There is nothing like returning to school after winter break, midweek, to scramble your brain! As wonderful as breaks are, returns can be equally wonderful. It has been a pleasure welcoming parents, students and teachers back for a new, secular year. We anticipate 2013 being a wonderful 52nd year at MJGDS!
A lot happened as we were heading into break…
…and I invite you, here, to join the ongoing conversation about the impact of Newtown and our plans to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our children at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. We are continuing to meet internally and I look forward to sharing updated information about preparedness shortly.
But today I want to revisit territory I first staked out, here, in a blog post titled, “Do I have a stake in who my students are when they are not in school?”
In that post, I asked the following question: “Do I or does the “school” have a responsibility to address behaviors that take place outside the bounded times and spaces of school?”
My answer was most affirmatively, “Yes,” and I will let you (re)read the post to see why.
But, I also qualified my answer in the following way: “Let me be clear that I am purposefully leaving parents out of this behavioral equation. Not because I either blame parents for their children’s behavior nor because I abdicate parents of their responsibility to effectively parent. I am simply asking a different question.”
Well…I think I would like an opportunity to ask that question: “Do I or does the “school” have a responsibility to address the role parents play in behaviors that take place outside the bounded times and spaces of school?
And, again, I think the answer is, “yes”.
But, boy, is that more complicated.
The simple truth to explore is how to help parents best partner with school to truly become a Community of Kindness. The simple challenge is how to lovingly intervene when it becomes apparent that help may be required.
We are parenting in uncharted territory. Our children have access to information and to each other in ways we, not only never anticipated, but in ways that continue to change – and we may, or not, even be aware that is happening. Whether it is through texting, chatting, or gaming, our children are in constant contact. And just like in reality-reality, their behavior in virtual reality provides opportunities for kindness and opportunities for its opposite. And parents play a crucial role in determining the outcomes.
Unfortunately, with rare exceptions, if it finds its way to me, it means the outcome was not-so-good. When it finds me, it usually means that a child has been excluded or disparaged. When it finds me, it usually means that a child has been exposed to language or content which may be inappropriate. When it finds me, it usually means that a parent is concerned about which influences are following their children from other homes to school to their home without an invitation.
And when it finds me, I have to ask myself what am I to do?
This is normally the point in my blog where I would proceed to ramble on for another 500 words or so and provide the answer to my own hypothetical question.
But in the spirit of partnership, I don’t want to answer my own hypothetical question. Why? Well, it isn’t hypothetical and I don’t actually know the answer!
So, please, dear reader of this blog, whether you are a parent, educator or concerned party, make a quality comment and let’s collaborate on an answer. You can take the time it normally would have taken you to finish this blog post to formulate your response.
How do I address my fully accepted responsibility to care about the role parents play in behaviors that take place outside the bounded times and spaces of school?
Let’s get crowd-sourcing!