Monday, October 04, 2010

An Open Letter to parents of my children's classmates

Dear Parent:

Greetings to you from our family!  I hope this finds you well.

I am writing in response to some recent news that has traveled from my third graders' mouth to my ears.  I felt it might be necessary to inform you that your child is a brat.  In addition, I also thought it might be helpful for you to know that no matter how badly your child treats mine, I refuse to teach my daughters to get back at your child, to treat her the same way, to talk meanly to or about your child.  

If I must be blunt... your child is definitely getting the good end of this situation.  I will never stop teaching my daughters to be kind.  To treat other kids respectfully and as she would like to be treated.  And I will certainly never, ever, find it acceptable for my child to act like your child does not exist.  Now none of this means that I am actively teaching my children to be doormats for your children, however, kindness and acceptance will always win in our family.  

I've heard the phrase "The one who cares the least has the most power in the relationship".  And while that seems to be a very accurate statement about human nature, and my husband and I can pick and choose when it is appropriate to embody that defense mechanism in our own lives, I know that my small daughters are unable to discern the proper times to enact that attitude.  Therefore, even though I really, REALLY want to teach them this horrible truth, I will refrain.  I will also refrain from teaching them to be self-absorbed and only care about how things affect them.  I find it appalling, really, that most grown-ups don't understand the effect that their actions have on the greater picture so I will do my darndest to teach my children that their actions affect all the people around them.  

Again, I find it necessary to point out that your child is really benefiting greatly from my parenting.  Not only does your child get to act however she wants, not only does she only need to care about herself, but MY child will treat your child with respect and kindness regardless of your child's behavior or attitude.  Congratulations on all of the advantages that your child has now and will always have in the future!  She will forever be lucky.

I'm sorry that she won't have the opportunity to build character that will be noticed by others.  I'm sorry that she won't have the opportunity to cultivate meaningful relationships with other people.  I'm sorry that she won't be trusted in her adult life because she hasn't learned to take responsibility for her own actions.  Those are tough prices to pay, but hey -   she's pretty special in third grade, right?  Thats what matters.

So I guess this is really a thank you note.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to teach my children these wonderful things.  My heart hurts tremendously and I have shed many tears, but my children are being refined by the fire that your child has lit.  Thank you.


Skooks 4:29 PM  

Oh Jana,

I'm sorry to hear there are some little brats taking out their bratiness on your sweet kids. Your letter made me laugh even though I understand that the actual situation is not funny at all. You can turn a phrase girl. That's for sure.

Mommy Brain 6:15 AM  

Oh, how I've wanted to say that many many times! But never so eloquently! Thank you for the reminder of why we parent the way we do...because when you are stuck in that situation and the other child is getting the's so hard. I hope your girls never have to learn not to care...or at least I hope they don't learn that too soon.

Parenting sucks sometimes...especially when the other adults who should be helping are just making everything so much worse.

Be strong mom.

Alyssa and Ron 3:09 AM  

WOW! I just happened to see the title of your post on a friends blog and it got me curious. I do not know you, I don't think. I thought I was alone in these feelings. The good, that I am not. The sad, that there are more children in this world who can hurt, ignore, gang up on, and treat other young children so mean. Sorry to hear that your cild is experiencing stuff like this. They are not alone, however she is, like you said, on the right side of the fence in this. Although unfair what a great opportunity to share with your child how to show love to those who are the ones hurting. Maybe this child's famiy is experiencing turmoil and it has rubbed off onto the child. :( Great post. I may have to direct some friends to this. I love it. Well written.

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