Have you ever done something completely out of your comfort zone; something so unlike your usual behaviour, without a second thought or hesitation, all in the name of your child?
If you can answer yes to this question then you’re like me, thousands of other parents and the character Kristina from the hit TV show Parenthood.
I’ve been a fan of this show since it first aired. I quickly became caught up in the lives of the characters as they made their way through child rearing, relationships and career challenges. When Kristina spoke the line “…haven’t you ever wanted to be a champion for your kid?”, I began writing.
Kristina was advocating for her son Max who has Asperger’s Syndrome. A large part of the show focuses on Kristina’s family and their challenges. One doesn’t need to have a child with autism to identify with them. Aspects of their story are easily relatable and you’re able to put yourself in their position. You will find yourself cheering them on and asking the question ‘what would I have done?’
Kristina’s words struck a chord with me because the other day I did something that surprised me a little. I picked up little S from school and began a quick chat with one of her teachers to get an update on her day. S has been going through a ’testing’ phase both at school and at home so we’re used to getting some not-so-great feedback at the end of the day. It’s usually no big deal. My husband and I will chat about it at home and decide on our action plan if any. On this day, though, the feedback was delivered in a way that seemed unprofessional and unfair to little S. This caused me to feel that on this particular day, from this particular teacher, S wasn’t getting the best treatment possible.
This made me
mad furious! I know things can’t be perfect at any school or daycare and my child is not perfect either, but I still expect the best care possible for my little girl. For that reason I let her have it voiced my concern. I wasn’t rude or unprofessional. I just expressed how I felt. This is something that I find difficult. I hate conflict and will often try to avoid it.
I started with a comparison of S’s current teacher with her teacher from last year who “was so great at dealing with S.” I then went on to state that it was rather obvious that she (her current teacher) was getting frustrated with little S and that she was the professional who should know what to do. I also made some reference to government regulations (based on a statement the teacher had made about being alone).
When I got home, I reflected on the event and wondered from where the courage came and from where the words had emerged. Now I know. I was being a champion for my child, and when you’re playing the role of champion, not much can stop you.
I’d love to fill you on the rest of this story, but the end has not yet happened. My husband and I will have a meeting with her teachers later this week where we will discuss the issues that upset us. At this point it seems that her teacher was getting frustrated at being a teacher, which while understandable; the fact remains that neither student nor parent should ever pick up on that.
There are some battles we will have to let our children fight for themselves and there are some where we, as parents, will have to gear up, armour and all and be the champions.