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Flourishing Together: The Ripple Effect of Getting the Whole Family Involved

Photo by Picsea / Unsplash

In a fast-paced and interconnected world, cultural and live event experiences offer a window into the richness of our shared history. These experiences not only enrich our understanding of different cultures but also have profound impacts on personal growth and development. However, to fully harness the potential benefits of these experiences, it is essential to actively involve the entire family. Studies have consistently shown that when families engage together, students significantly benefit, experiencing a notable increase in their academic performance, mental health, and professional aspirations.

COVID's Impact

As schools transitioned to remote learning and workplaces shifted to remote or hybrid models during COVID, parents found themselves juggling multiple responsibilities simultaneously. Balancing work demands with caregiving responsibilities proved to be a daunting task, leaving many parents with limited time and energy to fully engage with their children. The constant need to adapt to ever-changing circumstances and uncertainties of the pandemic further added to the parental stress, leaving some feeling overwhelmed and stretched thin. As a result, some parents were unable to participate in cultural and live event experiences with their children, which could have otherwise served as valuable opportunities for bonding and fostering academic, mental, and emotional growth.

The Engagement Gap

Extracurricular activities provide opportunities for children to explore their interests, develop new skills, and build a strong sense of identity and self-confidence. When parents actively participate and show interest in these activities, it sends a powerful message of support, inspiration, and encouragement to their children. It fosters a sense of validation, motivates them to excel, and reinforces the idea that their passions are valued. And while COVID made it harder for millions of students who might have otherwise benefitted from active parent involvement, the engagement gap existed long before COVID did its damage. Families who live in underserved communities are particularly deprived of the long list of "pros" that accompany parental engagement.

Dreaming Bigger

Cultural and live event experiences expose children to a world of possibilities beyond their immediate surroundings. By witnessing the achievements and creative endeavors of others, young minds are inspired to dream big and set ambitious goals for themselves.

When families engage together in these experiences, parents serve as role models for their children, reinforcing the value of lifelong learning and the pursuit of passions. This familial support significantly impacts a child's belief in their abilities and potential, leading to greater career aspirations and determination to succeed.

Moving Forward

As we strive to bolster the educational experiences of students in COVID's wake, it becomes increasingly evident that we need to focus our attention on engaging the whole family. One example of the transformative power of family involvement can be found in the partnership between Ballet Hispánico, The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology, and Situation Project in June 2023. By inviting not only the students but their entire families to their summer season kick-off performances, Ballet Hispánico demonstrated the significant impact of including parents and caregivers in a student's learning journey. This inclusive approach not only allowed 50 students to share a cultural experience with their loved ones but also fostered a deeper connection between families and the school community. The results signified that when organizations prioritize family engagement, students thrive academically, mentally, and emotionally.

To ensure that our children reap the full benefits of these experiences, we must actively involve parents, guardians, and educators. By making cultural and live events a family affair, we impart not just knowledge but also values and skills that contribute to a more empathetic, informed, and culturally competent generation.