Bizarre Education Story of the Week – by Elaine Sigal


As a parent and a teacher, I have some bizarre stories. I thought that I would share some of them with you on a weekly basis – Wednesdays. Either you can laugh or cry, commiserate or get mad, or comment away. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

My first story is about PDAs – Public Displays of Affection. I will admit that our family is touchy feely. We hug and kiss, both in private and in public. I have three sons, and they still hug and kiss their parents! As I dropped off yet another – lunch left behind on the kitchen counter – my son said, “Thanks, Mom.” He then gave me a quick kiss on the cheek and went on his merry way. He was in middle school at the time.

Later that afternoon, I received a call from the principal of the school. Was he reprimanding me for yet again bringing a forgotten lunch to his school? Was he not happy that I delivered it as the students were in the halls going to lunch? Was he trying to recruit me for yet another volunteer job? Nope! Not at all. He wanted to suggest that my son needed some psycho-therapy sessions, because, as he said, “It is not normal for a middle school boy to kiss his mom in public.” Really?

I actually asked my son about this. Yes, I asked him that afternoon. His response, “I love you. I kissed you on the cheek. If Mr. Smith doesn’t like that, too bad.” I asked him if his friends would ever tease him about something like that. “I doubt it, but I really don’t care.” Does this sound like someone who needs help to you?

For me – I never stopped kissing or accepting kisses from my children. Why should I? Were the cultures that this principal was familiar with and mine different? Maybe. Were his ideas of childrearing different from mine? Absolutely. Did I lose respect for him as a principal? You bet I did. I actually wrote the principal a letter about his action. Imagine how a shy, trusting parent might have interpreted his comment? I shudder to think about it.

Bottom line: Teachers and administrators know a great deal, but they do not know everything. You are the parent. Learn to trust yourself and your judgment. I am glad that I did.


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