It Starts With Socks

My youngest began kindergarten a few weeks ago, and things have been going well.  She loves it, she’s happy to be in school with her brothers, and she loves having lunch in a cafeteria and riding the bus (simple pleasures!).  She’s learning how to be a big-school-kid.  She has a backpack she’s responsible for, and she’s in charge of getting her clothes together the night before.

So.  I get a call from school.  It’s the kindergarten teachers (one for general studies and one for Jewish/Hebrew).  They are concerned because twice in the last few weeks my daughter has had a melt down in class.  Why, you ask?  And I quote:

“Shayna was upset because you forgot to have her wear socks on gym day.  She needs socks, and the gym teachers insist on it.  She has to sit out if she is not wearing socks.  She was so upset.  Please make sure she is wearing her socks on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.”

[ I forgot to have her wear socks.  Are you freaking kidding me?  Every night before bed I say, “Shayna, please put out your clothes for tomorrow, and if you have gym remember socks.”  She either does or doesn’t.  The first 2 times she forgot her socks, I ran them up to school because let’s face it: we all forget things sometimes.  After the second time I reminded her that she needs the socks for gym and she needs to be responsible for them.  I would not be available to run her socks to school again.  Both subsequent times she has forgotten the socks, the school called me and in my nicest I’m-a-helpful-Mommy voice I said, “I’m so sorry, I’m not able to run socks to school.  She’ll have to do without.”  This provoked the classroom meltdowns.]

I took a deep breath and explained to the teachers that we believe part of kindergarten is learning to be responsible for yourself.  This begins at home.  She is capable of putting her clothes out (all of them) the night before, so we expect it.  She will have to experience the consequences of not doing that, even if that means sitting out at gym.  School picks up where home leaves off.  I told the teachers that we don’t expect them to pack her bag at the end of the day, and if she forgets her raincoat at school on a Friday, it’s going to be a wet weekend for her.  These are important lessons on the road to being a responsible student.

This did not go over well.  The teachers do not want to have to deal with hassles from home, and I get that.  However, school is where they learn to be good students.  This is part of that.  I told both teachers that I understood the difficult position they are in, but presumably the ultimate goal on both ends is to create a competent and responsible child.  I have a 3rd grader and a 6th grader, and all of their teachers will tell you that they rarely forget their homework or kippot, and they take responsibility for their actions and behavior.  It doesn’t just magically happen one day, you have to build a foundation over time.

And it starts with socks.

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4 Responses to “It Starts With Socks”

  1. Chris Says:

    I always laugh when people complain about my style of bringing my kids up, and then later wonder aloud why my kids are more independent then most. Sorry, the kids need to learn at some point that my job is to point them in the right direction. THEIR job is to actually go.

    The person that to this day makes me shake my head in wonder was in college. I worked at the Dormitory Meal Hall and a new freshman walked in and after standing at the sandwich counter for a few minutes looking puzzled , walked over and asked me quietly how to make a sandwich. I was dumbfounded and asked if she had never eaten one before. Her comment was that she ate them all the time, but mom always made them.

    nice.

  2. melanie Says:

    so true.

  3. edibletorah Says:

    Story from the same school.

    I got a call from the Principal. My son had been involved in “an incident” and she wanted us to know so that we could deal with it at home.

    The incident? My son (2nd grade) was involved with 2 other boys where they were pushing in line as they waited to go out to recess. One boy said my son spit. Not *at* him, mind you. More like an excited 8 year old who had too much saliva in his mouth after lunch.

    The response I didn’t make: “Wait, you mean 8 year old boys waiting to go outside were pushing each other and spitting? I’ll alert the media.”

    Why did the teacher or hall monitor not just deal with this? Why did it go to the principal? Why did the Principal not handle this if they wanted to give the air of “severity” to the situation?

    It gets better. The Principal gave us the names of the other 2 boys, so we could have our son call them to apologize. One of the boys had been out sick for 3 days with chicken pox (ie: wrong kid. We never found out who the right kid was). The other one didn’t really remember anything happening.

    Awesome.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love the school. More importantly, my KIDS love the school. I just wish we could sign a waver or something that told teachers “it’s OK for my child to learn discipline. It’s ok for them to miss recess, miss a meal, go through the day without their socks or the wrong shoes because they left them at home. No fatalities from such experience have been recorded in the last 20 years. I’m willing to risk it.”

  4. surflife Says:

    Oh parents after my own heart! My children do their own laundry and have done so since they were 3 (now 9 &12). They have to pack their own bags and if they dont have clean clothes for school they know who’s fault it is!(only happend once). This year I have taught them how to iron their school shirts and so on a Saturday they iron all three ready for the week – wash on tuesday night so they have enough shirts for the week. I have actually had a parent acuse me of neglecting my children for making them do this. The thing that amazes me the most are the number of mothers who come into school and unpack there sons school bags into their lockers for them. I asked one of them once why she did – her reply of if she did not do it he would never find anthing and so be late for class!

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