Thank you, parents

Do-bug and I stopped by her school’s graduation ceremony this morning.

I figured we wouldn’t last the entire time.  And we didn’t.  But I’m glad we went for the first 30 minutes because we were introduced to an extraordinary concept on which I have not had much thought:

After the students solemnly and sweetly marched in, the head of school thanked their parents.  She sincerely thanked them, and then asked them all to stand as she named them one by one.  It was a public acknowledgement that schools produce great students not just because of their teachers, curriculum, resources, and dedication, but because parents are choosing to actively participate in the education of their children.  So they were thanked.

Years ago, when I worked at Chicago Children’s Museum, I remember a day when one of the VPs (she’s now CEO) reminded us that we all needed to remember that even though we want parents to be engaged in their children’s day, we should be thankful that they took the step to bring them.  Because taking your child to a museum, or any cultural event, is an important participatory choice in and of itself.  Our next step is to engage them, but let us first remember that they have made a good choice by being here.

But I don’t recall ever saying to a parent, “Thank you for bringing your child.  This is a good strong choice you have made for the benefit of your child.”  Her comment simply made me want to forgive the parents who sat on benching with their eyes glazed over as their children explored the exhibits.

And here she was, standing in front of the school and thanking each parent for simply being a parent.  I, too, felt appreciated as a parent because although my child has only just finished kindergarten, it is safe to assume that this school acknowledges my worth too.

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