Monday, April 19, 2010

In which I feel like a foreigner. Or a liberal. Or something.

They had a parents' meeting at school today. Usually I find them A) Boring, because they address all the same stuff every time, and B) Encouraging, because they reinforce that the school has a positive, caring approach to education.

Today was all of that and more, where "more" is comprised largely of pretty basic psychology with which I don't disagree ("It's not your job to make your child happy, it's your job to provide your child with the tools with which to build his/her own happiness!"), but which I don't really need to sit in a very hard, too-small chair to nod along to.

There was also the requisite head-shaking at Society Today (TM) where, it seems, children think they can have it all and parents want to give children everything they, the parents, didn't have as kids. Except, of course, for those of us who had more growing up than they can currently provide to their children. Really I'm okay with it; we do have what we need and some extras, but I don't really need to be preached at about buying kids All The Latest Gadgets and watching them go un-played-with, TYVM. On a tiny, hard chair.

Plus, while I generally consider the school to be fairly progressive, we did hit a couple of snags this evening. It seems Society is in transition from a sexist society to...umm. NOT a feminist one, certainly not! But, well, something else anyway. It's very conFUsing, apparently. Do boys open doors for girls or do they don't? Do they pick up the tab on a date or will they get the evil eye for suggesting it? Apparently these are still Very Difficult Questions.

I had the unanticipated opportunity to make my own small pitch for Feminism and Fairness today, when the ballet class was discussed and I suggested that, next year, the girls be allowed to wear the same "uniform" as the boys. Currently, the girls are required to buy $25 worth of leotards and tights, plus the shoes which I don't even know how much those are because Julia's still fit. Plus a bun. The bun is very important.

Boys wear tank tops & shorts.

I suggested that girls are expected from a young age to invest time and money in their appearance, and that for the purposes of the dance class, what is really required is freedom of movement, which might be afforded by, say, tank tops & shorts.

The response was twofold: But it's ballet. So the ballet clothing Must Be Worn. However, of course we aren't going to be putting leotards on boys. Heavens no. Either the boys (in some cases) or their parents (in others) would never stand for that. The end.

There was also a question from the mother of a boy with shoulder-length hair, who has apparently been spoken to about Personal Presentation. This was answered with appropriate discussion of general personal grooming and such, but there was also a bit of "well, as long as it's not too long. I mean, it's not like we've had a boy who wanted his hair down to his waist."

I rather hope they get one. Or that Phillip becomes one.

Anyway. I still like the school very much and I think it is more progressive than most, (especially around here and within my budget). But jeez. Between the dumbed-down, feet-on-the-ground "it's okay to have your own needs" psychology (Which, again--not disagreeing, just been there and back and had other things to do this evening and softer chairs to do it on) and the not-quite-there-yet with respect to certain elements of feminism (like, for instance, being comfortable with the word "feminism"), I guess even in a parents' meeting at a Montessori school I'm The Liberal One.


Kit April 20, 2010 12:37 PM  

I agree about the ballet - here the girls seem to have to take it very seriously from the word go and wear make-up for performances and stuff as well as all the right gear.
My girls never got to go because we live too far out to make it feasible.
Now they're having riding lessons though - another hobby with very expensive accessories, but not sexist at least!

NameChanged April 20, 2010 3:48 PM  

I'm nearly always the liberal one, but for some reason I always forget before I open my mouth. Then I'm left with agape mouths and stares.

Great post, btw.

Steve April 20, 2010 6:24 PM  

i think you were just cranky because of the small hard chair!

i really dont know how any parent does it these days but i know you're a great loving nurturing parent and hopefully that counts for something (as I will need your sway in the future with out soon to be Costa Rican Overlrods)

The Cunning Runt April 26, 2010 8:37 PM  

"Montessori school" appearing as it did at the end of this piece, I was taken aback - guess I thought there would be system-wide standards, and our local Montessori schools are pretty PC.

But then, "PC" must have a cultural context, and I'm only familiar with the local stuff.

Good on you for nodding agreeably through the butt-aches.

Beth February 17, 2011 5:09 PM  

yup. I totally get ya!

Although Sam's school is pretty good in many ways, there is all this subtle and sometimes un-subtle crap which makes me sigh and feel cross!

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