Monday, May 31, 2010

Present Your Request

Senior skip day… our daughter had hinted that she wanted to participate in this “rite of passage” and eventually asked straight out if she could skip school. We heard that everyone else was, as well as a group of friends were headed to an amusement park for the day and she really wanted to go with them. The problem on our end was that she had missed a few days last fall when that fever flu was going around, she missed a day for a family trip, a day for the adoption of Kyler, and she missed 5 days for her Habitat for Humanity trip to El Salvador. She was at the maximum of parent excused days before they label her truant and consequences begin. (Nice Young Mother of the Year material right there.) Our leaning was towards not letting her participate in this “rite of passage“.

Being a little unsure of the answer we should give her, I did what I do when I don’t really know what to do, I go to someone who has gone before me. I was sitting with my friend Kathy and explained the situation, then asked what she thought. Without hesitating she said to let her go. When I asked her why, she said that the experience would be meaningful and memory making during this very transitional time in her life. She was bound to get more out of that experience than she would sitting in school when most of the senior class was out. Hmmmm…something to think about.

One of the processes we have in our home is when you have a big request that you would like to make, you just may be asked to gather your thoughts, call a meeting and present your request to this parental unit. (Remind you Queen Esther?) This process allowed Courtney to have a parakeet for a pet when she was in 7th grade, have us consider a trip she wanted to make to visit a friend at college (the answer was no), and more.

What I like about the process is that the request has to be really well thought out and you have to be clear about what you want and why you want it. We also learn more about the thoughts and reasons in their heads and hearts than we might otherwise know. Sometimes they can change our minds, sometime they cannot.

The meeting date arrived last week and we were asked to gather at the computer as our daughter opened a power point presentation. Impressive. The slide show included friend testimonies, a slide called Teacher Tolerance with quotes from teachers (along with email addresses so we could confirm these were actual quotes), a slide giving data regarding an unscientific poll in class regarding who would be in school on senior skip day, a schedule of assignments she would miss while gone, a slide letting us know she had contacted the doctor’s office and they had granted a written excuse for the 3 days she was sick with the flu last fall(making the truancy issue disappear). It also explained why this was important to her and that she was willing to bear, without complaint, any consequences she would receive from the school.

I share this story with you because originally I didn’t think much about this process that we have, but when I stopped at the school to ask what the consequences would be if she skipped school, they explained the possibilities to me and then asked if I wanted to just give them her name and then I wouldn’t have to call in that day. I said, no, she has a presentation to make to us about why she thinks this is more valuable than being in school. They seemed impressed, commented with smiles about our making this educational and mentioned all seniors skipping should have to go through this process.

The other day someone said that kids today are so entitled. Well, if they are, then we have allowed that. I’m not advocating that we have given the right answer here to the skipping question before us, I’m just saying, lets not just hand our kids whatever they ask. Let’s help them become smarter advocates and less entitled.

Her request was indeed granted. Sometimes I surprise even myself with our answers. And now I enter into prayer for this group of kids as they make their way to the amusement park tomorrow. My heart will be anxious as I await the message that they have arrived safely. sigh...another topic for another day...still parenting while letting go.


  1. I learn from you every time I read your posts. So good, so true, thank you.

  2. Great wisdom here ... good mothering! (I think you should get permission to post that presentation from the daughter of the year - it could become a great resource for seniors around the world!)

  3. Sheri,
    I am SO glad you are in my life and I have the opportunity to witness your wonderful parenting skills. With my children younger than yours I look up to you with advice and always learn from your posts. You are amazing! Don't be surprised, as my kids get older, if you get a phone call from me asking for specific advice. I know if my kids turn out to be half as good as yours, I have done my job well. You have amazing kids, because you are an amazing mom (and dad) :) Thanks, Alicia Johnson

  4. So, the other day, my beloved husband said to me, "So, what is it like to have THE National Young Mother of the Year on your speed dial?" My response: AWESOME! So thankful that I have the privilege of learning from you AND walking alongside of you in this journey of life!!! AND so grateful that I was able to see Courtney's amazing power point presentation personally... that girl is incredible! They all are.... Love ya, friend! -Deanna

  5. This is good, Sheri! I will be sharing it with Josh. :) love you. Myah

    ps... I want to see the slideshow!

  6. Courtney and her friends made it safely home late last night. The safety of that group was on my breath all the while they were gone.

    I appreciate your comments. I am just another mom who loves to share her life - shiny, smart, good stuff...alongside humbling, sad, tarnished stuff.

    If you read this blog - thank you for your time. There is a lot of stuff to read out there and I am humbled to have you spend even a few minutes here at Mother of the What.

    If there is a topic you want to see written about here, drop a comment and I'll try to share my experience or thoughts.


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