Friday, November 29, 2013

Year 4: Week 13 – Understand Parents As A Parent

What’s the big deal?

This week I was part of a 5th grade evening presentation and the 3rd graders Thanksgiving assembly. One of the questions that parents often ask me at these events is where they can sit to get the best view of their child.

Is it that important that you have the in the optimal seat to see your kid speak two lines into a microphone?

Before Ollie entered my life, I didn’t quite understand what was going on here.  I love my kids and they do a great job (of course, I mean they are MY students), but it’s not like these are professional production. Are you really going to re-watch this thing? Do you really think that other people want to see these videos?

Well, after video recording almost ever possible activity Ollie has done from turning over to breathing and showing these videos to people who probably don’t care (but are too nice to tell me so), I'm beginning to understand what is going on here.

I’ve always made an effort to empathize with the parents of my students. Sometimes when they ask for advice on child-rearing, I attempt to give them some perspective. Even though I’ve studied child-development and watching all of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I often feel unqualified to speak to parents about their children.

This year my interactions with parents have felt different. First off, I have received an overwhelming amount of enthusiasm and interest in Ollie from the parent population at my school. They ask me about Ollie and respond with baby stories about their own children. Some of these stories are humorous and others are poignant.

In one conversation with a parent I was talking about how Ollie loves being on his stomach. This mother proceeded to tell me about how much her daughter disliked being on her stomach. When I asked this kid about what her mom said, she told about other struggles she had as a child. While she initially seemed annoyed at the fact that her mother had to told me about her as a baby, it ended up being a very personal and meaningful conversation.

I’ve been putting kids on stage to perform for their parents for the past 8 years and this past week when I looked out into the audience I noticed something for the first time. Instead of simply seeing a sea of smart phones and waving parents I saw in the parents’ eyes a familiar look.

It’s the look that I see in Diana whenever she greets Ollie after being away. It’s the light in her smile when Ollie interacts with her and does something cute. Seeing this energy and love projected at children on stage is one of the most heartwarming things I have every seen in my life.

Parents, I think I'm starting to get it.  

No comments:

Post a Comment