The flipside to this joy has been rearing it's ugly head this week. We've had a few challenges with the yard supervisors this week and today was my breaking point. I had a long chat with our school principle this morning about the rules around the kids playing the snow. I started the conversation by saying "This is going to sound like a complaint but it isn't. I just need to understand the rules so I can help the kids respect them." He and I have had many conversations over the years, so I trust that he knows that I'll respect whatever rules they put in place, as long as they are consistent and I know what they are. I even volunteered to help suprvise if they need help. I'm not trying to be super mom. I just like to put my money where my mouth is, and be part of the solution.
Here's a short list of the school snow rules, as we've discovered them this week: The hill at the side of the school yard is out of bounds, even though it's in-bounds, "because someone might get hurt sliding down it." The sandbox in the middle of the yard is out of bounds "because it's covered in ice and someone might slip and fall." If it's not covered in ice, it's still out of bounds "because the sand is wet and someone will get dirty." They can't make piles of snow "because it might fall on someone and suffocate them." And, of course, they can't throw snow. In fact, they "aren't allowed to pick it up at all." Making snowmen seems to still by up for debate. Sometimes they can and sometimes they can't. It depends on who's holding the whistle.
Even though I don't agree with some of them, they are the rules, and I will teach my kids to respect them. This morning the rules didn't make sense though, so I had to say something.
Jonas got in trouble today for making a snow angel. That's right, a snow angel! In fact, it didn't even get that far. The yard supervisor asked him "not to lie in the snow", reguardless of the fact that he was bundled up well enough to survive an overnight in the arctic. "You might get wet" she said. Are you kidding me?!?! Like when I walked in on Jonas' meltdown at school on Tuesday, I was so thankful that I was there to witness it my own eyes. I never would have believed it if he had told me later. Shame on me, but I would have assumed that he was leaving something out of the story. (Now, I'm wondering which of the other school yard challenges he's been having are a result of this kind of thing.)
Jonas is very sensitive, and he feels picked on a lot. We're working with him on controlling and expressing his emotions better, but this time he was absolutely right. There were at least 100 kids playing in the snow around the yard, breaking all the rules I mentioned above. Six or seven of them were making snow angels in the same general area as him, but he was the one asked to stop. I'm not sure if his "trouble-maker" lable was part of the problem or not, but the supervisor took a visable step back when she realized that his mom was standing right there. She looked to me for back up, and back her up I did. Jonas said it wasn't fair. I looked at her and said he was right. Then I reminded him that the supervisor is the boss. If she says stop, he needs to stop. Period. Then I told them both that I'd talk to the principle to make sure we all understand the rules.
|Beware the lurking dangers of the snow angel!|
I also haven't forgotten what it's like to be a kid. Kids need to play. They need fresh air and exercise, and boo boos are going to happen. It's part of learning to take risks. That's part of our job as parents and teachers - to help them learn to weigh risk and reward, to look ahead at the consequences, and then decide if it's worth it. Yes, they have to be safe and they have to learn to respect authority and follow the rules, but we do them no favours if we don't teach them to think for themselves and make smart choices. And we hurt them just as much if we're overzealous and don't let them be kids and have fun.
Thankfully, the principle and I are on the same page. He's going to have a staff meeting at lunch to talk about the snow and the safety rules. He's not happy with it either. "Of course snow angels are ok!" he said. "What good is winter if we can't have fun in the snow?" Then he did something I wish Jonas could have seen. He dropped to the ground with my five-year old niece, and made a snow angel with her. He then thanked her and said it's the first one he's made all year. That's the spirit!!