I'm pretty cautious. I rarely make sweeping declarations of grand intentions. I'm not usually a heat-of-the-moment-make-a-grand-promise person. I'm calculated. Careful. When I do resolve to do something big, new, or special, I keep it to myself and work on it a bit before the announcement comes out. (I don't like to fail!)
However, I made a life decision a few weeks ago and I'm going to publish it here and make it official. 'Cause I still feel passionate about it and don't want to lose the fire. Now I'm accountable.
From here on out, I want to be an involved parent; maybe even the slightly annoying, super involved parent. I want to serve on committees and boards and volunteer. I want to give of my time and show my children how important it is to contribute efforts to their school, their church, and their community. I want to show them that it's desirable to spend time doing a good job on a task even if you don't get a paycheck for it. I want to demonstrate the delayed gratification that comes... or may never come... from doing something for the good of the cause. In order to be as involved as I want to be, I will need time. Time that might not be available if I go back to work full time. And I decided that, if it comes to it, I want to be the parent who gives time to the volunteer efforts instead of time in a job.
Because, you see, parents these days have to work a lot. And that 40+ hours a week sucks a lot of energy and, well, time. Not everyone can volunteer. If I worked 40 hours a week and had two kids to raise, plus maybe a commute, a household to maintain, and a marriage to enjoy, I couldn't give a lot of time. I know a woman who does all those things and volunteers everywhere and I think she's better than Superwoman. I know myself and I know that I couldn't do it.
For me, in my new resolution, I want to give of my time instead of getting a big paycheck. Not everyone can make that choice but I think maybe we can do it. My husband - bless that wonderful man - is on board, too.
This new passion arose in a recent committee meeting at church. I'm on our board of education and we were discussing how our Sunday School attendance is abysmally low. Furthermore, we had a horrible time finding people to volunteer to teach Sunday School this year. Our discussion of these concerns led into a frustrating vent about the lack of parental involvement in the public schools, also. One parent said that in an elementary school of 400 children, only three parents were involved in the PTA.
I'd like to think that the issue is that parents are simply busy and don't have time to be involved. But the more I think about my past experiences with parents and being involved, the sadder I get at the parental complacency. Many - though, thankfully, not all - parents seem to be satisfied with their lackluster contributions to the world, unaware of the deficiencies that exist: unaware that their time and talents are useful and needed! So few people seem to give to the good of the cause, or contribute their time and talents.
Now, of course, parents can't do everything and give to everything and be everywhere. If my husband and I can continue to make it work, I want to be the parent who picks up the slack of parents who simply don't have the time to be on the PTA or be a field trip chaperon or serve on committees.
The trick for me will be righting my heart and always remembering that I'm involved and volunteering because of the lessons I want to teach my children and the way I want to contribute to the community. I must never become bitter at all the work I'd be doing while other seemingly complacent parents refrained from involvement. After all, that would be a terrible lesson to teach my children! I want them to see how it's important to give and contribute, even when it feels like you're the only one who cares.
So, my new resolution is still a passionate desire. I still have some attitude adjusting to take care of as a precautionary measure. But I'm pretty sure I'm okay with leaving a full-time job by the wayside; besides, I love my part-time gig. I think I will be okay if my reputation evolves to be, "Ah, just ask Amanda, she'll do it." I think I can make the time. I think I can, I think I can, and I know I want to.
And now it's official!
What are your experiences with parental involvement?
Let Me Start By Saying...
19 hours ago