Is it really so hard to just be there?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Cerek, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 26, 2011

    Sorry, this is a bit of a rant.

    I've mentioned before that I began meeting my boys at school every morning the day after their mother said she wanted out of our marriage and wanted me out of the house. I did that for 3 years until I began my student teaching. I did the same thing when the two oldest ones were in Little League and Cub Scouts. I remember going to a Veteran's Day Assembly and seeing my middle son look around to see if either of us were there. She wasn't, but I made time in my work schedule to be there and the way his face lit up when he saw me made it all worthwhile.

    Well, tonight was just one more example.

    My oldest son is a freshman in high school and plays in the band. Tonight was their first football game and his first time ever marching on the field in front of a crowd. I also thought he was going to do the trombone solo during half-time, but that went to someone else.

    This is their week to be with their mother and it was a home game, which means it was about 10 minutes from her house. She dropped him off at the school, then went back home instead of staying for the game or the half-time show. Their school is 25 miles from my home and in another state, but I was there an hour before the game started. Like I said, this was NOT my week to have the boys and I had not mentioned anything about going to the game, but when I called my son on his cell phone to find out where he was, I could tell by his comments and voice that he knew I would be there all along. I had NO real interest in the teams or the game (although it was entertaining enough to watch), but there was NO WAY I was going to miss his first time performing at a game.

    I told my ex more than a year before we split up that, if she didn't start doing things with the boys while they were young, they would have nothing to do with her when they got older. More than 5 years later, she still hasn't figured it out.

    While this is a personal rant, it can also be applied to the kids in our classes - especially the ones that challenge us the most. Many of these kids have parents that don't care about what they do in school or anywhere else and the kids are STARVED for attention and compassion. Or they might have the "Hot Sauce Mom" who does pay attention to what they do in school, but only to yell and scream at them for not doing as good as (s)he thinks they should (I still cringe every time I see that video and the way she is DESTROYING that boys' self-esteem :mad: ).

    No matter how difficult their behavior may be to handle, we need to remind ourselves (myself included) that we might be the ONE person in that child's life that shows them ANY positive attention and encouragement. A single compliment, a bit of encouragement, a "high five" or an "atta boy" each day might be the one thing that makes that child think "Maybe my life DOES matter and maybe I CAN do something good with myself after all."

    So just remember how important it is to be there for the kids, because you might be the only that bothers to make that effort.
     
  2.  
  3. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    12

    Aug 26, 2011

    As a divorced father I understand how it goes with your boys. I was almost in another state (180 miles away, the other state was 2 miles away from me) I drove on a Thursday night (with school the next day) to see his first Freshman football game.
    What can I say but I do take my hat off to you!

    As for students reflecting about parents that don't care about what they do in school or anywhere else I AGREE 110% with you.
    I have seen it more than I would like to say.

    AS I HAVE ALWAYS SAID, "We get the 'best student' the parents give us!"
    Parents's actions truly affect the student and that is no BS

    The PARENTS ARE the first teachers the kids get.

    As the twig is bent so grows the tree.
     
  4. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    Messages:
    696
    Likes Received:
    101

    Aug 26, 2011

    Thank you for sharing your challenges. You remind me of the REAL reason why I decided to become an educator. You have a great heart.
     
  5. Mrs. Q

    Mrs. Q Cohort

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Messages:
    518
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 26, 2011

    I think I will print that last part out and tape it to my desk to read each morning before the bell rings.

    When I was 19, i was a substitute and a little girl with a bad home life is the reason I became a teacher. I teach high school and I guess sometimes it's easy to forget that the students are still those little boys and girls who need any love that they can get.

    Thank you -- and huge props to you for being the dad your boys need you to be.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 27, 2011

    I can't even begin to imagine not being there.

    My friend's exhusband is constantly pulling a no-show when he has promised to be with their son.

    Does he have any hope that Nick will want anything to do with him when he turns 15 or 16??
     
  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,469
    Likes Received:
    1,353

    Aug 27, 2011

    You are so right!

    My new school has implemented a policy this year to try to reach out to those children in need. Every employee, from admin to teachers to paras to custodial and cafeteria workers will partner with a child of their choice to mentor.
    Our hope is that our children will find a new person in their life who cares about them as a person, not just as a student.
     
  8. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    Messages:
    3,274
    Likes Received:
    38

    Aug 27, 2011

    It's so sad to go to my son's events & there are very few parents are there. I know they are in High School, but still. My parents went to everything. It didn't stop in college, although that's when they stopped coming to see me march at every football game. My college was an hour away & they came when they could.

    I go to everything that I can of my son's. I did the same with my daughter. I feel guilty when I don't. I couldn't go to his track meets last spring because of my grad class. His father went & kept me posted via text.
     
