It’s been -20 degrees in Chicago the last few days and every school, but one, has been cancelled. It just so happens that the one school that’s open is our kids’. Now that fact in itself is not blog worthy, despite how disappointing it may have been for our boys to be going to school when their friends in public schools weren’t. What’s beyond fascinating however is the reaction parents had to our school’s decision. Judging by people’s comments on Facebook you would swear people’s lives will never be the same! The drama and study in character has me shaking my head utterly amazed at the raw emotions a private school’s decision has ignited, not with just the student body, but mostly the parents of those students. If there was a way to bottle these emotions and uncork them in the Chicago atmosphere, I’m convinced we’d all be basking in the sun at the beach by noon!
A few background facts: Our school does not bus, meaning kids must be driven from their house to the school rather than standing outside waiting for a school bus. Once kids arrive at school they get dropped off in a covered parking garage just feet from the door. Now enter the drama. Hundreds, if not thousands, of public Facebook messages have been posted and replied to with people fully and publically stating their personal feelings regarding the school’s decision to open despite the extreme cold. Most, and certainly the most vehement posts, were from parents outraged (seems like a weak adjective actually) with the school’s decision. People cited the Governor of Illinois’ (who’s not in jail…yet) declaration to our state’s residents to stay off the roads the day before when there were threats of drifting snow. The problem with that argument however, was it wasn’t affecting the roads the day school was in session. People talked in very loud typing voices about the poor parents who lived far away from school and conceivably would have to drive longer (in a heated car). Unless of course, as one of the replies to that comment asserted “But what about the people who have far drives and DON’T HAVE HEATED VEHICLES!” How someone driving an unheated vehicle in January in Chicago is a school’s fault is beyond me, but I chose not to take the bait and engage. In fact I had many choice responses I kept to myself…until now.
What I wanted to say was “What about all the Amish families taking their kids to school in a horse drawn buggy, to a one room schoolhouse heated by firewood?” But I didn’t. Because instead of engaging on Facebook, I engaged my groggy kids instead, awakening them from their slumber to introduce them to the oh so cold reality of life. “GET UP, AND GET YOUR REARS MOVING!” As they were being driven to school in their luxury heated coach nonetheless, we passed the garbage man, the FedEx guy and a road filled with cars. You see, I send my kids to school to educate them on life, but I don’t rely on the school to be life’s education. If I was going to work, you better believe they were going to school.
You see, my job in the real world needed to be done yesterday despite the cold. The only people who didn’t show up to work were the mothers (why is it usually the mothers and not the fathers?) whose job was to be stuck with kids who had no place to go? (Unless it was to the mall, the movies, or the restaurants as some of those who choose to “stay home” and then posted the evidence for all to see.) Why does somebody else’s decision so greatly and severely impact people’s lives that they feel the need to vent their emotions so emphatically for the whole world to see, I ask? The school concluded it’s carefully crafted and much stressed over announcement with this apparently incomprehensible statement: “It is always a parent’s prerogative to keep your children home.” Apparently, what they should have also said was it’s also your prerogative, to rile up the world regarding your decision. I’d like to expose my kids to the real world, and on this day that meant driving them to school despite what the world was screaming at me about that decision on Facebook.
We are the teachers of our future generations. Stay warm but stay real for your kids who will one day be released into the real world.
The Pond Guy
P.S. We sent our kids to school and they came back saying it was one of the most fun days they had at school in a long time! I’m glad they got an education. Whatever they learned in the classroom that day however will pale compared to what they learned about the way the real world WORKS!