Do us all a favor, read the fine print & stop whining.

Folks, it does not matter where you live or where your children attend school…extra curricular activities require sacrifice on someone’s time. Somewhere, someone must give up some thing for this to occur. Whether, this time sacrifice comes from the child, their parents, their siblings, the volunteer or school sponsor, there are only so many hours in a given day.

We all have those unforseen emergencies in life and work which will interfere with everyone’s schedule, THAT is not preventable. It the choices you make when given the opportunity to choose which has a place value at that given moment of luxury.

Sometimes commitment of any kind carries over into dedicated family days. If this is inconvenient, I would think, this was considered in your discussions weighing the obligations to the activity just as expectations are assessed to meet job performance or school efforts. Weighed and balanced against family lifestyles, before YOU, the parent granted approval to commit your child’s participation.

I retiterate, WE ALL have those unforseen emergencies in life and work which will interfere with everyone’s schedule THAT is not preventable. If you didn’t fully consider these obligations, please don’t expect my child to give up valuable classroom instruction to accommodate your family’s weekend or nightly lifestyle. Just so you can go to the game, movies, or fishing.

Which means do not ask my child’s teacher to shorten a school lesson or NOT ASSIGN HOMEWORK which you perceive as interfering with your weekend fun.

Please do not tell your child, it’s OK to miss practice or skip a game, leaving his team short or ill prepared. Please don’t expect my child to understand.  It’s irresponsible and selfish to rationalize your needs as more important than others.

I do not care, if you are going out-of-town to shop. It’s not my concern whether you just don’t feel up to attending because little Johnny’s uniform is dirty or you just want to kick back with a book, a few beers or drop the kids off at their grandparents, so you can head out with the honey.  I do not care, if your child was invited to the must attend sleep over party by popular Patty. I just don’t care. I do not want your excuses nor do I want to be subjected to your endless social whining.

You are letting someone down by breaking your promise to be responsible.

The team/group participants are counting on your child’s presence and your child has an important part on the team. Numbers matter in rule books, bodies matter to dance groups and competitive academic endeavors need collective brain power. Your child’s presence is necessary in group activities no matter where they occur, on the field or in the classroom.

After all, some groups are limited to specific numbers to compete or fill a lesson. Signing the permission sheet committing to be involved meant someone else was denied, your joining was assenting to the time allotment necessary to the activity.

So, when coaches, teachers or tutors say it’s not acceptable to miss practice, games or deny your child to a chance to reschedule a test or project because she just had to miss school to attend a non school sponsored activity; please do not berate the teachers, sponsors and the other kids parents, they too, have other responsibilities. They manage to meet the expectations.

The schools and club sponsors have responsibilities to meet educational requirements or complete so many games required in the season’s participation in order for many competitions to advance the final rounds.

Surely, you read the rules and conditions when enrolling your child for school or that extracurricular activity?!

If you didn’t, please stop complaining on social media that teacher X, Y and Z gives too much reading or homework because little Suzy has dance competition every other weekend or Timmy has a baseball tourney and they just can’t meet school deadlines.

So what.

Just stop whining. Please, do us all a favor and read the fine print. We all see those printed words above the parent signature line granting consent, they’re not there for decoration. Read before you become frustrated and torture every one else.

Because, I know from experience you will be the first parent to march to school to complain when poor grades are marked on your child’s tests. Shooting off your mouth to all and sundry, while waiting in the school pick up line, how unfair it all is to your child. What a great inconvenience it is to your family to meet school deadlines. How you didn’t know your child had a test or project due.

You are always so shocked. I’m not.

I am being facetious when I say, I wonder, why, little Suzy has bad marks? Did she not pay attention in class? Was she too tired traveling back home from her latest pageant or softball game to do the work?  Tongue in cheek, I wonder why?

Any parent should know, Little Suzy’s dance recital interfered with required after school tutoring which became necessary since Little Suzy didn’t do her homework along the way BECAUSE she has too many after school activities.

