Parents and Educators as a Powerful Influence
Every individual has an impact on the world, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. For the most part, the greatest impact an individual will have is limited to those with whom he interacts and the small community in which he lives. To a certain extent, each person has control over his own actions and decisions, and the choices he makes will ultimately determine how much power he will have over his own life. In as much as any human being can control his surroundings, he can also control the contributions he makes to the community and the quality of his own life. Although one might not ever be able to create an ideal world, through life experiences, relationships with those around him, imagination, and above all, education, he can reach his own human potential and achieve his own ideal individual existence.
As no one can avoid interacting on some level with other human beings, no one lives in complete isolation. Literature, film, and music provide many examples of the consequences and implications of alienation and isolation. In J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield’s constant attempts to alienate himself ultimately fail due to his love and desire to care for his sister, whose love and concern for him does not allow him to disengage totally from the world. It is through a person’s relationships with other people that he finds his place in the world and develops his own sense of importance. The caring and love of other human beings reaffirm a person’s sense of self-worth and give him the confidence to explore his world and form other attachments that will allow him to continue to grow and to develop as a person.
The earliest influences on one’s life are parents and family members. These are the people with whom one first interacts and with whom one forms his first emotional bonds. Parents or parent surrogates are the first people to teach values and to interpret the world for a child. From one’s family the child extracts his core values and learns how to apply them to the world and to individuals outside the family. Parents also give the child a sense of who he is and where he came from through generational continuity. Every child has a sense of his own history and that helps him to develop his own individuality while remaining a part of a greater whole that is grounded in history and tradition. Knowing one’s history aids an individual’s understanding of himself. The notion that someone has come before him and endured reassures the child that he too will have a place in the world.
For most, the first venture away from family is into the classroom. Education is a powerful and empowering force in most people’s lives. Education broadens one’s experiences and exposes the child to many other possible philosophies, lifestyles, cultures, and values. Through learning about others and the ways in which they responded to...