Many years and career changes later, I became very fortunate to have worked with some of the most talented and incredibly innovative people in the education system and the non-profit world. As the assistant director of the PIRC (Parent Information and Resource Center) project several years back, I learned the true meaning of parent involvement and its many forms (Please read my article on Building Relationships with Your Child's School without Going to School). The truth is, I didn’t know then what I know now.
- I could never be that parent who attended meetings at school, but I made sure my daughter’s homework was done. We studied and worked on projects together, and I read to her and with her all the time.
- I couldn’t join the PTA, but I made sure my daughter was healthy, loved, and looked after by responsible, caring, and trustworthy caregivers. As a bonus, Samantha learned to speak fluent Spanish by the age of three from a phenomenal Colombian woman named Amparo. Samantha sounded like a Colombianita (little Colombian girl). I laughed one day when Amparo’s young son was annoying her, and I heard my three-year-old, New-Yorican daughter say to him (with the thickest Colombian accent): “Deja de molestar me, hombre!” Translation: “Stop bothering me, man!” It was just as funny to have her correct my Spanish!
- I couldn’t volunteer to chaperon class field trips, but I took her on day trips to New York City. That is, we took the seven train from Queens to Manhattan! We were Queens’ girls, but we visited museums, the Statue of Liberty, FAO Shwartz (just browsed – but still had fun), Central Park, and other great places together.
- I couldn’t donate money, or buy any of the items that Samantha’s teachers requested, but she was always well-prepared for school with the supplies needed.
In short, I was a member of an elite group of parents better known as the “Invisibly Involved Parents.” We may not have been able to be visibly present at the school and district levels, but we did show up and step-up to teach our children the value of education, good study habits, and what it meant to be a good person. I’m proud to say that Samantha, now twenty-five years old, is a caring person who is always polite, has a heart the size of Texas, and attends college in pursuit of her dreams. Samantha is one of the best people I know. And although, I had no choice but to miss out on some really cool events held at her schools, I still chose to be involved in loving, nurturing, and supporting her into the lovely, young lady she is today. I'm not a sole member of this magnificent group. There are many parents whose work demands limits or eliminates the possibility of their participation at school events or activities. However, that didn't stop them from raising children of great character or being strong sources of support for their child's school. They are "Invisibly Involved Parents,” and their involvement is resourceful, powerful, and built with a results-oriented culture that any school would be proud to know.
© 2015 Sensory Friends