Who would believe that we'd be so close to the end of September? School has been in session for almost a month now. I've had my good days and my bad days. Some days I get her there early, a couple of times I've gotten there late, but most days I get there right on time.
Now that I'm starting my second round as a mother with a child in school I'm finally catching on to how things work. No one really tells you.
Remember the really popular girls in school? The cheerleaders, the dance team members, the flag corp and any other popular girl kind of team? OK, if you don't remember them just think of the movies, "13 Going on 30," "Never Been Kissed," and "Mean Girls," to name just a few. Remember the really popular girls that were slightly or outright rude to everyone when you were in school? They were the ones giving the parties and being invited to parties.
Well those girls get started in Kindergarten and First Grade. They are already popular when they start school! It's amazing! But I found out why. These are the daughters of the parents who are very involved with the PTA.
There was a PTA meeting on Thursday at my daughter's school and the first graders were performing, so of course I made it a point to go. They sang around five songs while all the parents said ooh and ahh. Three or four little girls were standing in front of the microphone and they were the main little spokespersons.
My sister leans in and says to me, "There go the future cheerleaders of Waltrip."
I cracked up but I realized that it was true.
I was talking to my sister in California, who has raised two children, and I told her what I had discovered. "Oh yeah," she says, "That's how it works. The PTA mother make sure to put their kids right in front all the time. That's why Hannah (my niece) always wanted me to get involved in the PTA."
Well I just now caught on. And who are the PTA mothers? The really active ones, the officers, the ones who have time to volunteer, are the stay at home moms or the moms who work part-time. Interesting... but just like all organizations that's how the politics work. If you want your kids to be active and popular you must lead by example.
The reason I wouldn't know anything about this is because 1. My parents weren't involved in school at all and 2. Well, I wasn't popular. Of course I wasn't a total outcast and I wasn't a total nerd, but I wasn't in the popular crowd either. I was in the middle of the road group. I was the high school newspaper editor.
The closest I got to popular was our senior year when one of my best friends started dating one of the popular boys, who was actually a couple of grades below us, but part of that group. The summer after we graduated she dated him and my other best friend started dating one of the popular boys too and that summer they attended all the popular kids' parties. It was really strange to have friends in the popular group all of a sudden and after school was over with.
So my parents weren't ever involved. I was fortunate if they went to Open House and met my teachers. My parents were older and their motto was, "No news is good news." They didn't worry about me and I was left to defend myself. I guess by making newspaper editor and not being a total outcast, you could say I was a self-made woman.
Now I'm a parent and I'm faced with the important question. Do I become very involved in school? As involved as I can working full time. Or do I stay semi-involved to teach my daughter the type of self-reliance I learned? I don't want to be totally uninvolved like my parents were. That's not good either. It's an interesting question to consider. If you're a mom tell me what you're doing and how you feel about going either direction?
As a teacher, parent, and an old friend, my advice is to go the middle of the road route. When I first started at my children's school and now when they get new teachers I make it a point not to introduce myself until my kids have developed a relationship with their teachers without my influence. It is hard to find the happy medium but teachers enjoy knowing who the parents are and knowing that they can contact you when needed. It also helps keep the kids in line (not that that is an issue with yours) on the other hand teachers like to be able to run their classroom without interference and to develop individual relationships with their students. Bottom line-get involved but choose the activities/events that are important to you and your kids and that you have sufficient time for but do not get involved in everything!
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