Oops! How high is your ‘not my child fence’?

school-busphotoHe shut those blue eyes and screamed!

Cutting remarks from two girls in the recess line proved to be his breaking point.   Three 3rd graders stood in front of me, cheeks red from the heat.  I tried hard speaking words of encouragement and ‘team’.

This guy had enough.  Fumbling with words to explain why his outburst wasn’t a good choice,  I asked, “Is this how you handle frustration at home?”

“Yes!”  The mad face stared me down.   I probably shouldn’t have asked.

Parents honestly have no idea what it’s like to be on the front lines.  You just don’t.

I work with amazing people.  Adults that have chosen to dedicate their lives teaching your children.  They arrive early, stay late, spend their own money, cry over and pray for your children.  They enroll in higher education equipping themselves to provide an outstanding learning environment for your kids.

I remember what it was like on the other side.

Every morning my three boys climbed onto that big yellow school bus.  I hated not knowing what really happened each day.

Two mornings a week I graded papers, read to students, laminated — whatever the teachers needed.  I remembered not quite feeling accepted,  but that wasn’t important.  I chose to be where my children were, and decided to support the adults that spent 40 hours per week with them.

A distraught middle school teacher called me one afternoon about one of my son’s incessant talking in class.  I climbed the ‘not my child’ fence high!  “Not my well-behaved top-achieving son!”

I remember talking circles around her and feeling annoyed she would bother me with this pettiness.

We hung up.

But wait!

For the first time in my stay-at-home-mother-my-kids-do-no-wrong-life — the light bulb went on.

I dialed the number back but she was gone.  I left her an apologetic voice mail, thanking her and affirming that my son needed a bit of ‘reckoning’ that day.   My son’s teacher took extra time after school to call me.  Then she had to leave feeling defeated after another exasperating day with middle schoolers.

I must save her!  I must come to her rescue!

I left my toddler with my husband and dinner cooking on the stove.  I explained I had an important mission that couldn’t wait.

Embarrassed and mad,  this mother marched straight into the office.  I waited while the principal pulled my out-spoken 8th grader out of basketball practice.

“Is your office available?”

“Of course.”

Puzzled,  my son followed me into the room and I shut the door.  I told him I wasn’t pleased with his teacher being upset,  and ordered him to figure it out.  The encourager in me reminded him his loud voice would bless others eventually but for now he needed to learn self-control.

Parents!   Teachers need your encouragement.

Chocolate?  Sure.  That works.

How about just saying thank you!   And if they call asking for help — listen with your heart.

They truly care about your kids.

I hope your lightbulb switches on like mind did.



One comment

  1. Thank you for a point well taken. Clone it 1,000 times. All too infrequent understanding of what teaching is like and coming from a wise parent it is all that much more special!


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