I often read about so many negative attitudes towards parents on these boards....parents who don't care about their kids, don't show up for conferences, don't follow through. And, boy, if they dare to express a concern to us or make a complaint, it seems they win the idiot of the year award because there is no way we could actually consider using their insight constructively. Why are we as teachers (not all, but many) so non-empathetic with all parents face these days? I know, I know....they chose to have kids, they need to raise the kids. But I struggle to raise my own and I'm an educated, well rounded adult. Being a parent is tough work. I told myself after spring break that I would insist on balance between home and work. I would practice softball every day after work with my youngest. If one of the kids texted me because they were having a teen "crisis", I would STOP whatever I was doing at work and tend to their needs first for a change. I would leave early to make it to every one of my son's varsity baseball games on time. I was successful for maybe the first two days back. Hard to follow through when an emotionally disturbed child is having a meltdown or the police are on campus for another matter or a struggling teacher is in tears because she is not sure if she chose the right profession and really just needs someone to talk to her. My kids often don't get the time and attention from me that they would if I was able to stay home. And I'm not dealing with a husband who is incarcerated. I have a wonderful, supportive husband. I'm not dealing with a drug addiction because that was all I knew as a child. I'm not dealing with being forced to move for the umpteenth time out of my residence because I'm a single mom or a single dad with a limited income. I guess it really bothers me how we can be so disrespectful to these parents, and often to our views on the kids these days as well. When I have a parent who never shows up at school, I know that an experience has led them to not trust the school system. Or their personal life prevents them from wanting to show their face and be Patty PTA Mom. I have just a few chances to try to change that for them and make them feel welcome and supported...harsh judgment towards them because I am obviously so much better would never accomplish that. Uggghhhh....sorry I sound so bitter. I've received no sleep at all due to a terrible stomach virus and so I'm probably pretty edgy. I choose to believe that the kids are wonderful and I am blessed to be in their life to mold and shape them. They may not be the same kids we saw 30 years ago....big deal. I choose to believe that the parents need us and they need schools who don't buy into this holier than thou attitude.