I’ve been trying, really trying to let things go. This has been good for my mental health, but bad for blogging. Currently, I hate back to school season. I hate the asking for the money. Back to school night is a giant waste of time. Nothing like some good bile to start the school year off right.
What’s currently cheesing me off is this cute trend of “homework for parents.” I’m calling it a trend because I got two things, and that is enough to irritate me. In case you’re not up on “the trends”, here’s what goes down.
Your child hands you a piece of paper. “It’s homework for you dad.”
It starts off easy enough. Sometimes there’s a cutesy introduction. “Tee hee, sorry there you Grown Up Person but here’s a homework assignment for you, don’t copy from your kids LOL ”
Teachers today talk in emoji. This does not concern me in the least.
Then there’s some basic demographic information. I’m trying to be a better dad, so I put in my own cell phone number instead of my wife’s like I’ve done every year for 10 years running. LOOK OUT, DAD OF THE YEAR COMING THROUGH.
Hmm… phone number… email… Tinder profile… Wait a second, what kind of relationship are we forming here? My understanding of the social contract involved is I pay my taxes which pays for the public school system, albeit barely, you do your best to teach my kids something they don’t know, and also you get summers off. I think I get the better end of this deal, particularly because my children think anyone over 10 is an idiot, so good luck with THAT.
I do not like where this is going. Oh wait, what’s this… “Tell me something about your child’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Oh you you don’t, sucka.
Snitches get stitches.
Find out their weaknesses on your own- I’m hoarding my hard earned knowledge of their psyche like a college freshman hiding cases of Natural Light in their dorm room.
Can you imagine this situation as an adult? “Hi honey, I had a great first day of work. Can you fill out this survey for my boss? He wants to know my weaknesses. Can you please just tell him ‘chocolate’ like we did at the last job?” “Sure dear, I’ll keep your near-crippling insecurities to myself.”
I get it, I’m supposed to be an involved parent and want the best education for my child. If I tell the teacher little Johnny is a little nervous in front of groups, the teacher is supposed to do something with this knowledge, either boost up little Johny or shelter him. I think both options are, at best, misguided and at worst, harmful.
I am beginning to understand why people start to get more conservative as they get older. Mostly because I am getting more and more convinced that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Sure, it seems harmless, even caring to tell a teacher your kid is a little shy. But in doing so I’m robbing the child of a chance to be not shy, to be unlabelled, to re-invent themselves. To start over.
No, I’m sorry Mr. Teacher. You get to experience my child as a stranger, and my child gets to practice being a person. Their insecurities are theirs to tell you as they see fit. There is no user’s manual for my child, no instruction book, and I’m not going to write one for you. Not because I don’t care, but because I do.
Today’s guest post comes via Mrs. Nostrikethat and the antics of Howling Mad Murdoch. I have to preface this story by pointing out that the little guy attends what some people might call a “Posh” private preschool. It’s the kind of place where the drop-off line is full of Lexus and Mercedes SUVs with stickers on them exorbitantly-priced private high schools. It’s the kind of place, for example, one might send one’s child when one inherits a miniscule sum of money from a distant relative and decides that relative might have wished it go to further an education, instead of going towards boxes o’ wine. It’s all very precious and we are generally pretty amused by the whole scene.
For the second year in a row, I am celebrating the new year in September. This has three big advantages: I beat the inevitable crush of New Year’s blog posts from other writers, the weather is better, and there are far fewer drunks. It’s like going to a beach town in the off-season…
Thanks to the miracles of the Internet I don’t have to vaguely allude to what my goals were last year- instead I can dissect them with all of the verve and enthusiasm of a squeamish middle-schooler gutting a frog. Time to jump into the Wayback machine!