By Sabrina Bartels – This past year, my husband and I vowed that we were going to watch all of the movies that were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars (for the record, we are missing Grand Budapest Hotel in order to complete our list).
One of the first movies we saw was Whiplash, with J.K. Simmons. In the movie, Simmons plays a tough-as-nails teacher who demands nothing less than perfection from his students. When he won his Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the movie, Simmons gave a thoughtful speech. The end, however, was what touched me the most. He told viewers to call their parents, not text or email them, but “call them and tell them that you love them.”
I work with parents a lot as a counselor, both during the school year and in summer. I do my best to be a liaison between parents and the school, and sometimes, the go-between for parents and their students. Sometimes, talking and working with parents is easy. Other times, it can be very difficult. Regardless, I think people usually remember the bad experiences they have had with parents.
That being said, this blog post is in praise of all the amazing parents out there, whose hard work, dedication, and devotion to their children sometimes goes unnoticed. I think about the parents who pick up the phone to talk to me about their child, no matter how frequently I call. I think of the parent who scolded me for not telling her I got married in October, and then sent me a congratulatory card. I think of the parents who always have smiles on their faces, or parents who always ask me how I’m doing.
I think of parents who drop everything to talk to me when it concerns their child, whether that means a phone conference, email correspondence, or coming into the building to meet with me. I see parents attending sports games, concerts, and dance recitals, even when they are completely exhausted and just getting off of work. There are parents who consistently give us their time, energy, and a listening ear whenever it is needed, and I am thankful for that.
And that’s what I really want parents to know: We hear you! We appreciate you! Without you, our school would not be the organization it is! Thank you for everything you do for us and for your students. We are so incredibly lucky to be working with you. We know that you work hard and want what is best for your kids; thank you for doing that! Thanks for being involved! I know your kids might give you grief about that, but really, it is so important that you stay involved in their lives.
Also, I want to let you in on a secret (that I’m sure many of you know!): Your kids may whine, scream, and “hate you” for being involved. They may think you’re nosy, or that you don’t want them to have any fun. But later on, they will realize that you were right all along. They may not be able to verbalize it, but at some point in their lives, they will turn around and realize that the best and most important friend that they’ve had their whole lives are you. Their families. It doesn’t matter if you are mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, or family friend. The sacrifices you have made and the love you have shown for these students is such a gift.
Middle school is one of the toughest years when it comes to being a kid. They really are. But by sticking to your beliefs, and raising your kids to have the same values, you are setting your children up for a wonderful future.
Thank you to all the wonderful moms and dads out there! And an especial thank you to my wonderful, selfless parents, who were on the receiving end of my middle school angst. Here it is, in print: I was totally wrong before. You were not out to make my life miserable; you were making sure that I walked forward in life with the right set of goals, values, and beliefs.
Expect a call from me soon – I love you!