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Parents Inspire Me

It's 9:58 PM, and I am barely able to keep my eyes open as I watch the last few minutes of Housewives of Beverly Hills (don't judge me).  My son walks into my room and shoves a piece of paper and a pencil under my nose. "Mom, I need you to sign this."  I ask him what it is, barely able to form a sentence.  He says, "A permission slip for a movie we are going to watch in class."  I scarcely look at the paper and scrawl my name on the bottom.

Next semester, we will begin with Book Clubs.  I have numerous board approved books, but many students ask if they can read a different book.  I decided a few years ago that I would give it a shot, and it proved to be a good decision.  Students are much more engaged when they pick the book! However, I require all students to get a permission slip and encourage parents to really look over the book carefully to make sure it is appropriate for their child.  I say "appropriate for their child" because every child is different.   For example, what is scary to one child, may not be scary to another.  Parents know their child best, and it is up to them to decide what they deem appropriate.

A few days ago, a parent wrote me an email expressing concern over her daughter's book choice.  She had gone to commonsensemedia.org and read quite a bit about the content of the book.  I could definitely understand her concern.  I was not annoyed; I was touched-touched that a mother would take the time to actually research the book before making a decision.  She asked my opinion, and it was hard for me to answer.  Although I know her daughter as a student (an absolute jewel), I don't know her like her mother.  

The next day in class, I made sure to let the class that a few students might have to change books (NEVER make a student feel like they are the ONLY one).  I mentioned how fortunate they were to have parents who cared so much about them,  I mentioned that, after all, they were only 12, and it's up to parents to do what they feel is in the best interest of their child.  When I glanced over at the child whose mom had written me, I could swear I saw a faint smile.  

The mother ended up agreeing to allow her daughter to read the book.  She wrote, "This entire process has been a good learning experience for XXXXXX in many ways.  I have talked to her about the content, she has looked at the reviews on the CSM website, and she is aware to come to us with any questions.
Thanks for you help and guidance!"  

All I can say, is I was deeply touched by this parent and the relationship she has with her daughter.  Obviously it is one filled with communication, guidance, and love.  Parents like this are why my students are so amazing!  Parents like this make me feel guilty about signing that permission slip without reading it carefully. Parents like this make me want to do better!

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