Parent Educators: Maryland Couple Blends Theory and Practice

By Davis, Kimberly | Ebony, September 2003 | Go to article overview

Parent Educators: Maryland Couple Blends Theory and Practice


Davis, Kimberly, Ebony


DELANEY O'Gilvie is a "big girl." Her parents, Glen O'Gilvie and Heidi Oliver-O'Gilvie of Upper Marlboro, Md., learned that the hard way this summer at the mall when their 3-year-old issued two declarations of independence. First, she told her Daddy she didn't want to ride in the pushcart; she wanted to walk next to Daddy. Second, when her Daddy teased her, telling her, "You're not a big girl; you're still a baby," she replied: "I am a big girl. I know Spanish," and she proceeded to count all the way up to 13--in Spanish.

"I looked at her, said, 'OK,' and I took her out of the cart," O'Gilvie recalls.

The O'Gilvies say it is surprises like these that keep them on their toes, and make them use their knowledge as educators to try to stay at least one step ahead of her. Both have master's degrees in the education field and focus on youth development.

The young parents, who met as students at Virginia State University, say their child-raising philosophy is based on love, education, exposure and positive role modeling.

They want to make sure that Delaney knows how much they love her; that she has access to education in pre-school and at home; and that she is exposed to life outside of school--activities such as gardening with her father and playing games. The O'Gilvies also want to ensure that Delaney can look to them for good examples on how to live. They put what they've learned in school--theory--into practice.

"I learned [in school] that children are so impressionable, so I try to model appropriate behavior at all times," says Oliver-O'Gilvie, a fourth-grade teacher at Rosaryville Elementary and program director at the Columbia Heights Youth Club. "Delaney's like a sponge--she picks up everything, whether it's positive or negative. So, we just try hard to always practice positive behavior."

O'Gilvie, who works with older children, says that he believes one of the most important things for young people to do is to realize the importance of being involved in something outside of school.

"What I've learned in most cases is that it's important to be civic-minded and involved at a young age," says O'Gilvie, who is program officer for the youth development initiative of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. …

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