting better when we lower standards, they get worse. So as Christians, as Christian parents and as Christian teachers, we need not only to point out the problems that are happening around us, but also give the solutions, give the way out, the way forward, how best to help others.


I want to start with our scripture reading. Today, we have two passages, both from Proverbs. Proverbs 19:18, "Chasing thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying." And Proverbs 29:15, "The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." When we are talking about children, people make a very big mistake, and somehow they're this little precious China doll that is perfect, that is clean, that is pure, that is untouched, and it'll always do good, we'll always tell the truth, can always be trusted.


The idea is completely false, and we know it's a myth. We all know it's a myth. Working in childcare, as I have for over 25 years, you will see parents who on one hand will say what they think their child is like, or what children are like, or what children do and act like. But then you see them in action, and their actions do not match up with their rhetoric. Parents will be very upset if anybody speaks in a stern tone to a child, yet at the same time when they pick up their own child, when you see them in the parking lot or they're coming into the school or anywhere in public, you'll see them shouting at their child.


They'll be concerned if their child cries when they come to school, or if their child says anything that they were sad of any sorts throughout the day. Yet you'll see their children screaming and crying and yelling and upset with their parents, but somehow when it's with the parent is not a problem, but when it's in a school setting, somehow this is a problem. The problem is that parents are suffering from a delusion of duality that they've created for themselves, and so has everyone else. They lower the standards of expectations and then raise the standards of expectations for others. But for children, for somehow we lower them. For the criminal, for somehow we lower the standards, but the law-abiding citizen in the United States of America and around the world, well, we're going to hold you to a higher standard, but for us, we're going to lower the standard.


People have been doing this for a very long time. It's called hypocrisy, lack of a better term. But if we as Christians want to have the way forward, if we want to genuinely help people, then we need to kind of have a road to travel where we are headed and how we can point ourselves in the right direction and others. When we are thinking about the concept of children, child-rearing education, standards for behavior, it's important to ask ourselves a few fundamental type of questions. One, what kind of adult do I want my child to turn into? That is a very, very important question for yourself. Another question would be, how much time do you really think you have to influence your child at all?


I talked with a man recently who was about my age, so close to early to mid-40s, and he grew up in the same timeframe that I did. And the concept of education, the concept of children, the concept of child-rearing was very different back in the early '80s than it is today. And as I was talking to this man, he was flabbergasted somehow that young children, as young as three years old would be either suspended from school or have to be expelled from school, and this was just something he could not wrap his mind around.


And as I was talking to him, he kind of saw the light. I said that the standards of expectations have been lowered, lowered, lowered. Don't tell the child what to do. Never expect them to listen to anybody. Parents and teachers can never say the word no. They can never be stern. I think I've shared this before when a parent said, "Do you think it's appropriate for me to let my child know that I'm upset with them?" And somehow this concept would be terrible and bad for the parent if they let the child know that they were upset about some form of behavior that was inappropriate. And this is the problem. This is the problem. There is a concentrated effort, concentrated effort to do this on purpose deliberately to lower standards so that children will remain in their adolescent state their entire life. They will not grow to be successful adults ever.


And if you look around the world, watch social media, that's exactly what we're seeing. We do not see children turning into adults. We see children who are growing up physically but not mentally, not emotionally, and not on a mature level where they could become adults. We go, "We used to act like that when we were kids, but now we're adults. And this behavior is unacceptable."


Parents also like the idea that they're going to influence their children, and now we need to have realistic expectations. You if you are a Christian parent or a Christian teacher, there are certain things that you cannot control about your child's rearing, about their maturing state as they develop. Here's a list of a couple things that you do not control and are innate about who the child is. One of those is their personality.


There's so many people that take credit for a child's personality if they're outgoing, if they are shy. These things somehow they think they played a part in. If a child is aggressive, if a child is passive, these characteristics that make up a child's personality type are innate about who they are. Each one brings itself a different opportunity and a different challenge in parenting and/or teaching. And so we have to know these are certain things we do not control, and this is just who they are. But so many parents I know will see their child be this calm passive child and go, "Well, it's just because we're really good parents." Or they'll see the aggressive child and go, "Those parents must not be doing a very good job because that child is aggressive, and that's not normal."


Well, actually, all these things are normal because these are different aspects of personalities that not just children have, but so do adults. We have to remember, children are just young, undeveloped adults. That's what they are. And one thing that will not change is their personality.


Another aspect are gifts and talents that a child might possess. Are they musically inclined, artistic, athletic? Are they mathematically inclined? These are things that a child will kind of recognize that they have gifts and talents for. As a parent or as a teacher, you'll see this in your students. You can't turn somebody into a musically inclined person or make them artistic. Now, you can teach them about music, but that doesn't turn them into a musician. There's a giant gap between people who have gifts and talents and those who might be trained, trained in certain aspects of certain other things.


