20 November, 2007

Parents Baffle Me

This week is an anomaly; we have a holiday from ballet.
Well, at least the Diva does.
For me it is just another week of e-mailing and organizing. It is another week of reminding parents that they need to buy their tickets "now." Another week of promoting the Nutcracker to anyone and everyone who will listen. Just one more week in which I attempt to sell "words of encouragement/support" ads to the parents to help fund the printing of the program. As the head of the parents group, for me, the work doesn't stop until the Nutcracker ends.. and then, in January, it starts all over again for the May performance.
But this is work I love. This is work I do to ensure that the Diva knows that I support her dreams; that I am involved in her passion of ballet.
By the time all is said and done, I will have sent dozens of e-mail, circulated over 200 flyers, bought over 30 tickets for school friends and their families, and done all that I possibly could to support this production of the Nutcracker. The girls put so much time and effort into the performance, it is my pleasure to do all that I can to support the production.
But I am a rarity.
There are 48 moms and 48 dads with dancers at this school. Yet the work to support the production, all the volunteer work, is accomplished by less than 25% of the parents. Of those 25% the majority come from the Diva's class and the class below hers.
I find this beyond frustrating at times. I find it baffling and confusing.
The parents the volunteer are working parents. They put in their 40 plus hours in the office and then put in a few more hours at ballet. Why? Because this is what their daughters and sons do. This is the activity that they love.
I have yet to understand how parents can not help out? How can they sit and watch or do nothing? And we are talking "nothing." I know one mother who has been a part of this program for 4.5 years and who has never done anything to help. Nothing! Not even posting a flyer for the performance. We are seriously talking "nothing."
Yes, the tuition is high. yes, it is a lot to ensure your child is there at the right times and with the right clothes etc. But how can one not be actively a part of something that these dancers love so much?
I bite my tongue and do what needs to be done. I send my e-mail, ensure the flyers are distributed, annoy parents with the ballet reminders and information... and do all that I can to help out. I spend my Saturday steaming costumes... and when the performance arrives, I will sit back and watch the dancers perform knowing that I played some small part - knowing that they are doing exactly what they love doing.  The time I  gave is worth it to see how they shine on stage! 


Scotty said...

I know their kids notice.. I mean, 'why is xx mom/dad always here helping and mine arent?'

Makes you wonder what the parents truly care about. Is work, or something else, always more important?

They may not care now, but I can pretty much guarantee when it comes down to it, down the road some will regret not being there as much as they could have.

Bre said...

Scotty is right -their kids surely do notice - and I'm sure the Diva will look back at your involvement with a smile!

The Exception said...

Scotty and Bre - I just can't imagine not doing it. She spends so much time at ballet that I would never see her were I not involved... not to mention that I want to share it with her given how much she loves it.

Have the T-Shirt said...

I remember when my kids were in elementary school, it was always the same 25 parents out of the 450 student body, who did everything.

Honestly, parents don't know what they miss when they don't participate in their kid's school and extracurricular activities.

You send a message to Diva with your participation :)

The Exception said...

T-Shirt - That is exactly why I do it (and I want to share so I am a bit selfish... don't want to miss out on anything!) But why don't parents get it???

Scorpy said...

I'm the same with my girls and their passion for sport. I attend all of their trainings and games. I ensure that they get everywhere they need to be. I buy all of their raffle tickets and help with the other parents. It is a family thing and I miss it now that it is over for this season. If anything we had to cut back on their sport as they had three each and there just was not enough days in the week and many things collided :)

The Exception said...

Scorpy - You are my hero! The other part of my confusion is that more dads aren't involved.

Kat Wilder said...

TE — I used to be just like you; coordinating the school newsletter, setting up the book fair, volunteering in the art room, organizing 5th grade graduation and bake sales, etc., etc.

And then I stopped. Not that I don't take part in school activities; I do. But it was time for the younger generation moms and dads to take the helm.

But I need to make this observation, about making judgments about what one sees on the surface. Some families might be undergoing very private crises that sap their energy — alcoholism, mental illness, abuse, infidelities, whatever. Obviously that wouldn't be happening to all those families every year, but given how prevalent those realities are in society today, you never really know what's going onin those homes and why people don't participate in the way you and others do.

But I'm sure many just think, "Let others do it. I'll just keep writing my checks ..."

JustRun said...

It is a little sad, but every group or organization I'm involved in has this same trend. The difference in yours is the kids are their own, and they're still uninvolved. The kids will notice though; and they'll remember.

justacoolcat said...

I had no idea ballet was so much work. (other than the dancing)

The Exception said...

Kat - My intent was not to judge but to question possible reasons for not taking part in a one's child's passions. I am the first to admit that I do not know what happens behind the scenes of a family. That said, I do know parents that simply pay their money and move on - a concept I don't understand. I also think that those who have served their time in the trenches deserve the right to retire and let the next generation take a turn! ;)

JR - Imagine what could be accomplished if 50% or more participated in the little things that make things happen.

JACC - The ballet, like any theatrical production, requires hard work and lots of parents pitching in. So much happens behind the curtains to allow the stars to shine!

AaroN said...

Ah, the Nutcracker. Thanks for reminding me to check for tix!