There was a social reading event organized for adults. One by one they took turns and read out of their high school diaries written over 20 years ago. The audience cringes with empathy and chuckles over the shared embarrassment of their teenage selves. The drama, the emotions, the childlike perspectives of life. So mutually embarrassing.
This was a real event. People volunteered to participate in this.
As a mother attempting to seriously advocate for my children and other children in an education system void of accountability and supervision, I was left on my own. I look back at my emails written to staff full of emotion, impulsivity, and powerlessness. Pleads and negotiating to an untouchable system. Like Bambi on ice trying to find my legs.
My emails read like those embarrassing teenage diary entries. Cringeworthy.
School districts all over this province and country use the deep love we have for our children and weaponize it as a tool to hold over us and against us. They are very strategic about ignoring us and just sitting back and waiting for us to lose it. They wait for us to send those emotional emails so they can all point their fingers at us, at our wrong behaviour and weakness.
They even have legislative powers over parents written in the School Act without an appeals process. Talk about power!
What happens reminds me of what happens with many of our kids. They are emotionally dysregulated, in survival mode, impulsive, and they do something that they feel embarrassed about and regret later. Everyone points fingers at how wrong this child is behaving. No one looks at the pond. No one examines the trigger. Kids don’t go to school in a silo. They are surrounded by other children, who either intentionally or unintentionally are triggering. Don’t even get me started on the bullies who purposefully find it entertaining to poke the kids who are responsive for pure amusement.
You should read all my emotional impulsive reactive emails I have sent to the school district, the Ministry of Education, to the Teacher’s Regulation Branch and to Ombudsperson. You won’t feel so alone. You’d shrink in your chair along with me.
Districts poke the bear with parents. They will use silence and delay to create the pond. They will use their power. They will lie and gaslight you. Then they’ll just sit back and watch the show. Any emotional move from a parent and the spotlight is on you.
Many parents, justifiably shrink and move away. Embarrassed. Ashamed. Feeling little. Powerless.
When advocating for your kids, you need to be willing to fall flat on your face and be vulnerable, and yet get back up again and keep going. Just like our kids are always on the stage of over examination and judgement of every move they make, so are we. Solidarity little ones. Us too.
I am NOT shrinking from those emails. I OWN my impulsivity and emotional throw up.
I have figured out the system.
Those emails feel like a lifetime ago.
I wear them like a badge of honor. They are evidence of how far I have come. The skills I have learned. The knowledge I have gained. My understandings evolving as I begin to understand the rules of the game. They are part of my story. My beginning. My attempts. My learning.
I will wear those emails and show them to anyone.
You want to know why????
They are the secret door that leads us all to the pond. I am not just a frog jumping chaotically from pad to pad. I am navigating through an electrified pond.
You want to start questioning me and victim blaming me? Let’s do that. Let’s talk about all of it. Let’s pick through every little sentence and examine every little word. I am not shrinking into the dark. I will boldly walk straight into the spotlight with all those emails pinned to my clothes.
I am human.
I am a mother and I love my children.
My love for them is not my weakness. It is my strength.
Just try me.