Weekly Parenting Column by Jodie Lynn:
I am the room mom for my nine-year-old daughter’s class. I recently received suggestions from a couple of parents for holiday gifts for the teacher. They feel with today’s loss of income for many families, the kids should make small individual items. However, there are some parents who would rather buy their gifts and seem to be insulted by the suggestion. How should I handle this without taking sides?
Handmade gift items are usually well-received by anyone who gets them, especially most teachers. As a retired teacher, those are the one gifts I treasured the most and still have to this day. Anyone can run out and purchase a store-bought gift but knowing that someone has taken the time to create a personal item for one brings great appreciation and fondness. If some parents want to purchase products for the teacher from a store, let them. The teacher will be happy to receive whatever items the students offer. However, the students who take the extra effort and time for the homemade or handmade one will be forever remembered and etch a more vivid memory in the heart of their teacher. - Bette J. V. in Peninsula, NY
As the room mom, it is your responsibility to make the final decision on matters like this until the end of your term. However, it is also your to obligation to listen to the opinions of each parent, especially if they come together and offer a suggestion as a group. If most of the parents agree that homemade gifts for the teacher would work best for everyone's budget, then just go with the flow. Nevertheless, why not cover all the bases and write up a note offering a couple of gift-giving ideas, and include the option to buy one at the store, if that works best for individual families. There is absolutely no reason that would require everyone to do the same thing. This is the time of year when everyone is supposed to be grateful for what they do have and for what they can share. As we know, you can't and shouldn't hope to please all people at all times, so don't waste your time trying. If you decide to take on the worrywart role of people-pleasing, it will only lead to additional stress and frustration during the holidays. Don't worry about who is going to do what and there should really not be a need to even ask. The teacher will enjoy whatever is received and appreciate each thought behind each gift.
CAN YOU HELP?
My ex-wife drinks a five-hour power energy drink twice a day to get through work and night school. Last week, I caught my eight-year-old drinking one and she told me that her mom gives her one every morning before school. These are not even good for adults, much less for kids. I am very upset but am apprehensive about pointing out my opinion to my daughter's mom. The last thing I want to do is cause an argument or tell her how to raise our daughter as I know firsthand it doesn't work. What should I say to avoid the accusing, finger-pointing scene?
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