Reader: Job of parent means stepping into their world

Posted: Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Common sense said to leave well enough alone, but some things are important enough to speak out about. I am referring to a letter published Sept. 13 titled, “Requirements for parents attendance leaves bad taste.”

This is not a personal attack, nor do I want it to be interpreted that way. It is just my response to that letter.

I, too, remember the days when parent-teacher conferences were biannual events. I also remember when my parents tried to attend school functions for all seven of their children, which was never easy but efforts were made and scheduling conflicts resolved in order to attend important functions.

As a father of three, I know from personal experience how difficult it is to balance commitments at home, on the job and within the community. However, I make the effort to attend as many school functions as I can because my kids are a priority.

I would have missed so much if I had not attended some of these functions. I am talking about having the privilege of being able to enter their world and see life from their perspective as they eagerly have shown me everything they have done or are doing in school. By taking the time to enter their world and see what is important to them, I have often wondered who is encouraging who.

“When did attendance at school functions become mandatory?” was one of the questions put forth in the letter I earlier referenced. To answer that question, I would like to ask a few questions of my own. Why would it be necessary to start making these events mandatory to attend? Could it be that we have become so busy that our children are suffering? What is more important the well being of our children or the other activities that keep us from attending these events?

It is sad that it has become mandatory to attend these functions but what kind of message are we sending to our kids when we respond negatively to stepping into their world? Would it be necessary to make these events mandatory if we attended voluntarily?

I would be lying if I said every day of parenthood has been a joy. I am far from perfect as my wife and kids can attest. However, I believe that their world is just as important as mine and will continue to adjust my schedule to accommodate theirs because they are important. Like the author of the letter that inspired me to response, I look forward to the day my children are raised but for different reasons. In the meantime, look for me. I will never be rich. I may be questioning my sanity while driving kids on a field trip or I may be sitting in an auditorium wishing I was anywhere else in the world, but I will still be there.

Tiarnan “Terry” Coval


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