The students stand proudly on the stage anticipating their turn at the microphone. Typically it is the captain or co-captain of the team that speaks. He/she offers thanks to the coach and highlights the season the coach and team has had together. Then, bursting with pride and eagerness, they hand over the carefully handled coach’s gift. But wait, where did that gift come from? An unassuming parent has taken the time to collect money from the team members and has made the effort to pick out a gift. No credit given for that effort.
This evening I’m thinking about the unsung heroes of parents with school-age children. At our last awards banquet I sat there enjoying the evening and watching the athletes from all the teams participating in this ritual of the coach’s gift. Suddenly I felt a great appreciation for the parents who managed all those gifts. Typically, it’s the same parents always ending up with the duty. One of the parents had actually rounded up four coach’s gifts! And, she works full time. When I thanked her for her effort she responded with a smile on her face, “It’s my pleasure”. And, she meant it.
Parents are often called to duty, even well into secondary school. Besides the travel, carpooling, and cheering on at sporting events, there is still the need to be aware of a child’s academic progress. As students move from MS into HS and into IB level classes, the responsibility definitely shifts. At the MS level, there are parents who check homework or sit with a child to ensure completion of or better quality of assignments. In HS the support turns to more monitoring and reminding, except when supplies are needed for projects. However, sometimes more involvement is required. And many parents are there, steadily standing by their child, finding the best way to help that child succeed.
Some parents need to attend additional meetings with teachers, tutors, or entire learning support teams, often hearing messages that might be discouraging or might seem overwhelming. However, they listen. They offer input. They share personal experiences. They consider their options. They participate in learning plans. They find ways to build their child and constructively help that child to improve learning behaviors.
As another year comes to a close, I applaud all you parents out there! Thank you for caring! Thank you for working on your child’s behalf. Thank you for communicating. Thank you for checking my web site. Thank you for checking PowerSchool. Thank you for being there! Thank you for all you do for your children and often for others as well.