Another area are areas of interest. Do they like to read? Do they like books? Are they a sports person? Do they like art, cooking, education, construction, medicine? And as a child grows up, as they turn into adults, these things will shape their future. And these are areas that, lack of a better term, you can kind of steer a little bit, but you do not control them even at all.


A fourth thing would be the level of a child's intelligence or the lack thereof. You do not control this. I have 11 children, and I have seen this, that this is something that is built into your children. You can teach them all you want. You can give them all the book learning that you want, but it does not change the level of their intellect, how quickly they pick things up, or if they don't pick them up quickly, the extra support that they might need. The failure of us to recognize these things are outside of our control, is going to be something that can waste our time because we're trying to shape a child's personality, gifts and talents, areas of interest, or even boost their intelligence when that's not a possibility.


Now, there are things we do and can control, and we certainly should try to do that. Certain areas that we can control are a child's actions, a child's environment, a child's influences that are around them, a child's developmental progression, and of course, a child's educational progression. Now, these are certain things that we can have a vast impact on and can really make a difference in the life of a child. Let's take these a little bit one by one as we kind of move forward with these things, because when people lower expectations, it has a vast impact on these areas. See, not expecting children to say, control their emotions, to interact peacefully with others, to follow directions, or to follow a schedule. This has a vast impact on the child as they are an adult.


A few basic examples of these types of things where people hold children back if you're talking about young children, because it starts really early when this lowering of standards happens. In child care, it's very common to see children with pacifiers. That's right, binkies, whatever you want to call them. These are items that are for infants to console an infant, like of course, breastfeeding or drinking from a bottle might have for a young infant, but you'll see children all the way up through age five with pacifiers in their mouth. Now, this is not because the child has decided to do this. This is because the parent has decided to allow it. They do not want to see their children grow up. They have lowered the standards of when children should stop certain juvenile behaviors like sucking on a pacifier, being one of those.


Another one is bottles, bottle feeding children. Bottles are being used or should be used to supplement that, which will be breastfeeding from the mother to feed the child, to make them comfortable, to get them to eat. Now, there is a point where they're supposed to be weaned, where they're no longer an infant, but they're now growing into a young toddler's age group. But once again, you'll see children coming into schools, visiting or otherwise, and parents do not want to give up the bottle. A big part of it is because they don't want to force their child to do anything, and it mostly comes down to work. That's right, it's not really the child that they want to be immature, it's themselves.


See, we are lowering the standards for ourselves, not necessarily just our students or our children. We are becoming a more lazy and more immature society. We just are. Look around, and you can see parents do not want to be mature, responsible people. You can see that in our society on the voting level. You can see that on social media where people rage against the idea of growing up, of getting older. They do not want to mature. They do not want responsibilities. They want to be the forever infant, adolescent where somebody else is always responsible and not them.


So a lot of times, when you see types of things, it's not the child that they are trying to retard the development or slow it down, it's really their own. If we are going to impact the world, that's really a question we have to ask ourselves. "Am I trying to mature? Am I trying to grow as a adult, as a person, as a parent, as a husband, as a mother? Am I trying to grow? Am I trying to get more mature, or am I trying to stay in my adolescent phase the entire time? Do I not want to grow up? And because of that, not only am I retarding myself, but I'm also retarding my children because they are making me grow up."


Children will force you to be the parent. That's right, one of you is going to be in charge of your relationship. It's either going to be the adult or it's going to be the child. And the vast majority of the time, it is the child. And what do they say? They make excuses for it. And what's it really about? It's not even about the child, it's about them because they are the selfish ones, and because of that, they will not rise to the occasion and be the adult that they are supposed to be. Your job is to help mold your child. Instead, you don't want to mold them because you don't want to be molded yourself.


Diapers is another aspect. The waiting and waiting and waiting of potty training. It used to be a hallmark, a very early hallmark when children are out of diapers and willing and able to use the bathroom on their own. These are some pretty basic concepts, but you can get all the way up to kindergarten, almost five, six years old, and the child will still be in the diaper. Why? Because they will not, one, force the child to do it. And two, it is work on their part as the parent. That's right, it is work on your part, and they are lazy. Before we can hold children accountable, we have to hold ourselves accountable, and that doesn't seem to be something that we want to do.


The man I was talking about earlier that was flabbergasted about the concept of why are children being treated this way and why are these limitations this way? And the man even said, "Well, if these are the limitations on child care, why would anyone ever want to work with children?" And what it really came down to is really talking to himself.


