Monday, June 7, 2010
Today is the first day of the last week of school. Quite the event.
It is to be a week filled with class parties, teacher gifts, pool parties, and more parties, hugs, kisses, and tearful goodbyes from the teachers.
Somehow, when I was a kid, I don't remember the last week of school being so packed with festivities.
I remember one day devoted to cleaning up the classroom and cleaning out our desks. (I remember the year I found a birthday card I was supposed to mail on the way to school. Wups. I wonder what Auntie Judy thought she had done to be ignored that way.)
And I remember the obligatory class trip to the zoo. Always the zoo.
And then we were free . . . and the fun began. And we couldn't wait.
What fun? Nothing, really. Just a summer of kicking around the house, spending more time with my parents, and hanging around the neighborhood with our friends. No extravaganzas, but we were home and fun was just an organic byproduct of summer.
I gotta tell ya, after this week of fun and frolic at school, I don't know if life at home can measure up for my kids. Sometimes I think schools have gotten so far out of being schools, and have endeavored to be a second family to kids, that it is detrimental to families.
I would like to be the one to take my kids to the pool for the first time this summer, thank you, but the school has arranged that honor for themselves.
This afternoon, the "teachers' party," complete with cake and punch and scrapbooks and gifts from the kids much resembles a grandma's birthday party.
And speaking of birthday parties, is it really good for the kids to walk around in a crown all day at school on their birthdays? Is it fair to the families when the child is, basically, "de-crowned" just before they have to leave school and go home to their ordinary lives?
They go trick-or-treating at school, the Friday before Halloween . . .
And Santa comes for breakfast . . . at school . . .
And the loot they receive at school when they lose a tooth? Even the tooth fairy cannot compete with that.
And what about movie night? My school never had movie night. Watching a movie with our parents was a rare treat and a family event. Now schools put on movie nights as fundraisers. Parents are not invited, and kids are encouraged to wear their pajamas and bring their teddy bears.
Am I the only one having a problem with all of this?
My daughter suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder, so this is an especially challenging issue for us. Basically, she rejects the parental relationship at every turn. She repels an emotional bond with anyone. It is taking an enormous amount of therapy, dedication, and hard work on our part to get her to a healthy emotional state. But all this "school as family" stuff really, really confuses and even harms our daughter.
And it's gotten me to thinking, wondering whether it is really good for any family. Personally, I don't think it is. I long for the days when school was for teaching and families were for everything else.
Thanks for listening,