Friday, March 18, 2011

Knowing When to Say When

For all my talk about being calm and reasonable even I have moments of stupid paranoia and mama bear defensiveness.

We went to Dude's parent/teacher interview last night. We were running late, the kids were a little nutty and Dude was stressed about the meeting so he was slightly random, obsessive and difficult to reason with. I was annoyed by the ordeal that it was to leave the house that evening and instead of dealing with that issue, I channelled my frustration into my thoughts regarding the report card. I was genuinely confused by the vague comments in the report card and by how the grading system worked but I allowed my confusion to morph into misdirected irritation. So to say I wasn't in the best frame of mind when I entered the school is an understatement.

Thankfully, the resource teacher was standing in the front hall when we arrived. She asked about his report card and I 'expressed' (or spewed) my frustrations. She listened and calmly reminded me that we discussed much of what was in the report during an earlier meeting. She was very rational and very right in everything she said and it annoyed me. For some crazy reason I wanted to be annoyed, I was geared up and ready to defend my kid, even though it was completely unnecessary.

The resource teacher offered to come to the meeting with us and I accepted. As we walked down the hall to Dude's class I took a deep breath, counted to ten and exhaled. I reminded myself to trust the staff and to relax, not every meeting needs to be a struggle. I told myself that I was behaving like a crazy person and I agreed.

Anyway, the meeting was terrific. All my angst was for nothing. It was a shadow habit from past experiences of trying to get staff to understand the extent of Dude's needs. These people, the current staff at this school, may not know everything but they are honestly trying to really know my kid and help him to succeed ... and I have to get out of their way.

Sometimes we get so used to duking things out on the behalf of our kids we don't even recognize when teachers are on the ball, engaged and working well with our kids. It's like that old Kenny Roger's song, you have to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. As a parent you need to know when to say when, know when you need to step in and when you need to step out of the way. And if you have done your job right, if you have a good working relationship with the school and you have good communication with your kid, stepping back should be as easy as exhaling.

I think we may safely trust a good deal more than we do. ~Henry David Thoreau

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