Sunday, May 20, 2007

Kudos to the parents

I often talk about the kids and how amazing they are. I still believe that. They really are amazing! But, as I attended Kashia's ballet yesterday, I was reminded that behind every great kid is often a great and dedicated parent.

For the last four or five years, Kashia's mom, Chanel, has enrolled her four children in our After-School Academy. Chanel works hard to see that her kids have every opportunity to learn new things. She makes sure they are committed. She makes sure they show up. She makes sure to attend their performances and their competitions. She makes sure her fees are paid...even when it stretches her budget.

I'm guessing there are a lot more "Chanel's" out there than we realize. I often hear schools complain because of lack of parental involvement. While I do see some parents who aren't very actively involved in their child's life, I wonder if a big part of everyone thinking that low-income parents aren't involved in their child's life has to do more with 1) our definition of parental involvement, 2) the stereotypes that we let society feed us about low-income parents, and 3) the availablility and affordablility of resources that are interesting to the kids (not TAKS tutoring!).

The longer I know Chanel, the more I find out about how much time and effort she puts into her kids...and helps out with other people's children as well. If I were to just judge Chanel on what I see on the outside, I would never have guessed that she makes sure Kashia has a ride to ballet (Chanel doesn't have a car), makes sure Kendell is entered in our chess tournaments, makes sure to purchase her child's art at the art show so she can display it on her wall at home, throws a neighborhood birthday party for each of her kids, takes care of her friend's baby while her friend is at work, and so much more.

Do people make negative judgements about you based on your surroundings and your neighborhood? Do you wish they knew more about you? Do you realize you have so much more to offer than what people expect of you?

I encourage you to get to know the "Chanel's" around you. Your life will be better because you did. I know mine is.