Susan Gregory Thomas writes a great article, ‘Teachers Guide to Gen X Parents‘. Possibly the best description I’ve read as to how Gen X parents are experienced in a school context by educators and administrators, and then why they are as they are? To be honest, as a Gen X parent myself, I found myself very sheepish reading it. Having been fairly proud of my activity and involvement in my children’s school, I suddenly found myself being exposed with the possible truth behind all that ‘involvement’.
In preschool, we’re the ones anxiously arranging developmentally appropriate playdates for our Siouxsie-and-the-Banshees-T-shirt-clad three-year-olds. In kindergarten, we’re frantic that other parents’ children are starting to read cat and rat, while our Ruby and Dylan are still having trouble identifying lowercase letters. We think the gold-star system and its ilk are archaic and punitive, and we want to have a meeting to present our suggestions for alternative achievement systems.
By grade school, we’re demanding to know why the math program is not challenging enough for our child. We email our complaints about the seating chart. We openly deride the arts instruction and may rally other parents to the point of a coup d’état. By middle school, our kids have schedules and professional support staffs that resemble those of corporate lawyers. Look out, high school: We’re coming.
Thomas suggests the reason Xers as parents, are like they are, is because of their own school experience. Because we didn’t have, in our opinion, a great education experience, we’re determined not to let that happen to our own children. It’s not that we have any evidence that this is in fact what’s going on, we’re going to make sure there’s absolutely no chance it will.
We’ve been taking care of ourselves since we started going to school, and we don’t trust authority figures, because they weren’t trustworthy when we were growing up. Our parents didn’t know what was going on at school, and our teachers didn’t know what was going on at home. We’re not going to let this happen to our children — not even for a second. We’ll do whatever we have to do to make sure our kids get what they need.
One of those great articles worth reading. Be warned if you’re an Xer. It may knock you, as it did me, down a notch or two : )