Here is some information that I don’t quite think some parents understand. You child’s educator is a Mother F*cking Christmas Warrior.
From Thanksgiving break to Christmas Break, a school becomes a giant exercise in learning about transitions.
Think about it. Every one sucks at transitions.
Moving sucks, divorce is hard, leaving your job, grief, becoming a parent…
Any turning point at your life, even if it’s for the very best. Becomes a wave of emotions to navigate. There is always some yelling and crying wedged in any of these life turning points.
So now here are your beautiful children. So fresh. So naive.
Things like taking a break from their regular scheduled school week. Might seem like nothing to you.
But learning how to adapt to change is a skill that all smart people learn throughout the years. It’s not something we always come with pre programed.
Teachers are trying to guide students through this.
Maybe one kid is thinking about this being the first Christmas since his parents divorce.
Maybe one girl knows that Christmas break means her Mom being tanked the entire holiday cause her sister died this year.
Maybe one kid will miss having lunch at school cause sometimes he doesn’t get lunch at home.
When Little Harold is stressed he doesn’t come in and say to his teacher, “Mrs. Jones, I’m really worried about the upcoming holidays. The stress of not knowing if I’lll see my Dad or not is making me feel sick, confused, and agitated.”
Harold comes in. He picks up a bunch of rocks and throws them in Marcos face at recess. He refuses to stand in line. He calls you a bitch when you send him to the principals office.
I know this to be true, because I was once Harold.
By the time I was 17 years old, my Mom was a functioning alcoholic and my Dad was trying to divorce her. He was currently living with our 27 year old neighbor.
So were times awesome? Not particularly.
But Britt, how did you turn out to be such a strong, happy, well adjusted adult?
Glad you asked.
It was from coaches and teachers who took an interest in me.
Basketball gave me consistency. It gave me a coach who always showed up. It gave me a lot of laughing and friendship.
My junior year we went 22-2. Went to the Mass State tournament.
My senior year, one week into my senior season they fired my basketball coach.
Now, my once fun happy family is troubled. I am raging hormonal teen. Now you just fucked up the one thing I love.
Saying something weird and ridiculous like, it’s because he ran practices in the off season.
Was there times we all played pick up at the courts throughout the year. You bet. Please know that this giant community basketball court would have the girls varsity team, the JV coaches wife and entire small herd of his children, younger sisters who played in the middle school league, The women’s gym teacher at the high school.
So if you are upset that we all used to play basketball together on Sunday mornings. Well, I hate to break it to you, but stuff like that saved me.
I couldn’t have identified that at the time.
Maybe that wasn’t the reason they fired him? Maybe I wasn’t really told the whole story because I was a kid? Even though I was definitely the type of kid who needed to be told it straight.
Either way, I was… displeased by this turn of events.
The principal showed up in a matching windbreaker jumpsuit to run practice the following evening.
I decide in my mind I need to light him on fire.
Well, long story short. I mouthed off to that man in front of the entire cafeteria so articulately that he turned around and started walking up the hallway. Threw a lunch tray like an angry frisbee. It bounced off the walls of terrible art projects. Then he let out a “uuughhhhhhhahhhh!”
I don’t even think I got in trouble for any of those events. He was just like, “get her away from me.”
I laugh to myself typing out that story. 1. because its 100% true. and 2. because I can’t even believe that girl was me.
You get to grow up.
You get to make better decisions every single day.
The point is, the reasons I got there is because of teachers who spent time with me. Coaches that pushed me.
Because of them, none of that had to be my story. They helped me moved forward. Hired me to work at camps. Drove the team to basketball camp. Wrote me late passes when I would cry in their classroom for a bit and then regroup before going where I needed to go.
It’s great that you are a parent and your kids learn from you. But remember the other positive adult role models they meet along the way will be able to teach them a lot!
Just don’t forget to take time to say you appreciate someone.
I’m not telling you to buy your kids teacher a giant gift.
I’m saying.. Have your kids make a card for the teacher. Give them 10$ to Dunkin Donuts. Bake them something. Give them a poinsettia. A bottle of wine if you have moved onto that level of friendship.
“Just wanted to say I appreciate what you do for my kid.”
It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Teachers, coaches, troop leaders, piano teachers, dojo masters, whoever takes their time to improve your kid!
Small gestures go A LONG way in the profession of working with children.
Don’t Forget to LOVE your kids teacher this holiday season.