What A Kid Can Teach Us

Thursday, February 9, 2012
Over the last eight weeks, I have been a part of a committee aimed at making school boundary change recommendations to the school board due to a few overcrowded schools and the opening of a new junior high.  As one can imagine, this is naturally an emotional topic.  At least it was for me when I entered.  And then I was educated and enlightened and realized how fortunate I am to have good schools, transportation to those schools, good teachers and good staff.  Don't get me wrong; I'm well aware of the percentage of my taxes that goes to public schools and so to some degree, I expect that.  However, I am not entitled to have my children attend one school over another, nor do I think I could even rank schools on a scale of desirability, as they are all quite good.

Enduring meeting after meeting with at least 200 community members voicing opinions and (often) scrutinizing and criticizing our work has not led me to cower and further dislike confrontation.  Instead, it has motivated me to be a vocal proponent for level-headed thinking, open-mindedness and positivity. 

While I fully believe that vocalizing opinions and concerns is vital and imperative when making such a decision, let it be known that there are some people out there who are good at doing this with finesse and wisdom, and there are some who rant and rave.  Truth be told, logical minds don't hear the latter nearly as much as the former.

I completely understand that some people do not like the scenario that is being painted.  It was definitely a position of choosing the best of the less-than-desirable options.  But, in my opinion, those parents had an amazing life lesson teachable moment that they failed miserably.  They could have educated themselves on the process, and, yes, voiced their opinions, but then embraced the probable outcome and clung to the positive points that will surface from this change.  And they could have shown their children that THAT is how you react to adversity in life.  Because there are larger obstacles in life than having your whole elementary school attend a brand new middle school that, yes, may be farther from your home than your current middle school.  Much larger obstacles. 

My children are possibly changing elementary schools.  While this would mean moving to the more logical school that is close to our home, it is change nonetheless.  Paige caught wind of this possibility and confronted me about it.  She was emotional at the thought of switching initially.  I acknowledged that this is understandable.  Transition is never the most fun.  Then I focused on new and different things that this new school would bring.  A direct quote from her, "You know, I'd be happy staying at [current school], but I think [new school] would be pretty cool too."  Time elapsed: 10 minutes.  My 9-year old grappled with change and her perception of adversity and rose above it in 10 minutes.  I'm not suggesting she is superhuman.  I AM suggesting that kids can do this.  And they are pretty good at it.  But not quite as good if they have parents with preconceived notions holding them back.


Suzanne said...

Good for Paige! We had a similar situation last year here. Our area is very vocal. When cuts were made, our area went from 2 middle schools down to one (never mind that the rest of the areas in our school district had been down to 1 per area for a long time now). I swear the parents cared more than the kids did.

Renay said...

SO well written and SO right! I can't imagine serving on that committee so thanks for taking on that task for the rest of us! I couldn't agree more about the way communications happen (logical & educated vs. ranting and raving). I too wish those parents had not missed a teachable moment. If all stands as proposed, I hope they re-evaluate and do just that! Can we publish your blog post in the community patch?! :):) You go girl!

Jamie said...

Great post, sis!

Lavonne said...

OMG, Karen! This post was absolutely fabulous!! I am so proud of your involvement in the boundary change process and even more proud of your mature, level-headed and open-minded approach to the problem! You clearly "get it" and the rest of the Oswego School District residents are SO lucky to have you on the committee!! You go girl! I'm in awe!!

Post a Comment