|Mark's first day at the beach - Wildwood, NJ|
Last week, my wife and I were out to dinner talking about how much we'd learned as rookie parents this year, as our little Mark is nearing 10 months old.
Before we had a child, as educators, we both heard over and over from parents and teachers in our respective schools that "we wouldn't understand because we weren't parents yet." -- What did this mean we asked ourselves? I think there is a way to say that to others without sounding condescending, but looking back, I do believe there is some truth to some of those words.
Below are 10 thoughts through the lens of a parent that I'm now bringing to school with me each day. These ideas encourage me to be a better listener for my families, my staff and help me see through multiple perspectives during certain situations.
- For my parents and teachers who get up with their infants throughout the night, then head off to work all day, you deserve a medal - what can I do to support you better?
- No one will ever know your child like their parents.
- Just to get the child in bed last night, up this morning and fed was incredibly exhausting. Please forgive me for forgetting to sign something.
- The snack my child is eating may not be the most nutritious, but he will eat it and his/her tummy will be full. (I wish he would eat the broccoli too)
- I understand this is how you did it with your child kid, but this is how we're choosing to do it with ours.
- If you want my child to be actively engaged, start with learning what he/she enjoys doing when he/she is not with you.
- Yes I realize my child is three months behind on this but he/she is three months ahead on that... lets focus on what he/she can do.
- My child's home life is night & day from school life. Ask us how we are successful at home. Work with us.
- Since our child was three months old he has been grabbing for our devices. As a teacher, please use this enthusiasm and curiosity to your advantage. Build your own capacity by learning from today's kids who already speak technology.
- I love my child more than anything on this earth. Remember that each and every time you interact with my child and/or his/her family. Would you teach/talk to/talk about my child the same way if his parents were in the room?
Kindergarten registration is still a ways off, but as parents we're already nervous about what his education, teachers and school will offer him to meet his needs, push his strengths and how they will welcome our support from home. One thing is for sure, we want school to be an extension of the home and vice versa. Even as a new parent, I know that will be easiest for him to flourish in life and in school. Becoming a parent has no doubt helped me to become a better educator and school leader, as well as a better person. The learning is endless.
Special thanks to those in my PLN who have offered parental support over the past year to us rookie parents. We're learning so much, and parenting truly is an exciting ride. Finally, wish a special congratulations to Tom Murray and family, who just welcomed their baby boy Caden into this world.