Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Dear School, I Don't Hate You

Dear School, I don't hate you.  I wanted to reassure you of that because we've had some talks lately about my children.  And I feel the extra need to reassure you of that, since I've seen some social media posts that aren't so nice about you lately too.
Rest assured, I understand that my children mess up.  I love all four of them more than life itself!  And I think they are all wonderful people!  But, I'm their mother.  I'm not stupid.  I don't have blinders on.  I know what they try to get away with in this house.  And I don't think for one minute that they walk out this door and turn in to perfect angels.  I don't expect them to be perfect.  I expect them to be children.  Children push limits.  And children mess up; as do adults.
There is this great opportunity right now, when they are children, to teach them how to handle life.  So if they mess up accidentally and you let it slide; I'm ok with that.  I don't want to know every time they don't pay attention or they lag behind walking in line.  Thank you for not calling me for those things!  We are on the same page here!
Beyond mistakes, my kids are going to test the limits of things.  All children at some point are going to test limits of things.  I don't envy you school, I really don't.  Discretion is key here and this is where we talk.  You tell me when my kid crosses the line.  And I expect there to be consequences.  If you didn't give consequences school, well I wouldn't feel the same way about you.  I wouldn't respect you school.  And I wouldn't trust you.  If there weren't consequences for my child; then there wouldn't be consequences for other children.  You'd have chaos.  And I wouldn't feel safe with my children going to a chaotic place where life has no consequences.
I want there to be consequences for my children when they break the rules.  It happens here at home.  And I expect it to happen at school.  Yes, my heart breaks a little when my child comes home from school upset because of a consequence that he/she earned.  But guess what, my heart breaks a little when I'm the one who makes my child upset this way too.  It is a necessary part of life.  There are always consequences in life.  The sooner they learn that, the better.
I remember school, when you made my child call me when my fourth grader stuck a post it note to another child's head.  That was a funny one.  The hubster was sitting next to me at the time and he started laughing.  I smacked him and told him to be quiet as I tried to sound stern on the phone to my child.  After I hung up, I laughed too.  But you found it important enough to have my child call me, so I played along.  I had your back school.  I was happy to learn the rest of the story; that you had threatened that the next child who did something would have to call home.  That day, that was my child.  And as we talked about it school, we laughed together.
When my middle schooler was made to call me because of a missing homework assignment and I thought that call was a bit over-kill.  I still had your back school.  I reminded my child how important it was to turn in homework.  Then you and I talked later school about how you can shoot me an email.  But I don't want daily phone calls if my child is irresponsible with homework.  There is an age where it is their choice . . . to a point.  I don't hound them about homework every night.  But I do reserve the right to step in and make it a bigger problem for said child if this irresponsible behavior becomes a norm.  So we talked school, you and I.  We made an agreement that works.  You tell me when this is a continuing problem, and I'll step in.  Once in a blue moon though, I don't care.
And to me, this is how it should be school.  These growing people are mine and they are learning how to one day be their own.  I trust you with them Monday thru Friday during the day.  And I'll back your decisions because I believe that you have their best interests at heart.  I think we make a good team.  And when I think that team has trouble, we'll talk.  I won't yell at you.  And you won't yell at me.  We'll work it out because our goal together is for these growing people to turn in to amazing adults.
Tonight I am thankful for a good school with caring people.  I don't trust my children to just anyone!  And the only way for this to work well is for us to talk - just like any good team or partnership or whatever you want to call the dynamic that is you and I.

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