Friday, April 28, 2006

Blessed Are the Slaves (er... Volunteers)

OK, ladies. I just have to clarify one thing. Just in case you think I truly mean that I will never volunteer for anything ever again (which I won't, clearly...) - - volunteering at your child's school can be a good experience. You just have to be choosy about what you do and how much of it you will subject yourself to. Volunteering in and of itself is a good thing. It's just that we must endure the wrath of the Muffia when we do it, and it becomes a dance with wolves, as it were. Having said all of that, I attended our school's volunteer appreciation gathering this week. It was quite nice, really, and the Muffia actually get points for good behavior (this time...). Additionally, the kids did an adorable, tear-jerking presentation designed to ensure that you "re-up" on all of your volunteer slave activities for next year. Very clever, indeed. And even though I see through the shameless attempt to further chain me to the school for yet another year, I have to admit. 1: It was adorable. 2: I love my kids and enjoy seeing them in their school environment when I'm there working as an indentured servant. So, without further adieu, I give you The Gratitudes (far sweeter when presented by 1st graders with upsidedown props, mind you)...
The Gratitudes
By Patricia McMillan
Blessed are they who go to meetings, For they meet with high approval from teachers and administration. Blessed are they who serve on committees, For they shall be known as leaders in commitment. Blessed are they who chaperone on field trips, For they carry out an essential role in our education journey. Blessed are they who work lunch and recess duty, For they actively participate in every child's favorite subject. Blessed are they who read with their children, For they shall receive words of praise form their teachers. Blesses are they who are Room Mothers, For they always will find room in the hearts of hassled homeroom teachers. Blessed are they who are fund raisers, For their efforts go toward raising up our academic excellence. Blessed are they who do every other thing under the sun to enhance the parent-student-teacher relationship, For they shall be called shining examples of living in the light of Christ. Blessed are they who share their time and talent in our school, For they are surely treasured by faculty and administration. OK, so now that you've read the above, here is my challenge to you. Don't write off any and all volunteerism at your child's school altogether. You have much to learn, grasshopper. Don't make the same mistakes that I have made in getting in over my head. Pick a SMALL number of activities to be involved in, and call it a day. You'll feel good that you contributed, and you'll preserve your sanity at the same time. Win : Win!!!!! So before we get carried away, let's add this line to the sappy poem... Blessed are the IDIOTS who sign up to do EVERYTHING, For there are not enough anti-depressants, vodka, therapy and panic rooms to accommodate them when they reach the meltdown stage - which they most certainly will. And when your kids get to the age when they visibly cringe when they see you: know this. Secretly, deep down, they really are glad that you're there. They're just too insecure to know it yet. It may take years of therapy before they figure that one out!

9 Comments:

Blogger R. Robyn said...

i love volunteering at the elementary school, maybe that's because I don't have any children. this may all change one day!

4/28/2006 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I came here for moral support, because the Muffia are *gulp* coming to my HOUSE on Monday. I have no idea how I got talked into that, something about it being EASIER for me, since I WORK all day, and I wouldn't want to have to leave my children with a sitter AGAIN.

And I know they're just using me, because it's the yearbook committee, and I'm a graphic designer.

Help me!

Designingmama

4/28/2006 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and blessed are the TEACHERS who are with the darling angels all day (doing many of the duties that volunteers do) every day for the entire year and are paid little to do it. plus they have to deal with the muffia, too!

4/28/2006 6:51 PM  
Anonymous j-yo said...

In their defense, every day I say a silent prayer of thanks to our school Muffia for all the good works they do. Thanks to them, we have a showcase garden courtyard (actually planted by kids led by a Muffia mom who tries to teach them conservation efforts), impressive murals (actually painted by the kids) and a PTA that can pretty much fund any curriculum request that teachers bring them (thanks to Muffia fundraising efforts).

And after prayer of thanks I breathe a sigh of relief that I am not one of them. I do volunteer at my child's school and understand that I'm making a difference, but if I ever start spending hours there on a daily bases, if I ever start hovering over school staff so ensure that they're doing their jobs properly or if I ever call the principal on her cell phone during the weekend, may lightening strike me.

4/28/2006 10:11 PM  
Blogger cmhl said...

I ADORE this.. so true...

4/29/2006 7:56 AM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

Very good advice. My daughter starts kindergarten in the fall of '07 but it's never to early to learn by the mistakes of the overachievers club.

4/29/2006 11:24 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I'm taking notes. I have MUCH to learn...

4/29/2006 1:20 PM  
Blogger AprilMay said...

LOVE it! I am so totally going to steal this to give to my volunteers along with their gifts(I teach 1st grade).

Yes, we teachers have to deal with the muffia too, but my WT volunteers make dealing with the muffia a wee bit easier! ;)

5/01/2006 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Kate the Shrew said...

I'm not anti-volunteering, and the school we're hoping to send Queen B to practically requires some hours. I just know I'm one of those suckers who would end up signed up for absolutely everything, if I wasn't careful.

5/02/2006 4:24 PM  

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