I am generally annoyed today. Annoyed, in general, I guess. Chalk it up to a bad mood and not quite enough sleep. Regardless, this has been bugging me lately, but I will try to discuss without letting my foulness take over. Ahem.
Something about my daughter’s new school has ticked me off repeatedly. I am pleased with the school as a whole. I think her teacher is very kind, and kindness is one of the most important qualities a kindergarten teacher can have. I’m trying to take a laid back approach to deciding how things should be, but one thing keeps popping up.
Rewards. And selling. And using the children.
I’m a book fair supporter. I’m a school supporter. I’m a book lover. I’m a future published author. (OK, not yet, really, but you can’t prove me wrong.) I love my children.
It makes perfect sense for me to support the school, the book fair, my children and authors by buying a few books at the book fair. Hell, I’m even donating my time to work at the book fair. I thought I was doing my part.
Then Maggie brought home a paper from the book fair/school. The children had the opportunity to “go shopping” and have an adult help them write down the titles of the books that are on their wish list.
And now I’m left to explain that we aren’t going to buy character books for $12.95 each. Why not? Because that, to me, is a lot of money to spend on something I wouldn’t normally buy for my child that I am being pressured into buying for her because she brought home a piece of paper and now thinks she will be getting said books.
She’s 5, people. Come on.
So today was her class’s shopping day at school. I was to send in her money for whatever we would like to purchase. Except I didn’t. I don’t know if she’ll be the only one not buying a book today, but I’m not biting.
I will look over the books she has put on her wish list when I work the fair on Thursday. If I can stomach either of them, I may purchase one. More than likely, I will purchase a few books, but books that aren’t flashy, branded, eye-candy.
And if it weren’t books, I might not buy anything. I’m the type of person who likes things straight up and honest. Don’t manipulate me. And for pete’s sake, don’t manipulate my child.
If it were the only instance, I would be more likely to ignore it. I am happy to donate money, time and anything else I have to give to worthwhile causes. (Just ask my husband, who thinks I don’t value my time nearly enough.) But don’t tell the class they will get a trophy for the most parent participation. They have no control over parent participation. At least, they shouldn’t.
Don’t reward a class for doing something that is in itself a good thing. That is setting a dangerous precedent. Thank them for participating. Show them that good deeds are not rewarded with monetary compensation.
We collect box tops because the school gets 10 cents (holy hell, my laptop doesn’t even have a cent key anymore) for each box top. That’s a lot of money. I don’t buy products just for the box top, but if it’s something we use anyway, sure, I’ll participate. But don’t reward the children with ice cream for the most box tops. That takes away the value of saving them in the first place.
We donated to the school during the big PTO drive at the beginning of the year. That’s between the PTO and us. Don’t drag my child into it by having a contest awarding a big party to the class who donates the most. She’s five. She doesn’t understand the concept of money, let alone understand she is being used as a means to an end.
I want to be involved and supportive at Maggie’s school. I want her to have fun, learn and grow without a carrot being dangled in front of her. Is that too much to ask?