Dear Parents…

I would like to preface this letter with the fact that I am not a parent myself and do understand that when you have children of your own, your perceptions do change.  With that being said, it seems today, that parents have this internal conflict with trying to form such a positive relationship with their child that they don’t know where to discipline and where to provide some leeway.  They have this vision of being best friends with their child and fear that providing boundaries and consequences will some how hinder their vision.

As a middle child, I certainly did not make parenting easy.  Despite my dramatic cries and tantrum throwing efforts, my parents managed to maintained a close and positive relationship with me.   They both made an effort so that I was comfortable coming to them.  I was never scolded for being open and honest and they did their best to truly listen.  At the same time I knew what their expectations were.  The expectations my parents held for me at home carried across multiple platforms.  These platforms included sports, friends’ houses, school, and even work.  I was to be respectful and help where I could; say please and thank you; be responsible; and not talk back to any adults.  These expectations helped me navigate through life and taught me a sense of right and wrong, moral and immoral, and that there were consequences for my actions (both good and bad).

I feel it is important to hold our children to these same expectations.  Children need to be aware what is allowed and what is not allowed.  They need to be taught these expectations so they can practice them and be successful in the real world – whatever their endeavors may be.  By having firm boundaries, children know what to expect.  They aren’t left in a gray area uncertain and questioning if they are going to get in trouble this time if they didn’t get in trouble last time.  This is where consistency and followthrough are important.  Threatening children with consequences and then not ever enforcing them teaches them that they don’t have to listen because those consequences won’t actually happen.  This could easily have a negative impact as time goes on if not corrected – just imagine Bobby in the work place not believe his boss will truly fire him if he doesn’t get his paperwork completed.

I also feel it is important that our children not only be held to these expectations, but made aware that these are universal expectations.  Children need to realize that they will be held accountable in all aspects of their life and that there will most definitely be consequences for their actions.  If you are disrespectful to your parent, you very well may be grounded, lose a privilege or be given an additional chore.  Likewise, if you are disrespectful at school you will lose recess (this is a debatable consequence and can be discussed at a later time); lose a privilege or be given an additional task. On the other end of the spectrum, students should also learn that if they work hard, are helpful, and go above and beyond that their efforts will be acknowledged (whether it be through a sticker; verbal acknowledgment; or even a natural, good, internal feeling).  I feel that if we want our children to be set up for success, not only do they need to understand these expectations but also understand that humility is an admirable thing.  Their ownership and honesty should be acknowledged when they take accountability (they should still have consequences enforced, but recognition for their honesty is a must!).  Accountability in the classroom is something that I see lacking greatly, today.

In order to ensure our children are set up for success emotionally and academically, we need to let them know that we are a team.  We need to recognize that despite the fear of burdening a parent-child relationship, there is probably some fault that the child can take ownership of.  We as a team, need to communicate with one another about what we are witnessing at home and in the classroom.  We need to acknowledge problems that are arising and positive behaviors that are also being observed.  We want the child to see and be aware that we are on the same page and that our expectations will be enforced across different domains.    Therefore, as a teacher, I need you to have faith in the integrity of what I am telling you.

As a teacher, I am in no way trying to tell you that your son is a horrible human being.  I am in no way trying to tell you that your daughter is the only guilty party in a given situation.  I apologize for any negative experiences you may have had with previous teachers, coaches, and/or parents of another child.  But please try to recognize that the majority of adults truly want what’s best for your child and are simply trying to reach out for help – help in managing a situation your child can learn and grow from.  Please do not automatically assume I am out to get your child or pass judgment on him/her/you.  And lastly, if you promise to not believe every single thing your child says about school, I promise to not believe every single thing I hear about home.

We are in this together.  In order to ensure success for our children we need to help them navigate them through life so they can be independent and good human beings.  They may fight you along the way, but I promise as they become adults, they will thank you.  But furthermore, they will respect you.

Sincerely,

A loving teacher trying her best

 

Home Intrusion

I have never been so mad in my life.

I will preface that sometimes we are too trusting.  That we have grown up living in a protected bubble.  And therefore we make errors.  We made the mistake of not checking to see if our garage door was closed.  We assumed it was.  It did not even cross my mind, though, to go verify and double even triple check.  I rarely lock the doors to my car unless I’m in public and there is something valuable in the car.  However, it’s very sad that we live in a world where we end up kicking ourselves because we didn’t do the previously stated actions.  I should not have to kick myself and be upset with myself because of someone who lacks common courtesy of people’s belongings.

As I was getting into my car with my husband, I noticed everything out of the middle compartment pulled out and thrown about.  I asked him if he was looking for anything and even wondered if the dogs had gotten into my stuff.  When he said, “No.” and also saw his car was in the same condition, it was not difficult to arrive at the same conclusion that someone had been in our cars.

Initially, I assumed they didn’t find anything as I typically don’t have anything worth stealing.  Half the time I keep my car unlocked is  because I’d rather someone realize it’s not worth their time than having to replace a broken window.  I did the same thing.  Brian realized his Army backpack, that he had all through Iraq, was taken with his gym clothes.  The clothes are replaceable but that backpack was filled with a lot of meaning for him.  It’s something that he wore on this back, to this day, with pride and honor.  He’s proud to be a veteran.  He earned that backpack.

I put the keys in the ignition looking around my car and then my heart sinks into my stomach.  My heart rate increases exponentially and I feel anger surging through my veins.  It hits me.  I left my new purse and wallet in the car.  Within my wallet had credit cards, cash, gift cards, my Social Security card, and my ID amongst whatever else I can’t remember.  I’m left pissed.  Livid.  Helpless.

We are doing everything we can to save for adoption right now.  We are making conscious efforts to not spend money if we don’t have to.  And yet, here we are.  Money was taken from me, purchases were made, and now we have to spend more money to replace stolen items.  How dare [enter name here] have the audacity to come onto my property.  How dare [you] fell self-righteous enough to go through my things, and take what you want.  How dare [you] be so self-centered and selfish to have no regard for anyone else but yourself and not realize the domino effect you may have on the very people you are stealing from.

And the kicker…there is nothing I can do.

So now I have to get a new driver’s license…so excited to go to the DMV.  I have to go to another place to get a Social Security card…woot woot.  Then cards have to be cancelled and we have to be issued new credit cards.  Lastly, I get to place a freeze on my credit file so no one can open any sort of account under my social security number.  Ugh this just sucks.  And there is nothing I can do.

We are patiently waiting for a police officer to arrive so we can make a report.  But with my experience, things like this do not get resolved.  It just really really sucks.  So much for our summer motto of “Don’t be a dick.”

So please, don’t assume anything and just be careful.  Lock your door.  Double check that your garages.  And pray to God that jerks don’t happen to come across your house if you and when you do forget to close your garage.  I’ve never been so mad.