Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Letter From Your Youth Leader

Dear Parent,

Tonight's troop meeting/youth outing/soccer practice is not one hour of free babysitting.  Please do us the courtesy of at least walking your child in and making eye contact with the other adults in the room - do you even know who is entertaining your child for this hour? 

Stick around and hear the details about Saturday's trip to the zoo.  Don't rely on your nine year old's ability to recite the information.  Isn't she the same child who can't remember to bring home her homework every night?  I tried sending notes but I think they're stuck to last week's homework that you never saw.  Otherwise you would have known to bring $2 for lunch and no I can't accept a personal check.

Hey, better yet, hang around and offer a helping hand!  Can you at least help sweep up after our craft activity?  Or maybe offer to be one of the chaperones for the trip to the zoo?  I know Mary over there has an animal look in her eye, hoping to lure you into helping with the cookie committee, but stay over here, Mary is crazy.  Mary has been doing this for fifteen years and her kids have long since dropped out.  We don't want you to turn into Mary. 

Start low and slow.  Set your boundaries and say no.  But DO be active.  Participate in your child's world.  Come and see who is influencing your kid.  Be an example of responsibility and stick around to help out.  Who knows, the two of you, you and your kid, might grow a new bond, one that will overcome the nastiness of the coming teen years.  Maybe your kid will feel a sense of commitment and stay in the group through high school, something they can add to their college application showing what a well rounded student they are, something they can add to their job resume.

Maybe you will see your baby grow into a fabulous person worthy of your admiration.  Maybe your child will see you for more than short-order cook, housekeeper, chauffeur.  Maybe. 

None of that can happen if you stay in your car, pushing your kid out at the curb, so can you drive off to do whatever it is you can pull in an hour.

Your kid's troop leader, youth coordinator, sports coach