  9. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Aug 27, 2011

    KPA, I think the high school kids need their parents around as much (if not more!) than they did when they were little. The parents tend to think, "Oh, he's 15. He doesn't want me around" but trust me he does! Maybe they don't want you to TALK to them when they are 15/16, but they want you there! :)
     
  10. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 27, 2011

    That is SO true, bandnerd. When my son got back to the stands last night and came up to me, I thought he might be embarrassed if I gave him a hug in front of all his band friends, so I gave him a double high-five instead. After the high five, he gave ME a hug. We talked for a couple of minutes, then he disappeared with some of his friends until almost the end of the 3rd quarter when they were required to be back in their seats by the band director.

    I was very tired by this time and wanted to go home and, at first, got a little upset that he just went off and didn't come back for so long, but then I reminded myself this IS high school and socializing is an important part of that. He has made a LOT of new friends, this was a new experience for many of them and it is only natural they would want to spend it with each other. So I waited till he came back at the required time, gave him another quick hug and told him I just wanted to say "goodbye" before I left.
     
  11. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 27, 2011

    It is a good reminder for parents and teachers. I know so many examples, I can't even list. I have sat through more games and wrestling events than anyone I know - sometimes the only parent there. I have had many kids comment they wished their parents were there like me, or tell me things I wish they could have told their parents, celebrated or commiserated with them, listened to their stories, patted them on the back, or kicked them in the butt, as needed. It would have been much more powerful if their own parents had been there - and some NEVER were. So sad! My own father used to call my boys and ask the results of their events and remind them to thank us for coming. He played on a national team and his parents never once saw him play. They are long since dead and he is 84 and it still bothers him.

    As teachers, we often don't know what is happening in their lives and how little support they get. I try to remind myself it is often the ones who are the least lovable who need my love the most.

    I commend you for your efforts. Dads are so important and so many just give up when their marriage fails. Children need their fathers!
     
  12. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    Messages:
    3,274
    Likes Received:
    38

    Aug 27, 2011

    I'm not sure what you are saying bandnerd. If you're agreeing with me or if you are thinking that I'm not going to events. Until this track season, I think I only missed 1 event due to something I had to do & that something would have been either work or grad school. That doesn't count the times we've had to "divide & conquer" I went with 1 child & Dad with the other.

    I know that I am hoping to be able to tutor starting in January. I plan on tutoring on Mondays & Wednesdays because track meets are Tuesdays & Thursdays.

    I think it's so sad to see high schoolers dropped off to play a sport, be in a concert or other event and not have a parent there. Or worse yet, a child having to walk to the event because the parent won't take them (yes, I've picked that child up, even if it was out of my way.)
     
  13. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Aug 27, 2011

    KPA, I was agreeing with you! :)
     
  14. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Messages:
    17,362
    Likes Received:
    46

    Aug 27, 2011

    My daughter is 7 and I can't imagine not being there for all of her school functions. I actually feel bad when I can't be there for her when she has something going on during the school day (though I do make it if it's important). My parents were ALWAYS there for my volleyball games, cheerleading, band, etc. My parents were very active in the band boosters and anything else I was involved in.
     
  15. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    12

    Aug 27, 2011

    i found out after I was grown that when I was playing Little league my dad would leave work early take an earlier commuter train and walk from the train station to the little league fields so mom didn't have to leave the game. I always thought dad was coming home at the regular time

    When I was officating sports I would sometimes ref/ump some games that involved students, former students or student's parents (and even my own son's flag football games) My students' faces would light up when they saw me. You could tell right down to the minnute when a parent arrived or left the stands.

    You cannot discount the impact a parent (father or mother) has on a child.
    AND You cannot discount the impact a teacher has on a child.
     
  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,313
    Likes Received:
    1,433

    Aug 27, 2011

    Heck, my parents STILL come out to my plays when they can fly or drive to Ohio, and I'm 39. I cannot imagine what it would have been like growing up without their support.
     
  17. HWilson

    HWilson Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 27, 2011

    Thanks for sharing! It melted my heart and reminds me the real reason I teach. In my school/area it is so very common for parents to not be involved. Thanks for the refresher!! :)
     
  18. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

    Joined:
    May 27, 2009
    Messages:
    2,972
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 27, 2011

    Cerek- Kudos to you. I go to every event for my kids even when I don't feel like it and even during that 'tween time when they don't really want Mom and Dad hanging out. I don't think about it. It is who I am and luckily I married someone that feels the same. But I have also learned this... MOST parents love their kids. They may not always show it in the ways that we want them to. And sometimes their actions may have us questioning why they had children, but they do care. I always try not to judge those parents in my classroom especially when I find that some are working 3 jobs just to be able to make the bills they have so that their kids have a home and food on the table. It is my job to support these parents wherever they are. I try to be respectful of their individual circumstances and like you pointed out, be a positive role model for their child. Congrats on making it to the game. It is what we do. As for your ex, well, in the end she will have to work on building a relationship with your children. At least she got your child to the ball game. Is it the best she could do? Probably not. But one day, she will figure that out the hard way.
     
