Hello, TMS Parents, and Happy Spring!
Last week, during the Afternoon Student Showcase, I had an interesting experience that was, I think, typical of what many of us face each day as we try to balance the responsibilities of work and home with the needs of our children. My own daughter, a very proud Afternoon student, had, like all of her classmates, worked with tremendous focus in preparation for this unique evening. I’d heard bits and pieces from her and of course knew, from an administrator’s perspective, what the showcase would feature.
This knowledge offered no preparation for the impact I would feel as a mother. As the evening progressed, and I tried to move back and forth between my role as a director and that of a parent — sometimes shifting from second to second — I saw that this was one of the rare times when my daughter needed me to be completely hers. She needed my attention, my time, and the assurance that I saw — really saw — this culmination of so many weeks of work. And my attention wasn’t going to be real attention if it was divided.
No matter how logical it seemed, floating between roles wasn’t going to work, and perhaps it appeared odd that I didn’t visit the other classroom as I usually do, but it was a night to sit at the side of this one little person who had so much to share with me.
The love and pride I felt blended with a sad understanding that, from a child’s perspective there are those moments when our adult responsibilities overlap their precious moments, and the resulting strain can be felt by parent and child.
There are so many distractions that demand our attention. Psychologists and neurologists are studying the impact this is having on children; but many are also exploring the effect this change is having on familial relationships.
Our impulse is, perhaps, to hope that a natural solution will emerge, that our priorities will align organically with our schedules. Evidence is pointing to the possibility that this simply won’t happen for most families. We are all “wired” to notice that vibrating cell phone, to reply to that text, to answer that email.
One solution is to carve out time in a highly conscious and not entirely natural way, to clearly decide as a family that certain days or times of day are protected from all that distracts us. Another possibility, if a regular time is impossible, is to designate a specific phrase that your family can associate with special events or times (“phone free” … “family time”…). Even the youngest children will come to understand and value this effort.
I will remember the Afternoon Showcase as a night of wonder as I watched my daughter, who is growing so fast, and one of of recognition that these moments are fleeting, and they form many of the treasured memories we will carry with us into the future.
Wishing you all beautiful days of blossoms and warm weather,