Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day ... Parent-Volunteers

Another mom and I volunteered for the Halloween party today at the 4-year-olds’ pre-school. We played a game of “Stick the Face on the Mummy,” in which I chose children to come up one at a time--based on whether they were sitting crisscross applesauce with a smile on their face. My daughter sat very still with a smile—albeit fake—the whole time. My son, the life of the party, was goofing around a little—in a fun, harmless way. There was one other child—not mine—who was pouty today. She didn’t seem to want to participate in anything we did and certainly didn’t want to be the last kid to stick the face on the mummy. In my house, she WOULD have been last, and I would hope that if (and when) my kid acts that way, he/she would be the last to go, as well. But, instead, I chose my own children last. I thought about it after. Are kids, whose parents volunteer in the classroom and on the field, treated fairly?

When I was growing up, there was sort of a stigma with being the coach’s kid—that you got more playing time and preferential treatment over the other kids. I was not a coach’s kid, and never felt slighted with playing time, but I do think it happened from time to time.

But, today, everywhere I go where there is a parent volunteer, I see the volunteer’s kid get shafted. Parents are trying so hard to NOT give their own kid preferential treatment, that I think they are actually being kind of unfair. I see our kids’ soccer coach putting all the other kids in first, while his own kid consistently is the last to go into the game—and probably gets less playing time.

Now, today’s example at the Halloween party was not one where I think my kids were treated unfair. Certainly, if I was unbiased with no children in the classroom, I would have chosen the pouty girl last. Maybe that’s just some of the Nebraska tough-love in me. But, everyone got an equal shot, and I’m pretty sure my kids were not fazed. It just made me think.

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