  19. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Messages:
    1,161
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 27, 2011

    I think you are a wonderful parent!!

    Last night was my son's first high school football scrimmage game in full pads. It was not an official game, but it was against another school and their first time padded up in front of us. Me, Ruben, both of my parents and my sister were all there in the stands and he smiled from ear to ear when he finally spotted us.

    His best friend who lives across the street from us got a ride with me after the game because his family didn't go. When we pulled up, his parents and older sister were driving up the street. When they saw us, they paused at the end of the street, then made a u turn and came back. I thought they were going to picck him up... no they were going out to dinner WITHOUT HIM!!! :mad: So they invited hm to go, but he said he would rather stay with us. I wonder why.
     
  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,948
    Likes Received:
    2,096

    Aug 27, 2011

    I've spent years in the bleachers. Dh has coached, Cheered from the bleachers, driven hundreds of miles to games and tryouts for my sons sports.
    Younger son plays college rugby...we'll make most games this fall. Older son plays club rugby...dh and I go to many games and make 5 pounds of pasta for the 'join up' after every home.

    My kids will always have that. As will yours.
    Good for you, Cerek.
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 27, 2011

    It's about the myth of quality time.

    Quality time was invented by someone who didn't want to spend real time with his or her kids.

    The reality is that you can't have quality time on demand. It grows, and strengthens in quality, as it accumulates.

    Kudos to you for recognizing that Cerek.
     
  22. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 27, 2011

    LOVE THIS! :thumb:
     
  23. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,922
    Likes Received:
    145

    Aug 27, 2011

    I probably competed in over 150 HS sporting events (football basketball and track) along with some HS plays and chorus events.
    My dad made them all. He is now 81 and lives about 40 miles away.
    I talk to him each day and visit about twice a week. My other brother and I visited today and bought him lunch. I have never missed anything my kids have done at school. Parenting is called being there for the milestones and even minor stones.
     
  24. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,010
    Likes Received:
    5

    Aug 27, 2011

    The kids will remember that.

    My father left when we were very young and had nothing to do with us at all. I also had a stepfather who could never be bothered to come to our events either. Not first communion, not school plays, not middle-school graduation, not band performances...my mom was always there. Good on you for being the parent who comes through and shows support with presence instead of just words. Kids need that from at least one parent.
     
  25. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 27, 2011

    When I was the Purchasing Manager of a small rural hospital, my one department employee and I became very close friends. He told me about his uncle, who was a long-haul truck driver. He only came home on the weekends and spent the whole time home watching TV in the living room. His wife brought his food in there to him and when the kids went in to talk to him or ask him to play with them, he would tell his wife to "Do something with these kids".

    When their dad finally retired, he would call them sometimes and ask them to come over to the house. But, just like the song "Cat's in the Cradle", the boys were grown and had lives of their own and no longer had anything to do with him.

    This is the warning I tried to give my ex, but it is a lesson she will never learn until it is too late.
     
  26. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 27, 2011

    Exactly!

    Just a few months after we split up, our two oldest sons had a Veteran's Day Assembly at their school and both of them had a minor part in the activities. My middle son had asked if his mom and I would be there. I told him I would do my best. I worked at a home health agency delivering health equipment and setting it up. As long as I didn't have a new set-up, I would be able to adjust my schedule - which I did. His mother, on the other hand, worked less than 5 minutes from the school. She could leave for lunch early to get her hair done, but couldn't take off early to come see her boys in the assembly.

    That was more than 5 years ago and I still vividly remember my middle son coming into the gym and looking all around to see if either of us was there - then seeing his face literally light up when he saw me. That might have been a "minor stone" to me, but I knew right then that was a moment my son would remember for the rest of his life.
     
  27. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    7,775
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 28, 2011

    Cerek, I admire you. My son and his wife are separated (again.) He does everything possible to be with his son. The hardest part is when he doesn't have his son with him (sharing custody.) It's a tough road for you guys.
    When the little guy was in the hospital (about 2 years old,) his mother decided she just had to go home and get some sleep, rather than spend the night at the hospital. Didn't bother her a bit to leave him behind. Our son spent the night because he couldn't stand the thought of him waking up alone in the hospital asking for daddy. I will never forget that. He is the best dad ever and it sounds like you are too.
     
  28. SpaceAngel

    SpaceAngel Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Messages:
    307
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 31, 2011

    My mom was a single mom and had to work a lot when my sister and I were growing up. She couldn't be at every softball game of the season, but she made sure SOMEONE was. My grandma spent summers going to one grandkids game or another. I always had a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin (or all!) in the stands if mom wasn't there. Often if she was, too! She knew it was important.