It enrages me, yes, it down right infuriates me to hear parents grump and complain extracurricular activities are more important than school BECAUSE the parent PAYS FOR extracurricular activity.

You PAY for school in your taxes, folks!
Good Lord! Are you really so shortsighted?! Yes, it appears from your latest Facebook rant that, indeed, you are clueless and self-centered.

So, you want someone to sacrifice something but not you or yours.
My child and our family refuse to pay your dues, pay your responsibilities yourself. Balance your own checkbook of rewards against the deposits of time you are willing to invest. It’s not our job to sacrifice for your shortsighted planning.

It’s called scheduling around the commitment during the season or event. It’s called dedication and honoring responsibilities, two very important lessons of follow through every child should learn well.

For example, baseball or dance lessons are not required educational commitments, this is your child’s choice of EXTRACURRICULAR enrichment, just as either of my sons swim team meet or boy scout camping trips are not your child’s choice of activity. They must choose to get it all done accordingly or sacrifice somewhere.

I would never expect my child’s activity to encroach on learning and I expect my child to be prepared at school as well. He is part of a group learning in a classroom of peers. His preparations allow everything to progress smoothly for the entire class as a whole, anything less holds them back to play catch up. He is required by law to learn and I expect him to meet this commitment to assure his future.

School hours are for advancing education, preparing children onwards to become functioning knowledgeable and skilled adults. On some days or nights, there will be homework involved to enrich or support that endeavor, just as important as those extracurricular activities provide enrichment to round out their skill sets.

These extracurricular activity lessons may occur nightly after school or have practices which carry over into the weekend as like school during the day carries over into homework at night or on the weekend. It’s called juggling the priorities and balancing the responsibilities. Many kids manage to do both well. They are called scholar athletes or well-rounded children because teacher, volunteer and parent work together to give them these opportunities and hold them accountable to each essential part of the broad spectrum.

These dedicated teachers strive to educate your child for a successful future as like volunteers, who donate their time and efforts BECAUSE they have placed value on these extracurricular activities. These teachers are spending weekends preparing lesson plans to meet grade requirements. Volunteers are sacrificing their own weekend or evening hours to enrich kids sports, academic competitions, theater, music or pageantry.

So, it annoys and galls me into irrational anger when a careless selfish parent and child whines about school work or practices.
Many children commit to rigorous schedules in sports, education, league activities, etc….with the support of their parents, grandparents, and their siblings. They gain from the benevolence of those volunteers, gaining much more than the activity, but the message they matter.

I am thankful to those who donate their time for mine and others. They bring lessons to learn and lead by example, the right volunteer instills values and purpose. Sometimes these people bridge gaps in children’s lives as mentors. They can be unsung hero’s to many parents and children.

I am frustrated when parents and kids do not value the efforts and the commitment of the team as a whole. They are truly short-changing everyone with their self-centered and callous disregard.

I am grateful to send my child to school. I am very pleased my child has an opportunity for an education leading towards a fruitful future.
I do not apologize for valuing education over your dedicated weekend fun. It annoys me, when you do not wholly commit your family to the educational process or the extracurricular activity taking away value from my child’s participation.

Let’s work together on all the fronts to provide our children the same opportunities and experiences in those activities when we participate together. Everything has value and its place in importance. Please don’t ask me to sacrifice my child’s commitment to compensate your lack of importance and value.

Teamwork is priceless. Singular participation which measures achievement against your own efforts is incredibly valuable. Self esteem and pride acquired through extracurricular activities or participation at school can not be weighed by monetary value. Successful and purposeful participation is measured by committed engagement as a whole in order to harvest the benefits of a program. Money can not buy these lessons, they are intangible and irrefutable.

Those benefits gleaned from all those various types of lessons strengthen the foundations of a successful adult. Please do not interfere in my child’s goals by short-changing your child’s success and hampering my child’s opportunity.

Do us all a favor, read the fine print and stop whining.

~Joanne Roth Marino