As the summer came to an end last year, I received this in the mail from the cable company:
In honor of back-to-school time, the local cable provider decided to use this lovely image as an appeal to order their service. At first glance, it just looks like a cute little girl, but if you take a closer look, she’s standing behind a chalkboard and wearing what looks like a school uniform. On the chalkboard are various icons of things we normally associate with school: alarm clocks, notebooks, a test paper, etc. Blaring across this ad are the words:
Welcome back to normal.
I was taken aback. Not just at the words themselves, but at the fact that they were confident enough that this statement would appeal to parents everywhere that they decided to use them as their “bait.”
Welcome back to normal?
I’ve got news for this cable company and parents everywhere…
School isn’t normal.
What can be normal about the government telling you to hand your kids over to strangers starting at the age of 5 for 6 hours a day, 9 months a year, for the next 13 years? What is normal about the fact that kids around the country spend more time with their teachers than with their parents? What is normal about children being forced to spend hours on homework every night when they could be spending those precious few hours with family?
It’s time we wake up. Our society has been brainwashed into believing that our kids are nothing but a nuisance. That “professionals” are more equipped to deal with our children on a day-to-day basis than we are. That life is so. much. better. when our kids are gone for the bulk of the day. That being with our kids and enjoying it is somehow abnormal.
I realize that not everyone wants to homeschool, and I’m not suggesting that. (Okay, maybe I am just a little. ) What I am suggesting is that we break free of this mentality and enjoy our kids for the gifts that they are- and they truly are gifts. I’m suggesting that we get off our electronics long enough to have a meaningful conversation with our kids. That we stop expecting teachers to be substitute parents and take responsibility by raising them ourselves and not expecting problems to be solved with the mentality, I’ll let their teacher deal with it.
All I ask is that you take a moment to remember why you chose to have kids in the first place. Remember what it felt like to hold them in your arms after they came into this world.
Now think about the times you celebrated when they went back to school. When you dreaded the looming summer vacation because you didn’t know how you’d handle being with them all day.
Is this the relationship you envisioned when you had those precious children?
I’m not writing this to make parents feel guilty, because I’m far from being a perfect parent. I’m sure my kids would agree. 🙂 What I am hoping to do is to help people realize that sending your kids to school everyday and never seeing them isn’t normal. Cheering after the school bus picks your kids up isn’t normal. What is normal- or should be- is learning to be with our families through thick and thin and knowing how to get through tough times.
It’s time to make family first again. Cherish your kids. Be with them. Love them, and let them know that even when they’re driving you crazy, you wouldn’t have it any other way.
You only have a precious few years before your kids will be adults and out on their own. What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? What do you want your kids to remember about their childhoods?
Me? I’m shooting for a legacy of love.