By: Janice Johnson-Plumer
As I rushed to take my son to football practice, I noticed I was the only parent there. There have been many times when I have dropped my son off, gone for a run, returned, and I still do not see any parents. The question I keep asking myself is, “Where are the parents?”
When I spoke with the coach, he mentioned I was the only parent he has seen. I then asked, “Well, how do the kids get here?” He said by bike, foot or scooter. Some of the players seem rather young. I couldn’t imagine letting my son walk to practice, let alone ride his bike. Sometimes I see carpools, but again, the parents are not visible at the games since they are working.
I remember my mother being present at all of my dance classes. She always watched me when I was cheerleading at football and basketball games. She worked part time, took care of the household and made sure my father had his dinner every night, but she still managed to be there.
However, these days, parents don’t seem to be visible anymore. More and more parents are working longer and harder than ever and do not have the time to take their children to extracurricular activities. And, more households are now headed up by single women. We’re also tired because we take on way too many responsibilities and put effort into having the latest and greatest items. Parents are stretched to the nines and it seems it will never let up. Even with one child, I feel I am at his mercy between basketball, football and summer camp. There does not seem to be not enough hours in the day.
With that being said, no matter how spent I am, I still manage to bring my son wherever he needs to be. As long as I have a vehicle and I am breathing, he will be taken where he needs to go. I can’t even imagine letting my son walk anywhere, especially with everything that goes on. You can never be too trustworthy.
I also notice the lack of parents presence at PTA meetings. Here is a great opportunity to be involved at your child’s school, and yet we can never seem to get parents to come and participate. You do not have to attend every meeting, but there are opportunities to volunteer and help out with little time required.
I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to be there to watch my son play sports, participate at his school, and just be present. I think that as parents, we feel our kids need the material things in life such as tablets, cell phones and the latest sneakers that cost an arm and a leg, but that is not the case. They want our attention, love and support, and you can’t put a price tag on those things. They just want us to be in the present and let them know we are there. I know there will be times when we can’t be, but we explain to them why and hopefully next time we will be there.
I am learning to be in the present with my son. One time I took my son bowling and the entire time I kept checking my phone for emails from work. My son looked at me and said, “Mom, please out your phone down and let’s bowl.” He had a point. With all the time spent on my phone, how much time was I really spending with him? I have learned to put the phone down and be in the moment with my son. I don’t want to ever become that parent where technology, material things and taking on extra responsibilities will lead me to not be there for my son.