Posted by on Dec 12, 2011 in My Blog, Think About This | 4 comments

Waiting for Superman

Today, most likely more than ever before, children need our encouragement.  They are faced with so many factors that can potentially sabotage their development into good, productive, well-educated and responsible citizens.  In a country like America, it is hard to explain that one in four young children live in poverty.  The number of children under six living in poverty rose to 5.9 million in 2010 from 5.7 million in 2009, researchers from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire found. The ranks of American children in poverty have swelled by 2.6 million since the recession began.

Many of our children live in homes where hunger, drug addiction, crime and battering is their known way of life.  As children grow up in this home environment, is it any wonder that many come to school hungry, angry, afraid, bitter, and behaving in a way counter-productive to receiving a good education?

The documentary film Waiting for Superman chronicled 5 children whose families were desperate to get them into charter schools through the lottery system. The families depicted were all in large, urban communities.   These parents wanted their children to obtain the best education possible and, for a variety of reasons, felt the charter school option was they way to go.  These stories and the outcome of the lottery drawing, were emotional to watch and, for the ones who did not get a lottery drawing, the despair of the families increased.  I have seen public education in my community excel through offering many creative, innovative opportunities to reach students at their point of need.  So why isn’t this the case in EVERY community?

The part of  the Waiting for Superman film that was the most meaningful to me was at the very end when on a black screen the question in white text appeared:  “Are we responsible for the children of others?”

Are we?  Absolutely!  I know that many will not agree with me but I challenge those who disagree to consider that your own children are influenced by the success or lack of success of others.  The way I see this is that my child, or grandchild,  lives in a home with two loving, well-educated and engaged parents who support him in his public education experience.  When he goes to bed at night, his tummy is full and he does not live in fear of who or what may come into his room at night after he goes to sleep.  He knows that his parents will be able to listen to him read and will be engaged in supporting his teacher and his school.  When he is at school, his nurtured home life enables him to be alert, prepared and eager to learn.  Not all children have the same experience.

Child behavior at school or anywhere else WILL impact the learning experience of all children in that classroom.  Teachers do not have a magic wand and they teach the children they are assigned as they arrive.    So, going back to the question “Are we responsible for the children of others” I say we are.  If for none other reason than because those other children will influence my child’s success, I want to do everything I can to help ALL children succeed.  

In communities where non-profit organizations, churches, synagogues and other faith centers are actively engaged in supporting youth in their education experience, there are many opportunities for us all to pitch in and support not only our own children’s success but all those in our community.

Think about this and determine the difference you can make by getting involved.  

We don’t need to wait for Superman.




  1. 12-12-2011

    So, so true. It is an issue that extends beyond political party lines, racial barriers, and different religions. It is a human issue. As parents we also need to help our own children be more aware of other children’s needs/possible issues. Peer-to-peer mentoring is so valuable and creates new generations of compassionate people.

    • 12-12-2011

      Exactly! Thanks for your perspective.

  2. 12-12-2011

    Love the post. I’m going to try to catch that documentary. Thanks.

    • 12-12-2011

      It’s worth seeing. It premiered in major metropolitan communities and was pricey if other communities wanted to bring to their citizens. I saw it in Austin, TX at a special showing for all of us working the Teacher Effectiveness grants. I thought that it was not diverse enough in the types of communities it featured, but still, it was very thought-provoking. Thanks for your comment.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *