Thursday, February 25, 2010

Not wanted anymore!

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?


  1. Over the years, "no" has become a lot easier to say. That being said, I do enjoy helping in my community. I volunteer with the Scouts, the Church, and for the Dance Team. All that means is that "no" may be easier to say ... but it's still hard to mean.

  2. Hey goofdad, I was just reading your post while you were reading mine!

  3. Hi Terry,

    I am on several committees in my town and also organize "rebellious" sorts of things to keep the power with the people. We can all make a difference, just requires knowing that you can and not being afraid of doing something.

    I hear you about being replaced by your son and perhaps some younger parent. That they solicit the voices of young folks on committees is pretty impressive.

    Any other committees you'd like to join? It's a great way to meet new people in town. Isolation is the source of some many problems in the world.

    Learned to say no too! There's only so much one person can take on before s/he becomes ineffective at anything.

    Your post on the hot flash creme was funny.

  4. I have such a hard time saying "no", the only solution for me was to return to work (now I am one of those annoying women who respond to a plea for help with, "I can't, I'm working"). I think the two years directing the school play put me over the edge! I enjoyed my time helping at school with various projects, in the classroom etc., but I am totally ready for the next generation of parents to take over!

    I remain engaged in the community on a different level - delivering meals to AIDS patients, advocating for children with diabetes. I am hoping to get back into my advocacy work for abused and neglected children as well.

  5. Patti I have always been so impressed with your energy and willingness to help. The play must have been so difficult. But Thank You. And NO
    feels good now.

    Let's say yes to dinner soon.

  6. Terry, I guess the moral of the story is that there's always room in the schools for someone with energy and skills. They will find a place for you! And how rewarding to have raised a son who can assume this position! Good job!

  7. Linda: I remember like it was yesterday the grown-up kids who came to speak at our strategic planning meeting. I can't believe my little boy is one of them now. Bittersweet.