School is about to start, a nerve-racking time for square peg children (those who don’t easily fit into the school system) and their square peg parents (those who are willing to buck the system and advocate for their children’s long-term well-being).
If you, like me, have “square peg” children who do not easily fit into the round peg school system, then you just might find these resolutions of interest.
If you, like me, believe that schools need to change to accommodate alternative learning styles and to emphasize alternative skills, such as creativity and critical thinking, then these resolutions just might speak to you.
Five New (School) Year’s Resolutions:
(1) I will not get angry at my kids for their performance in school or allow my family life to be dictated by school
Commentary: As the famous Pink Floyd song tells it, school is just “another brick in the wall.” Yes, it’s an important brick. But more important than school is providing a supportive family atmosphere that gives our kids the time and space necessary to identify their passions and become their best selves. Not every kid is on the same growth trajectory--thank goodness!--and parents need to allow for these differences even if schools don’t. Family, more than school, is the foundation upon which all other bricks are laid.
(2) I will not give my children the impression that their future success relies entirely on their grades
Commentary: Square peg kids must know that they have more than one bite at the apple. A grade is a teacher’s assessment of a kid’s ability to regurgitate information, not the penultimate commentary of a child’s self-worth. Many, many “poor students” become highly successful adults. A kid not ready for their college of choice at age 17 may be ready in two years. The world is far more forgiving of late bloomers than school. Let’s help our kids know that.(3) I will approach meetings at the school with the principal, guidance counselor and teacher with a sense of proportion and humor, and not feel guilty because my kids don’t perfectly conform
Commentary: A meeting with school officials can be very stressful for square peg parents because they know the purpose of the meeting is for the school to do everything they can to get their children with the program, and that the meeting will force the parents to walk a fine line between allowing children to grow at their own rate and placating the school. School officials mean well. They genuinely (but wrongly) believe that your child’s ability to conform to the system is hugely important to their future success. But they also want to make it as easy as possible on themselves. The classroom is set up for average kids not outliers. Your goals for your children and the school’s goals may not perfectly align. School officials are not your boss. You have agency. Listen to their advice but take it with a grain of salt.
(4) I will help my kids identify their passions and become better at what they care most about.
Commentary: Schools are set up to get every child to code, not (unfortunately) to help your child develop a love of learning, identify a sense of purpose and to become passionate. We parents have a critical role to play in guiding them.
(5) I will work to transform the educational experience for my children and other children, for my country and the world
Commentary: Let’s channel our passion for our own children to help improve learning for all children.