Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Parenting in terra incognita - Part I

“Parenting is simple,” said no good parent, ever.  Because it's not, and there are some times when it’s even less simple than others. 

Off the top, you might think the procreation chat would be one of those difficult times.  Well, Yes and No. Yes, because it’s on the awkward side.  But at the same time, No, because we’ve all (apparently) had some experience with the subject and we know what we’re talking about.  We know how much our child needs to hear about it, we know why we're telling them, and we know we're doing right by them.  There’s a certain confidence that comes with parenting from experience.  It’s parenting without a net that gets tricky.

Recently, I wrote a letter to ask the school to consider making a major change to C’s course of study.  We actually started this discussion with the school last year, got stonewalled and backed down.  It was easier path, for sure.  But the same issues resurfaced this year and we wondered if we should let it go, like before, or give it another try.  We chose to go for it.  It took me a day to write the letter – I wanted to be clear about what we wanted; to sound reasonable, yet persuasive.  And this time it worked!  And then I was horrified:

What had I done? 

I thought we knew what was best, but did we really? 

Would this make things better for C, or worse? 

Why couldn’t I have just left well enough alone?

I had no experience in this arena of challenging the school system, attempting to alter my kid’s education, albeit with the best of intentions.  I had no hindsight to assure me it would be fine, no reference by which to gauge how it would turn out at all.  I was in uncharted territory. I suddenly had no confidence in what I was trying to do as a parent. Nothing simple about that.  

Continued in Part II.

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