Calling All Parents!
I shall start this with a disclaimer. This is a rant. I'm frustrated and irritated and since this is MY blog, I get to put it out there in MY way. This is in NO WAY aimed at our local school district or any one person or group of people. We are very blessed to have fabulous schools here and for that I am forever grateful. This is purely my opinion, and I guess if you don't like it, you are always welcome to stop reading.
Now that I have the technicalities out of the way, I have been spending quite a bit of time lately thinking about the status of our children. I have to be honest, it scares the crap out of me. These are our future leaders, the ones to take care of US when we are no longer able to take care of ourselves. I am not trying to say that all children today are going to grow up to be worthless. I am just saying that if we, the parents, don't step up now and take action, the future could be a scary place to be.
I posted this picture on Facebook the other night, purely for entertainment, and because I think it is really great:
It did not get quite the response I was expecting. From "this is awesome", to "it's all fun and games until someone is abducted, or worse", to "this is child abuse", and my favorite "we should be friends with our kids". I am sorry, but I have a real problem with that. I have friends, friends that are my age. Friends that I laugh with, cry with, drink with, hang out with. Friends that I have known my entire life. I did not have children to increase my "friend" pool. My high school students used to ask me the same question, "don't you want to be FRIENDS with us?". Nope, I have my own friends. I'm here to educate you, guide you, help you to become functioning adults. Don't get me wrong, I want, and am very fortunate to have, fantastic relationships with my children. We talk, we laugh, we play, we even cry, but let there be no mistaking that they understand that Farmer Bob and I are the ones in charge here. They understand that we have rules that MUST be followed. Not because we are super hard-asses and want their lives to be miserable, but because we are watching out for them and their best interests. Because we want them to grow up to be fully functioning adults. Sometimes they get mad, particularly Mini-Me as she quickly approaches the ripe old age of 10. Mainly because their friends don't seem to have many rules. They are allowed to do whatever they want, whenever they want, with no regard for others. This is particularly frustrating and challenging as a parent that has rules, and enforces them.
I had a friend tell me the other day that her daughter was bullied on the bus. Some kids, second graders mind you, were eating some gum drops on the bus. This is the first thing wrong here. There are rules in place here which state that there is to be no eating on the bus. My friends daughter asked the other two girls if she could have one, to which the girls replied that she could, just hold on a second. They give her one, she puts it in her mouth and immediately spits it back out. Apparently these girls had doused the gum drop in hand sanitizer before giving it to her. Horrible? Maybe not. Mean? Hell yes. The worst part here is that my friends daughter was afraid to bring it up because she didn't want momma stepping in. The girls would make fun of her and not be her friend anymore. Why are our kids so desperate for friends that they will accept this kind of treatment from their so called "friends"? I don't want to be friends with those kinds of people, no matter their age.
Now, my friend is furious, and damn it, she should be. I am not a mind reader, but I feel comfortable enough in my assessment and of our friendship to say that I think she is more furious of the fact that even if she did say something, nothing would happen. Not at school, not on the bus, and definitely not at home. You know it is bad when you know calling the other children's parents is just a futile effort. This in turn infuriates me. Why is it that those of us that use discipline at home in order to raise loving, caring, functional adults, are always under minded by those who are not? I'm not talking harsh discipline here, just some discipline. Rules, guidelines, boundaries.
My new favorite quote.
My next concern is childhood obesity. It is all over the news and they talk about it non-stop in school. So much so that my 10 year old daughter has, at times, resorted to reading the serving size on the bag of chips and counting them out as she is making her lunch. I am not saying that it is not a very serious issue here, so don't come attacking me, but when you really look at and analyze the problem here, shouldn't we be the ones taking a good look at ourselves as parents? Why is it OK for our kids to sit on the couch all day, play video games or watch TV, and be catered to with every snack they could ever imagine? I remember "back in the day" we went outside after breakfast, came in for lunch, ran in for family dinner, and didn't come back home until the streetlights came on. I am not that old, it wasn't that long ago. Now, I am guilty of the occasional TV day. Who isn't? It's rainy, it's cold and rainy, mom is tired, needs to clean, it happens. Is it necessary every damn day? I think not. Why do we rely on drive thru's and pizza delivery? Take the initiative, cook a meal at home. Not from a box. Fresh ingredients, it's possible even on the tightest budgets of this I know for sure, fruits and vegetables. Talk to your kids, explore with them, go outside. Play tag, hide and seek, go to the park. Do it. Not only for the kids, but for yourself. BE THE EXAMPLE.
I recently received a request for a bus for a field trip. Not an abnormal request this time of year. School for us is out on Friday and they are packing in the trips. This one stood out for me for one reason only. They want a bus to carry 42 seventh and eighth graders 0.8 of a mile. You read that right, not even a complete mile. Exactly what kind of an example is this setting for our kids? Hey, don't want to walk up the road just a bit, no problem, we will pay not only for a bus to come pick us up, but for the driver to drive it. That sounds like a spectacular use of school funds. Now if these were Kindergartners or First graders, I could maybe understand giving them a little ride. Their legs are short, it's a long way. Yet at the same time, there is no reason they couldn't handle it. Someday I am going to put a pedometer on PITA to see exactly how far those little midget legs carry him in one day. I am certain he will surpass that distance by quite a bit. The weather is not hot, not cold. It's not snowing, it is not even supposed to rain. Can't we at least make some sort of effort as adults here?
And finally, this brings me to sports. I'm not talking summer ball here, school sports. I am a big fan of sports. I like to play them, I like to watch them, I like to watch my kids to play them. I do however have a big beef with the fact that sports seem to be what drives our schools. Sports are so very important in the development of our children. They give them a sense of accomplishment and a sense of what it is like to be part of a team, much like music, or art, or academics. It is especially frustrating when, in times when money is tight, it is the academics that suffer. They cut things like band, choir, foreign language, or art, when in reality shouldn't it be things like golf, wrestling, or volleyball? There are plenty of opportunities for our kids to be involved in sports outside of school, so shouldn't school be about education?
I know that sports make money, I get that. I am not saying that all sports should get the boot. I am just a firm believer in education I guess. I have a difficult time when in order for my 5 year old to attend all day kindergarten I am required to pay id=mce_marker00 a month, $900 for the year. Not big money by any stretch of the imagination, working parents pay significantly more for quality day care, but when all you have to pay to play sports is $25 per sport, this makes me raise my eyebrows and shake my head. Yes, I have the choice to either send Mouse to all day, for which I am required to pay, or half day, for which I do not have to pay. If I choose the half day option, she will in turn miss out on music, PE, small reading groups, and all the socialization and many other activities. We all want our kids to succeed in whatever endeavour they choose to pursue, but without a good education their chances of success are exponentially lessened, so I will pay the id=mce_marker00 per month for her, not for me. Because I want to send the message to her, and the rest of the littles, that education is important. Education gives you power. Education gives you the ability to succeed. Sports, for me, is just an aid in the process, not a necessity.
It is time for us, the parents, to step up and reclaim our kids. To learn to say NO, to establish rules, and boundaries, to teach our littles how to be loving, caring, able bodied adults, to be PARENTS. Who is with me?
Thanks for reading and have a MARVELOUS MONDAY!