    Things like band concerts or "programs", she was always there. With grandparents. And I went with grandparents to cousins events.
     
  29. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    12

    Sep 1, 2011

    What is the first thing a student does when on the field, court or stage? He/She looks for his/her family! That is why it is so important that we be there .
     
  30. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 6, 2011

    This past Friday night, my son had his first "away" game. It was about a 55-mile, with a lot of that drive being on a twisting road over a mountain (and then doubling back over another part of the same mountain). It took 1.5 hours to drive there (thank goodness for GPS, or I would have never found the place).

    I had originally planned to just meet my son back at his school after the game, but Friday night was also HIS first opportunity to play the solo part of the half-time show. So I met him at school before the band left, gave him a note for the bus chaperone explaining that he would ride home with me, then drove over to the other high school and sat on concrete bleachers for more than 3 hours. However, I got some GREAT pictures of him and his friends in the stands and (hopefully) a couple of good pictures while he was playing the solo as well.

    Meantime, his mother and step-dad (who would have had to drive an hour, but could have left as soon as the half-time show was finished) were no-shows once again. Of course, neither of us even considered the fact his mom might show up, because we both knew there was no chance of that happening.

    The game was over around 10:00pm. We stopped at a McDonald's on the way home around 11:20pm to get some food and finally got back home around 12:30am. We were both pretty exhausted by that time, but I wouldn't have missed his first solo (and the time spent together on the way back) for anything in the world.
     
  31. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    9,154
    Likes Received:
    1

    Sep 6, 2011

    I don't know the relationship between mom and son but I gather from your comments that you don't think much of her. Yet I wonder if the lack of show on mom's part might be because she knows you will be there and considers it a dad/son bonding sport. I know many women DO attend their children's sporting events but by the same token, not everyone views everything the same way. My children have things they pretty much only do with dad. Could your wife be viewing these events like that?

    Edit: I know band isn't necessarily a sport, but going to a football game is considered a "sport" to me. I'm very much not a sports fan. :whistle:
     
  32. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 6, 2011

    You're right....I don't think much of her for many reasons.

    You're also right (at least partially) that she refuses to do a lot of things because she knows I will do them if she doesn't. I won't list details or examples. Just suffice to say her lack of involvement has nothing to do with allowing any "bonding time" and everything to do with her simply not wanting to be bothered with it.
     
  33. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    1,995
    Likes Received:
    156

    Sep 6, 2011

    Cerek, do you worry at all about how their relationships with women in the future might be affected? I imagine having an uninvolved mother could color their views on the opposite gender considerably.
     
  34. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 6, 2011

    Not really. Their mother does love them very much, she just loves herself more. Right after our separation, I talked with a friend of mine who is a professional counselor and had also gone through a divorce when his wife cheated on their marriage.

    When I told him the things she had done and how she acted, he said "The reason she can't nurture her children is because she is still a child herself." It was like the little light bulb lit up over my head when he said that because it explained her behavior, actions and personality perfectly. She doesn't do it maliciously or deliberately (at least not most of the time), it's just the way she is.

    As for the boys, they seem to be developing normal relationships with girls. The oldest has started high school and is definitely showing an interest in the opposite sex. The next one is still in middle school and still kinda halfway between girls being "icky" one minute and "hot" the next. The youngest is in elementary school and couldn't really care less about the gender of his classmates.
     
  35. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    9,154
    Likes Received:
    1

    Sep 6, 2011

    I wish mine went through the icky stage. I feel like they've all always been interested.
     
  36. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    Messages:
    3,274
    Likes Received:
    38

    Sep 6, 2011

    I know that there are certain things that I will NOT do with my children. Why? Because, even after only 1 time, it was a Father/Daughter thing or a Father/Son thing. It usually is Dad taking daughter to a concert (not something that she's performing in) or Dad taking Son to a baseball game. It's okay for Mom to go, tag along, but there's disappointment if Dad has to back out for some reason. Not that he has unless he's been extremely sick.
     
  37. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    9,154
    Likes Received:
    1

    Sep 6, 2011

    There are things I think my children would rather have dad for but in my house the irony is they want mom there for musicals. Why is that ironic? Mom is deaf/hard-of-hearing. Truly is funny really. But mom does the practicing (even though I'm tone deaf) to help them learn the words. Mom listens to them practice instruments (even though I know none of the musical notes).

    Once I went to a concert and my son was telling the boy next to him that his mom was sitting in the audience. Dad was sitting next to me but he didn't mention him. (They are daddy's boys so this tells me a lot). I was reading lips from across the room as they continued this conversation. The boy next to him said, "but I thought your mom can't hear." My son replied, "she can hear a little bit."

    I'm hijacking. :sorry:
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. agdamity,
  2. RainStorm,
  3. WongHF
Total: 311 (members: 6, guests: 281, robots: 24)
test