I survived Parent Teacher Conference last night.
As a parent, I go out of respect. I know the poor teacher has to be there, and she’s amazing. As a teacher, I’m sad dragging parents across six towns to wait in line for ten minutes with me. They worked a long day. I’d rather have coffee and actually talk.
At Declan’s conference, I cut right to the chase, “My kid’s smart, using his intellect for evil, and needs to pay attention.” Except for the “evil” I’d say the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. Say it like it is, I’m not offended. No fluff. I’m not a competitive parent.
Parents, I’ve noticed, need to compete, but we don’t like to say we’re competing. We want our kid to be the best and brightest in the world. The future doctor, lawyer, president, head of the World Bank.
That competition should be right out into the open, parent-to-parent. Let’s have parent contests.
“Hey, buddy, I challenge you for the ‘My kid’s awesome’ bumper sticker on your minivan. Let’s arm wrestle, or play one-on-one hoops. I’ll decimate you.”
We’ll all go home and do pushups to prepare.
But that’s not cool, so we brag subtly. “My kid’s an all-star (insert sport here). I noticed yours plays left bench quite effectively.”
Mine isn’t an all-star. Declan’s working on matching the correct sports to the balls. He kicks basketballs, which makes me cringe. It’s going to be a long season for that coach. We waiting for our call telling us which team we “made.” No sports bragging here.
“My kid read more books than your kid.” He (translate: me) logged more books on the log sheet. I don’t care how many books a kid reads. Number of children’s books viewed is not an accurate measure of reading.
“I read a hundred thousand one-page books which had descriptions longer than the actual text and pictures that took up 97.5% of the page.” Seven thousand books? For a grand total of six pages. Nope, I’m not logging that. As much as I love children’s authors and illustrators.
Read Dostoyevsky. Then we’ll talk. Our log says, “We read Seuss and the dino book AGAIN.”
No award for me. Or him. No competitive spirit. Only fun reading about dinos.
He’s a good kid, despite the fact that when I walked into the school, everyone in the main office from the Principal to the two secretaries said, “Oh, Declan’s mom!” That’s okay. Being on a first-name basis with the principal by grade one gives us special treatment. There’s something we can win. I can say, “My kid’s the captain of the detention club.” Maybe he’ll get his own chair in the front office and he’ll get to run his own school. That’s something most parents don’t get to say.
No, I’m not a competitive parent. I’m a realist. I enjoyed the ten-minutes of honesty at the conference, came home, and took Declan off my computer where he was busy previewing the Sci-fi movies I’m showing in my class today. Seems he “forgot” to tell me he got “in the red.” Red is not good.
I relaxed with a nice cup of tea. I have time, because I’m not driving my kid around to horseback riding, soccer, ballet, basketball, gymnastics, piano, ski club and 4H. We’ll pick one or two things. Maybe he’ll be great, maybe he’ll just have fun. I’ll celebrate a blue ribbon or trophy or two. Mostly, we’ll just learn about life, people, fun, fitness, and make a few good friendships, I hope.
Competition only stresses me out. I’ll leave that for others.