In my last post I discussed education and some of the reasons why schools work or fail. If you read that, and my fairly opinionated commentary, you already know that my feeling is that the single greatest determining factor in a child’s scholastic success rests with the parents. That’s not to say that a failing district can be overcome by the parent, but I think failing districts often have an overabundance of parents who are not accountable for their children…
Well, hell, I just re-read that and realized that I’m about to piss a lot of people off. If you have tender hearts or virgin ears, please discontinue reading. Otherwise, buckle up.
I am, once again, a room mom – this year for my middle child’s class. I already know what’s coming, having been ridiculously involved since my oldest started three year old pre-school (she’s in fifth grade this year). I didn’t volunteer for this one, in fact I purposely didn’t sign up. I have three kids in school and wanted to make sure I could make at least one party for each of them. When you’re a room parent, you have to attend the majority of the events for that class… okay, that was long and windy, but the basic thing is – no one else would accept the position, which already tells me I’m going to have a hell of a time finding volunteers. Luckily, the first and third grade have their Christmas parties on different days, so hopefully I can attend that one for youngest.
But enough about how I’m going to balance spending some time in each of my children’s classes – the point is the lack of volunteers. Here’s how this conversation can often go:
Me: Hi, my name is Merry and my child is in your child’s class. We need parents to help with their holiday parties. Do you think you can sign up for one of them?
Parent: Oh, no, I work. Sorry.
AAAAARGGGGGG!!!!! Not for nothing, but what kind of bullshit answer is that? There are a lot of parents who work and still make their children’s school life a priority and quite frankly there are relatively few employers who will hold it against you for taking one afternoon off in a ten month school year to attend your child’s party. If you are the extreme case whose boss will boil you in oil, you are excused from this rant… but for the most part, these same parents who can’t commit to an one hour party in the afternoon are also never in attendance at the evening or weekend events, so in some of those cases I’m thinking they just can’t be bothered – which sucks for their kid.
I get that working and raising children is hard to balance. I even get it if you can’t make the afternoon stuff but try to make the evening events or in some other way volunteer (there are a lot of things you can do from home, just ask the school). And forget the fact that it’s flippin’ annoying to the rest of us who, by the way, also WORK – that line just kills me, I’m sorry. I’m not sitting on the couch eating bon-bons for fuck’s sake – even if I wasn’t writing at home, I’d still have every ounce of time consumed with raising my own kids and taking up the slack at school for the parents that don’t flippin’ bother!
Okay, sorry. You can unplug your virgin ears now. Here’s the thing, for any of you reading that don’t bother with your children’s events – don’t worry about annoying people like me. Hey, who the fuck am I, really? (oops, now you can unplug them) But you should definitely take into account the kind of message you want to send your kid. Do you remember being that age? Do you remember what it felt like when your parents didn’t bother to show up? When you missed a school event because they didn’t think it was a big deal?
Their school world is their whole life. It’s where they learn how to deal with people, how to build relationships, a work ethic, respect, pride in accomplishment, independence… and their parents, for better or worse, hold the reigns to how they feel about themselves for most, if not all, of their lives.
If your parents were ones that didn’t think it mattered – do your kid a favor and show them a little better.
Okay, I’m done. Carry on.