Life is too short for me to be a helicopter parent. I’m involved. I’m on the PTA. I badger Abby over her homework, her flute practice and cleaning her room. I communicate with Boo’s team (which is another type of parenting, not helicopter). At a PTA event before school started the new Principal asked me if I was happy with Abby’s placement for the next year. I replied, I have no idea. In all honesty I didn’t even know that Abby would have two teachers this year.
I do not place my child in the preferred teacher’s classroom. I do not say she has to have XYZ in her class. When Abby is 15 she will not be able to pick her boss. I think learning in primary school that you have to work for whatever teacher you get is a good lesson. Let her learn now at a young age how to debate, negotiate and comply with the person entrusted to educate her.
Our town is going through an enormous transition in the school system. There have been a lot of changes, from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. It has in both good ways and bad brought out the helicopter parent in a lot of the community.
In addition to the transition our school system has instituted new security measures and traffic patterns. It’s the traffic management that set my life is too short, snap out of it moment. Here’s the deal:
Previously if you drove your child to school (even though they could walk or take the bus) you would let little Patsy get out of the car and
text, email, play words with friends watch her like an Eagle Scout as she walked the 25 feet from your car door to the front door of the school.
You do this because there is an off-chance little Patsy could be abducted by aliens on her way into school.
The new system (which is working at two other schools in town) is that you now drop your child off and drive to work, the gym, wherever you go when your child is at school. A teacher (or two) directs the children and keeps and makes sure no one dawdles on the way to class. You do not stop and hold up the 25 cars behind you who are trying to get somewhere on time. You can, if you wish, park your car and get out of it and walk your child to the sidewalk where you can watch or walk with them walk into the school.
Of course Facebook lit up brighter than NYC on New Year’s Eve with parent comments. One person wrote that they asked the administration “if the school was now taking responsibility for all the kids from the moment they are on school grounds without a parent present, she danced around the question like Sugar Ray Leonard, never actually answering the question”.
Hmm…really? This is a question posed to the school administration? I think they “danced” around the question because they were not allowed to say: Look you fool, we take personal responsibility for every child in our system. It doesn’t matter if they are walking into the school or out of it. It doesn’t matter if they are in gym, the playground, the art room or in the classroom.
Unless you home school (and you are my hero if you do) a parent is not present with their child 24/7. If you are seriously worried that little Patsy is going to come to harm walking from your car to the door of the school there are bigger issues. Just think what could happen while you are not there:
They could get colored on in art! Or worse eat the art.They could fall from the slide on the playground.They could need a band aid.They might color outside the lines in kindergarten.They might make friends, get dirty, learn to negotiate and be a little independent.
Oh the horror, they might make friendships without you. I think that is a more likely fear than the alien abduction, personally.
If you want to become involved in the traffic policy, the transitioning of the schools, school security I say fantastic! At the first PTA meeting of the year we had 18 attendees out of a school of 500+ children. Of those who attended: 3 from administration, 1 teacher, the E-board of the PTA, the past PTA President and VP and 6 other parents. After Sandy Hook we held a school safety meeting 12 parents attended. It takes more to keep your child safe then watching them walk from your car to the front door.
I know the excuses: I work, I do this or that I don’t have time let me wave the flag of BS. I work full-time, I blog, I’m active on the PTA, I take care of two active girls, I attend Boo’s doctor and therapy appointments, I take Abby to her Flute and Riding lessons and I remember to be a wife sometimes. There is time to get involved it just takes creative planning.
My point, to fellow parents, is relax! Life is too short for you to worry so much. If you are a child of the 70’s or 80’s you played outside (alone), you walked to school (alone), your parent did not handpick your teacher (or friends) and you survived. Yes, I understand we live in a different world. A world of 9/11 and Sandy Hook and Columbine. I agree we have to be vigilant, we have to be involved and aware.
You also have to know when to let your child fly.
And if your child is abducted by aliens walking from your car to the front of the school while a teacher watches, I will be the first one to sign up for helicopter lessons.
This was how I answered the prompt Life is too short for….