Thursday, April 7, 2016

Be an Advocate for Your Children (and wear cute shoes)

A couple of weeks ago, I received a short, vague letter from my children's school district stating that both of my very young children would be receiving education on some sensitive subject matters (state law). What the letter did not state was everything that I wanted to know: who will be teaching this information to my children? Exactly what are you planning to say? Will you allow children to ask questions in front of each other? When will this take place? Will my child be required to make this up if he or she is absent that day?

It didn't take long for me to get all of the answers, and I was invited to review the lesson plan and books. After reviewing the materials, discussing the lesson at length, and talking with our school's vice principal, my husband and I agreed that I would be present for the lesson (rather than keeping our child home that morning, which we strongly considered).

I got up extra early that morning and put on Sunday-Go-to-Meeting make-up. I slipped into a cute outfit that I had taken great pains to choose and iron earlier that week. Jewelry. Perfume. Matching purse. Shoes that pinch my toes a little but work perfectly with the outfit. Nails done? Of course.

As I was applying mascara, I had a bit of deja vu: that was the second time that week that I had dressed up to this degree. What was the other time again? Oh, yes--it was for my son's visit to the pediatrician that Monday.

Y'all, I'm not fooling anyone. The first time I met this pediatrician, I was sitting up in a hospital bed with a nursing gown bunched around my waist and a how-the-heck-do-I-do-this look on my feverish, poofy face. And the people at the school? Well, they've seen me in the drop-off and pick-up lines wearing my snuggly $7 fleece jacket and a Mommy bun. These people know the real Andrea, and she doesn't wear mascara every day.

But when it comes time to speak up for my children, I speak up. And I dress up.

The pediatrician appointment was just a check-up--but these days, pediatricians don't just check for anemia and scoliosis. I was asked to complete a three-page document on my son's eating habits, TV habits, and social status. I have the utmost respect for this doctor, thankfully, and I know that he's fairly confident that we're not handling snakes at our house. But my confidence goes up when I have a sassy outfit on. My credibility does too. In this day and age of diagnosing every quirky behavior as a medical issue, I was prepared to say, if necessary, "You check his bod, and I'll discipline his character."

Same goes with the school. We've been blessed with two years of talented teachers who know how to keep young, energetic (ahem--WILD) children engaged and motivated. I've been dazzled by the information my children spout off on a daily basis, and for the most part, they can't wait to get to school on Monday morning. But when staff members that I haven't met yet are told that they have to teach touchy info to a room full of first graders--including mine--then once again, I have to be prepared to speak up: "You teach him to read, and I'll teach him to read the Bible."

We're at the very beginning of the school years, and we've had moments of wishing that we had the funds for our children to attend a Christian school. Thankfully, our public school is filled with Christian teachers. But the school still answers to the district, which is controlled by various state laws.

I want them to stay out of my parenting circle. In return, I'll stay out of their teaching circle. I'm not one to get too fussy about Common Core verses--well . . . whatever the alternative is. My young children are already great readers, and they're not too shabby with basic math either. They're excited about learning, and that's a testament to the talents of their teachers.

I understand that the state wants to protect children--but in their efforts to fill the gaps of shaky family units, my job is to ensure that they don't steal the innocence that my husband and I have vowed to protect. I'll speak up about this when the need arises. And I'll accessorize.


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