Monday, February 10, 2014


Local county schools missed an entire week of classes last week due to ice and snow. According to Facebook posts by the parents...

Day 1 was fun.

Day 2 was blue.

Day 3:  the situation was no longer fun or funny or anything like amusing.

Day 4:  the parents were asking for drugs.

Day 5:  many of them were babbling on-line incoherently.

I'm sure everyone is very happy that school is finally back in session today. I thought I could hear the exhale of a thousand-thousand sighs of relief when I stepped out on the front porch this morning.

I'm sure the stress and frustration and exhaustion these parents felt last week was not because they don't like their kids. I'm sure that, in most families, it wasn't because the kids were absolute hellions the entire time they were home from school.

I suspect the frazzled nerves, tense neck muscles, dark circles under the eyes, and incoherent babbling were caused mostly by the the radical change in the normal daily routine. These parents were having to use muscles they didn't know they had.

(I attended a pilates class last week for the first time ever. I loved it! But that workout absolutely kicked my patootie. I walked around for three days feeling like I'd been kicked in the stomach, wincing every time I bent over, stood up, or sat down. Ouch! My muscles had been called upon to put out in a way they were completely unaccustomed to, and, yes, it was a little stressful.)

Which got me to thinking.....


Why in the name of Sam Houston do our public schools control and define nearly everything about our lives and how we operate as families?

Why do they determine how much time is "normal" for parents to, well, to parent? An hour in the morning, a couple of hours in the evening (maybe, if there isn't a mountain of homework or ball practice). Any more than that and, parents, you'd better look out - you are not going to be able to handle it. The stress is going to get you. The school calendar is making us moms and dads into a bunch of weenies!

Why does the school system tell us when we can go on vacation, or go visit Grandma in another state? Sorry, folks, we have to make up snow days. You're not going to be able to make it to Cousin Susie's wedding. You'll just have to adjust your plans...

Why does it tell us how to spend our weekends? Cheer competition, band fund-raiser, football practice...aren't weekends supposed to be free time? A break from the demands of school?

Why does school tell us when and how we can worship? Not during the playoffs. Not when we have a meet out-of-town. Not when a college scholarship is on the line. Like ANY of those things can hold a candle to God Almighty. (Read Al Mohler's thoughts about The New American Religion HERE.)

I suppose this rant may seem strange coming from a mom who has lived pretty much 24-7 with seven children (and only 11 years difference between the oldest and youngest) for more years than she can count. A mom who doesn't cancel school when the weather is bad, although we do miss school occasionally when the weather is beautiful - Mom can't resist the urge to get out in the sunshine.

What I'm trying to say is...have you and your kids been rolling along in the family Conestoga, and then suddenly, you look up, and it's not Dad and Mom driving the wagon anymore but some entity known as "school"? Parents, are you - like me - wondering:  "What in the heck is going on here?!" Does it not strike you as odd that so many moms and dads were freaking out on Facebook last week because they were suddenly aware, in a somewhat painful way, of the amazing reality that they had kids and the kids were their own to feed and discipline and occupy in some productive way?

I'm not writing this to bash parents who choose public school over homeschooling - homeschooling is definitely NOT for everyone! No, what I really want to do is to encourage all parents to jump in with both feet and parent with vigor. Engage you mind and your muscles. Strengthen your parenting abs. Don't let a few snow days take you down!

Remember, YOU are the mom. YOU are the dad. YOU are the one responsible for driving the family Conestoga. Jump up there, grab those reins, and get ready for an exciting ride!

1 comment:

Jessica said...

It reminds of the line in It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, "And moms and dads can hardly wait for school to start again." I think we all have good and bad weeks (or weekends) with our children. There are some Mondays that I am more than happy to relinquish the care of my child to someone else (I have my own hangups obviously) and other Mondays where it is physically painful to be separated from my child. It just shows how much grace we need to parent, to care, and to love these children.