And suddenly I find myself here again: at the beginning of another school year. I’m not sure exactly when or how it happened, but I now have a daughter in eighth grade and a son in fifth grade.
The messages that I have been receiving from social media, the schools and other parents as this new year unfolds are starting to arrive in earnest:
Parents are pushing their kids way too hard!
Kids today are so entitled!
The behavior of parents at their kids’ sporting events is over the top!
Moms form cliques of their own and it’s worse than being in high school!
No one is looking out for your kids but you!
So before another day goes by, I want to remind the parents of my kids’ friends of this as well:
I am so very grateful for you and your children.
To the parents of my daughter’s friends:
I heard so much, and worried so much, about how catty girls become in middle school. But my daughter’s friends are genuine and kind, and I am sure it is in large part because of what you emphasize in your own homes. They are such thoughtful, genuine and polite young women.
And even though they are clearly becoming young ladies, thank you for not letting them grow up too fast. My daughter’s friends wear age-appropriate clothing and still do activities like camping out and splash around in the pool… things that I observe have already become “uncool” to other girls in their grade. Thank you for not pushing them so hard to be part of the “in crowd” they miss out on these rapidly dwindling days of their childhood.
To the parents of my son’s friends:
Your boys definitely keep us laughing. They are observant and witty, and it helps that they like my sarcasm (or at least they pretend to).
When you’re not looking, they remember the manners you have instilled in them: they say hi to me when we pass at practices, even before I do. They make eye contact with me and say thank you when they get out of my car. I secretly love how they still invite me to play Four Square with them when they come to our house, even though their athletic abilities now far exceed mine. They play fair, and they lob some easy serves my way.
Thank you for letting them be boys. My son doesn’t have any brothers, so I’m grateful when you remind me how a bunch of boys act, and that you give him the opportunity to partake in the shenanigans.
To the parents of both of my children’s friends:
We may not always see eye to eye, but at the end of the day we’re all in this together. I’m grateful for you and the job you are doing, because I know good kids come from good parents.
Thank you for constantly showing my children that they are important to you and your family. Even if they take separate paths someday, they will all look back on these days with joy.
It truly does take a village, and we are so glad that you are part of ours.
Keep up the good work. You are raising great kids.