Saturday, December 10, 2011

I Can Understand Those Parents

We are in California, visiting with my family, and Thea is socializing with her 2nd cousins. Watching from the sidelines is this nervous mother. I want to jump in. I want to explain that Thea is really loud and excited because she loves playing with other kids. I want to apologize for her rambunctiousness, chalk it up to nerves, and then make them embrace her. Except I don't. And I won't, because I know that this is how children learn to develop friendships. That this is what parents do; let go and hold their breath.

I know my daughter is a little whacky, she has oodles of personality flowing out of her like a river run wild. She loves people, she loves to give hugs, and she loves to be the center of attention. She is willful, stubborn, and loud. Qualities that may harm or help later in life. I know that when she starts school I will have to fight every urge to be "that" mother. I will have to stop myself from emailing her teachers on how best to engage her, on how best to calm her. I cannot be the mother that fixes the friendships or the assignments. I cannot be the mother that stops by just to check in.

I don't know how other parents do it. I do not know how they can place so much trust in their chld's teachers and just let go. I don't know how we as teachers can just expect it every year on the first day of school. But we do and we get upset when parents intervene too much. We shake our heads at their long emails,take a deep breath when they surprise us with another visit. I now understand the parents better. I now get the need to explain, to protect, to guide. I do it for my own child.


Josh Stumpenhorst said...

If it makes you feel any better...I am "that" father as my son is in kindergarten this year. It is very hard to stand by when it is your own kids. Certainly makes you sympathize with those parents of your students.

John T. Spencer said...

I am often fighting a battle between:

1. A desire for my kids to be normal (be less sensitive, be quieter, be less like I was as a child) out of a fear of the pain they'll feel when they are rejected for being themselves.

2. A desire for them to embrace their identity, fight against the injustices of the culture, refuse to buckle under social expectations and forge their own way.

Marty said...

My twins are 6 and in first grade. Nothing has changed me more as an educator as when I became a parent. It has totally changed my perspective and outlook. The thing I struggle with is being a Parent who is also an Educator.

Ann and Celina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann and Celina said...

I have to agree with Marty. Being a parent has made me a more understanding teacher to my students and their parents. Being a teacher, and working with so many diverse kids, has also made me a better parent at home with my own three kids. Perspective is like that, not always easy maybe but like that. If I have learned anything though, it is to be yourself and let them be who they are. My three kids are all dramatic, loud, smart and to one degree or another flaky. While I might like to be followed through the grocery store (or their school gym) by three well groomed, placid and quiet children, that just isn't how "we roll". ~Ann

photomatt7 said...

Have you read this? An Apology from Your Child's Former Teacher ->>


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