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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Taking Responsibility

Sometimes this is a very good thing and people amaze me in great ways. More times however, it is the exact opposite. Case in point, as I listened to parents speak at the meeting last week about school uniforms, I was completely stunned by many of the things I heard.

Now I of course expected there to be people that had opposing points of view. I also expected those that were pro-uniform to cite the fear-mongering reasons that the Board of Education used to push for the uniforms, things like safety, savings, etc. After all, those who are pro-uniform are quick to call up the specter of the Columbine Massacre, claiming that if they had uniforms this incident would not have occurred. Of course there is nothing to justify this, no empirical evidence at all. But the fear helps justify the pro-uniform stance. This is of course expected from those that do not bother with looking for facts, and are pro-choice by emotion.

What did however stun me were some of the other assertions. Several parents complained that it takes "hours" to get their children dressed in the morning for school. Others stated they were tired of "fighting" with their kids about the clothes they wore. Then there was the complaint (mostly of high school kids) of the inappropriate attire that some kids (predominantly female) wore to school. The "inappropriate attire" problem did not stun me, as I happen to agree that there is far too much of that in schools. What stunned me, was the lack of accountability. These parents do not wish to take any responsibility. It is never "their kid" that is a problem (even when they admit that they have to "fight" with their kids about what to wear).

Rather than working on their parenting skills, or putting forth the effort to work with their children to get them to understand what is an isn't appropriate for schools, they would rather abdicate this responsibility to the state run agencies such as the BoE. Parenting requires effort. There is no arguing that fact. But the rewards are so great. According to the Supreme Court, the 14th amendment says that you have the right to raise your child without interference. Why would you turn this over to an agency that does not know your child? To whom your child is simply a number, one of the masses rather than making the effort. It just flies in the face of everything I think parenting should be. Only YOU know what is best for your child (assuming you are a reasonably responsible parent).

The dumbest argument I heard is "uniforms prepares children for later in life." How dumb is THAT? With a few notable professional examples (i.e. Nurses), if you are wearing a uniform to work, chances are life didn't turn out quite as well as you planned. Some even compared to having to wear "professional attire' in the work place. First of all, you have chosen the career you have, and have the ability to change it. That choice is yours. Second, even if you believe you "can't" change jobs for whatever reason, you still have choices that you can make within "professional attire." You choose the shirt, or blouse, or power tie or slacks that you wear. You have choices.

Now I admit, that I have hopes and dreams for LatteGirl that do not involve a uniform shirt, name tag, and the phrase "Do you want fries with that?" So perhaps I am projecting too much, but being a individual and giving my child every opportunity to grow is far more important to me than giving up my parenting responsibilities because a few parents are too lazy to make the effort to ensure their children know what is appropriate to wear to school.

I chose to be parent. I like being a parent. Including when it is difficult, or maybe even more when it is difficult. Because, I have a wonderful child that I want to grow up to be whatever it is she wants to be and not suffer because of the inabilities of others. Taking responsibility for your child's development. Is there anything more important for a parent?

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