An Open Letter to My Fellow Kindergarten Parents
Dear Fellow Kindergarten Parents,
The days leading up to the first day of kindergarten are infamously emotional for parents, but this year they're even more so.
I don’t know about you, but I am confusingly heartbroken. My heart bursts wide open with the realization that my child is a brilliant little boy who is ready to step into the next 13 years of schooling but at the same time, my heart breaks that my boy will be starting this exciting new chapter of his life in the middle of a global pandemic.
My husband and I feel like we’re on information overload. We’ve researched, prayed, attended virtual school board meetings, sought out the advice of our parents, and of fellow parent friends and we still don’t know if the decision we're leaning toward on how our son will be educated this year is the right one. We feel like whatever choice we make means leaping into a net filled with holes.
There is no doubt that the ultimate decision we make will be met by scrutiny from someone. If we send our son to school for in-class education, some will say we’re putting his health at risk and that we’re unloving parents. If we decide on synchronous online learning there will be those who criticize that we should just send our boy into the classroom while others will tell us that we’re doing nothing but causing damage to eyes by making him look at a computer screen for long lengths of time. And, if we decide to homeschool, there will be those who tell us that we’re ill equipt to take on the challenge and that we’re depriving our child of social interaction.
Time to grow some thick skin, huh? However, we all know how much easier said than done that is. None of us want to be labeled as those parents with that kid and so we allow social pressures to sway our decisions.
Here’s what I do know. The decision that my husband and I make for our child may not be the same one you make for yours, but that doesn’t mean that one of us is right and the other is wrong. It doesn’t mean that we’re bad parents or that we don’t care. Quite the opposite. I’m guessing that like me and my husband, you have lost countless hours of sleep thinking over and researching the pros and cons of each option placed in front of you and the long term effects each may or may not have on your child.
Fellow kindergarten parents, I’m scared too. And I’m not just scared that we’re making the best decision for our child, but I’m scared about the kickback from those who don’t agree with our decision. I think about this situation so often during the day that I feel like I’m on an anxiety-filled rollercoaster ride and I just want off. These are strange times that we’re living in though. None of us have ever lived through something like this before and God willing, we never will again.
So fellow kindergarten parents, I’m going to tell you something that I keep telling myself. We’re doing a good job and the opinions of others don’t matter. Whatever decision YOU make for YOUR child will be the right one. There is no single expert, educator, family member, or friend who has the right to tell you that the decision you’ve made is right or wrong. It IS instead, their obligation as decent humans to support your decision and to do so with compassion. I will support you. It is not my job to judge you just as it is not your job to judge me. It IS our job to do what’s best for our own child and to recognize that others are doing the same.
So, fellow kindergarten parents here’s to me and here’s to you. We will get through this and we will be better for it and so will our babies.
A Kindergarten Mom