Why would he want to be a parent? And most people, a lot of people, you definitely get the feeling that having children was not something they did on purpose, but something that happened by accident, you could say. And now they are, quote-unquote, "stuck with this child," and they're now being quote-unquote, "forced to be the parent." This also is a leading promotional concept for the idea of abortion. I'm just not ready for children right now. It's all about me, me, me. But a child's actions, a parent has to mold those. Certain things are appropriate, certain things are not.


But in the child care field, parents more and more and more don't want you to restrain their child's behavior. Why? Because they don't want to either. And in the child care field, you are going to have to pay attention to this concept if you are going to work with parents and with children. You got to have to have a standard, just like your home has to have a standard of behavior, so does a school, and if you're a Christian teacher, you are to hold those children accountable to that standard. And if the parents don't agree with you, that's perfectly fine. They should go find a place that does kind of fit and meet their standards of actions for their children, what their moral compass it looks like. But for most, they're perfectly okay with children hurting other people as long as it's not their child getting hurt obviously, of course. They're perfectly okay with children lying, stealing, disrespecting authority because they do it in their own home.


I remember talking to another guy, and his solution was, "Well just give them an iPad, and stop telling them what to do." Well, if you are a good parent or a good teacher, especially if you're a Christian, that is not an option. You are failing to do your job. That's right, it's not the child that's the problem, it's you, you are the problem.


You also have an influence over the child's environment where you put them, what they're allowed to do. And this includes especially like a school structure in particular, is there a structure where the children have to listen, or is it more of a free-range, do whatever you want type of school? And the parents who don't want their children ever to learn to listen, they have to find themselves a school that will allow the child to do whatever they want. And of course, they will get exactly what they want, a child that is out of control, and then they will not blame themselves. That's just how the child is, or this is just how a child this age acts. Well, no, this is how a child left to himself as Proverbs 29:15 said, this is how they act, and they bring shame.


We also have a big impact on what kind of influences we put with our children. And that does include if you choose the school and what that school's standards are, whose friends you allow them to be around, and even yourself, who you put yourself around. And a lot of parents will blame schools, will blame this, will blame that, and not blame themselves. So many families are broken. So many families have drama and terrible, terrible home lives, but somehow that's not supposed to influence the child. It's not their fault. It's not the home environment that they have created by their own terrible choices that is causing problems for the child. "No, no, no, no, not them. Don't hold me accountable. I don't have to change anything. It's somebody else. It's got to be that school. It's got to be those other kids. It's got to be a chemical imbalance in the child, but it's not me as a parent making terrible, horrific choices, boyfriends and girlfriends and drama and chaos and drugs and alcohol abuse. It's not any of that. It's definitely got to be somewhere else."


And what do you know? It's not about lowering the standards for children. It's about them wanting to lower the standards for themselves. They don't want a high standard for the child because they can't even meet it themselves. A child's developmental progression is something that we as parents and teachers do influence and can influence. And a big part of that is what I just was mentioning about the maturing process, taking away the pacifiers, taking away the bottles. We've even got to the point now where there is something brand new, if you haven't heard it, eating specialists. Eating specialists, where children now can't even learn to eat on their own. They have to have a specialist. And what does the specialist do? Basically they force-feed the kid. They teach the kid to eat. That's it. They teach the kid to eat because the parent is so lazy, is so irresponsible, so adolescent thy can't even make their own child eat.


And of course, the educational progression. This is something that even in the state of Florida, they do not want children to learn reading, writing, arithmetic. They didn't even begin that until kindergarten. They want to retard the educational process, and then truth be told, because if you look at the educational system, they don't want them to learn anything for the next 13 years either, go to college, nothing there to learn either. They really just want adolescents that cannot work on their own, think for themselves, and need big brother government to take care of them the rest of their lives. You go use drugs, abuse yourself, destroy your family, and we will be there to pick you up.


See, if you lower standards for yourself to start with, and then you lower standards for your children, you are hurting yourself, you're hurting your child, and you are destroying society.


To wrap this up, let's talk about a specific case of a nine-year-old in government school who is attacking teachers, destroying property, throwing things, and he would not stop to the point that they had to call a sheriff's office deputy to handcuff him until he finally calmed down. As the teachers were talking to him, he revealed that he had been doing this since preschool. "Why stop now? After all, I've been allowed to do this for the last five years."


See, these parents were guilty of lowering standards, not just for the child, but first, of course and primarily, for themselves. They would not take blame for their child's behavior, and they didn't want to change it. And what did they do whenever this child attacked teachers and was handcuffed? Real simple. They sued the school. That's right, they sued the school. "Don't dare tell us that our child should not act this way or that we should have done anything about it, and neither should you." Well, this is what you get when you lower standards. As Christian parents and teachers, it's our job to raise the standards of expectations and to help children and families. Well, that's our job. That's our calling. Thank you for listening. This is Jeremy Walker for Preschool Pioneers. God bless.

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