I have been part of my kids’ public elementary school strategic planning committee for the last eleven years. It has been an extraordinary experience and one that has left me feeling like I have been able to contribute to my community and school other than just driving field trips, distributing hot lunches and helping with classroom parties.
Friday the group is reconvening and I got a call from our superintendent’s office explaining very nicely that they don’t want me this year. But that’s not all. The reason they don’t want me is that they want my eldest son to participate instead and they would worry that if I were in the room he might not be as honest or straightforward as they want him to be.
I’m not exactly sure how I feel about this considering this is my last year in the district. My youngest will be graduating from 8th grade this spring and heading off to high school.
I am being replaced by my 16-year-old!
Now, I must confess when we have had former students join in the planning process over the last decade I have hung on every word they say. Their perspective has been crucial in the decisions we have made as a committee.
It think about what the committee will look like now. I can imagine that a young mother or father will replace me. They will listen to my son and do their best for our public school. But it’s done, over. My years of hard work for the public school have finally come to an end.
And it is bittersweet.
As a parent concerned about your child’s education, in a state that has massive financial woes you get involved. And I started out with gusto and fire in my belly.
Over the years you learn how to say NO only because you just can’t say YES anymore. And by the time middle school comes around you dodge the people in charge so you don’t have to say NO one more time. You really want to help, it's for our schools.
But I needed to get a life.
I thank every single parent who has volunteered. They have given my children so much more than just an education. Their hard work and love has filled the playgrounds and classrooms. Thank you. They have raised money, picked up trash, chaperoned dances, worked in the classroom. They have given all that they can and more!
As I write this I remember that I just got a call from the Principal’s office. I think she needs some help writing something for the strategic planning meetings.
Ahhhh, there is one more thing I can do.
I can write.
do you have problems saying No? Do you enjoy helping out in your community? What kinds of things do you do?