Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Do what's right for your kid... what people say to justify leaving public schools that don't fit their kid's learning style, to talk to the teacher about making changes to curriculum, to judge whether they need more homework, more discipline, a gentler touch, and on and on. Obviously a helpful phrase. And a necessary one. Having spent the last several years in public mental health working often with cases referred by Department of Child and Family Services for abuse, neglect, cases I try not to think about too much but that still show up in dreams, I know that not all families have the knack of doing what's right for their kids. That's the really painful reality and it tends to make me more compassionate with parents, usually from higher socio-economic backgrounds and high expectations of schools and life in general, who expect schools and classes to be exactly geared toward their child's learning styles and needs at all times. Or the hyper-attentive parents in the playgrounds, or the over-scheduling afterschool activity parents, or even the home-school / un-school / make sure your child is happy at all times parents. I get it. I feel for them.

That said, I feel like the phrase "you have to do what's best for your child" without any mitigation or parameters is becoming another American problem. It's that old entitlement thing that gets me right in the gut. When parents use that phrase "I have to do what's right for my child" to attempt to torpedo a teacher or a school or a program that's working out for the other 19, 30, or 140 children in the same program. Or when parents use the phrase "I have to do what's right for my child" to do what's right for them, never bothering to get down low and check in with said child. He or she may be thriving in an environment that is uncomfortable for the parent. And what about at least adding to the phrase so it goes something more like, "I have to do what's right for our child and all the children of our community." Or at least try. I feel like there'd be a lot less whisking out to private school if parents felt that all the children in the public schools are their children.

I'm feeling my role as president of the community association of my daughter's school this morning. Feeling the responsibility, the weight. I'm not light this morning. My desk has so much friggin crap on, which I try to "organize" by sticking different types of crap into different cardboard box things, but there is no order. I turn my head to the left and there's the two pieces of felt waiting for me to sew a pillow with my daughter for her secret santa, who apparently likes orange and blue, elephants, and beards. So that's all incorporated into this upcoming project. And I am not a crafter. This is potentially going to be one sad pillow. Wait. Wait. Here's that power of positive daughter and I are going to kick that pillow's ass. Yea.

There's just so much stuff here, laundry running and dog hair to be vacuumed, random beeping - the coffeemaker? the washing machine? something deep inside my head trying to remind me of something? I feel guilty writing this, but I miss the quiet non-responsibility of the hotel. Where any mess was mine and minimal and clean-up-able and where the linens had no stains and someone came in and made my bed. Where I walked downstairs in the morning and ordered a starbucks, charged it to the room, wandered around, the quiet, the peace. I was lonely there and I missed my family. But now that I'm back, I'm already struggling with this low-grade irritation feeling, like a little infection that keeps nudging at my brain. Off to couples' therapy now. I find that keeps things honest at least. I think I need to make a list, get some stuff done, then when I pick my daughter up, just concentrate completely on sewing a blue and orange bearded elephant pillow and being with her. Computer will be off. Texting off limits. Dinner will be simple. Bedtime will be early.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.