>Turning a Blind Eye…Or Not.


I’ve always been pretty laid back and liberal in my parenting. I’m sure many would feel that I’m too casual or too straightforward. I certainly have times where I realized that things have slipped from my lips that I probably should’ve held back. I try not to beat myself up too much about this stuff, and just try to focus on controlling my loud, Italian mouth.

Granted, the first time I ever saw Jack use a piece of train track as a gun (I believe he was two) I was horrified. I spent hours trying to figure out where he would’ve learned that. We didn’t really watch TV, we didn’t have video games, and if we were watching movies, they were basically art films, and certainly nothing violent. I just couldn’t understand and I was so upset. Years later I asked a friend (who’s son and Jack used to play together) if they had the same issue when their boy was little. Thankfully she said they had a similar situation and were equally confused and upset by it. I felt a lot better about the whole thing then.

Since then I’ve come to terms with the fact that Jack loves to pretend everything is a light saber and he wants to be a bounty hunter. He comes to roller derby with us, he’s seen movies like Iron Man and others that certainly have elements to them I’m sure most parents would wince at. However, I know my child and know his heart and attitude towards real violence and aggression, and I don’t worry about him watching these things. Granted, I still have limits, but they are a bit further out than a lot of parents I’ve encountered.

Ok, so now I will try to get to my point….I feel weird suddenly voicing my opinion and seeming “conservative” about something, especially when others may see otherwise. I’m referring to things at Jack’s school. Overall, I like the people I know there. They are friendly, caring, genuinely care about the kids, and are supportive. I’m fortunate enough to even know the Superintendent, and he’s a great guy. The problem is more the system, than the people working within it.

There are just things that come up that are “normal” but they really bother me. For instance, they have these buckets that they get to put little sticks in if they are good. And if they aren’t good, they have to remove sticks. At the beginning of the year, I thought this was so clever. Now, I’m not above bribing, I’ll admit to that, but what happens with kids who just grow to not care about those buckets (cough, cough, Jack, cough)? I think he just realizes it isn’t that important to get lots of sticks and to then trade those sticks for small, cheap prizes. I will also admit that if I had this system in Kindergarten, I would’ve been all over it, because I’m a chronic teacher’s pet.

Plus, he “meets” his standards but he’s also going to a different teacher for a few minutes each day for extra reading help. I was fine with that, especially since he’s been doing well with reading stuff now at home. We also hadn’t heard anything from the school to lead us to believe that he was struggling with that too, in fact we were under the impression that it was going well. Then, on this separate “report card” it said he was doing average. I truly don’t have a problem with “average” but it’s weird that we were informed he still struggles with some letters and with his sight words. What gets me is the fact that at home, he doesn’t have these problems. He does have the occasional “brain fart” (don’t we all?) but overall, he can shout them out super fast. I mean, if the “special” reading class isn’t even helping, why bother shuffling him around each day? Plus, right now the kids don’t realize why certain kids are going to different rooms during the day, but certainly they will in a few years, and then he’ll be labeled as “slow” or “stupid.”

Ugghhh…ok I’m rambling. What I’m trying to say is that I hate to be the “whiny” parent, but I don’t want to compromise what I believe in for the sake of “well that’s just the way it is.” I used to want to change the system as a teacher “on the inside” until I realized that it’s really just not possible. Not that there aren’t great teachers, but they are still great teachers within a system.

I’ll just end with the lyrics to one of my most favorite songs, “Knowledge” by Op Ivy:

I know that things are getting tougher
When you can’t get the top off from the bottom of the barrel.
Wide open road of my future now… It’s looking fucking narrow.
All I know is that I don’t know
All I know is that I don’t know nothing
We get told to decide
Just like as if I’m not gonna change my mind.
All I know is that I don’t know
All I know is that I don’t know nothing
Whatcha gonna do with yourself,
Boy better make up your mind.
Whatcha gonna do with yourself boy,
You’re running out of time.
This time I got it all figured out
All I know is that I don’t know
All I know is that I don’t know nothing
And that’s fine


2 thoughts on “>Turning a Blind Eye…Or Not.

  1. fitncrafty

    >Hang in there Erika, What I have found with 3 kids in an imperfect system is that some years will be great and some will not be so great. On the positive side of it, I look at it as I look at my adult life. Some people we encounter whether at work or socially, we will connect with and some will have ways that we don't 'bond' with so much. We learn to do what we need to do despite personalities.The best thing that you can do for yourself and Jack is continue to be the super loving parent you are, enhance his reading, learning, life with what you can do. Next year will be a different teacher and it will be amazing how different he will react to it.I could tell you stories (but not here) about how different my kids have appeared on paper (from school report cards) from year to year with different teachers.


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