Now I am not the most shrinking violet on the planet, nor am I one to go overboard with emphatic sympathies, or over enthusiastic jumping up and down to good news, whether it’s my own, or someone else’s.
I went to see a show at a childrens school yesterday, and it was very very good. They were all physically or mentally disabled children, and the passion and the effort they and their carers put in to make it such a special show was inspiring.
One of the songs that they sang had the words “wow that’s amazing.” And they were amazing. I had a tear in my eye as I left the building at how happy and contented the children all were, and how much they were all supporting each other in what they were doing. All the way through, children had massive beaming smiles and looked the picture of happiness in what they were doing.
Parents were chatting to each other, many animated at how well the show was put together. Yes, there were scenes of forgetting lines, and scenes of sheer panic, but they helped each other out and encouraged one another.
What on earth has this got to do with waiting at the school gates??
Fast forward 4 hours and standing at the gates of a regular primary school, the parents are all standing in their cliques, sometimes gossiping, sometimes rattling off about what annoys them at school, and sometimes just passing the time of day. What is really obvious is the amount of parents standing alone. They are not the cliques, and nobody is speaking to them.
As a rule at the mainstream school, the atmosphere outside and among the parents is dependent on where your social standing is. Those of the “right” age group, with the “right” level of bright children, or the “right” lifestyle that fits in with the cliques will find their way into like minded or childrened cliques.
Standing alone are all the parents with children who don’t fit into the “right” mould to fit into any clique. Their children might not be clever enough, or fast enough, or bright enough, or they may not wear the right clothes. The parents may be shy, or embarrassed, or scared to approach a bubble group. In my time, I have been a clique member, and currently I am a stand alone member who has a couple of parents who go out of their way to say hello to me.
What I am going to challenge everyone to do, whether you are in a clique, or whether you are a stand alone parent, is spend a day at the school gates, either morning or afternoon (or both if you want to ) and go and speak to at least one person who stands alone. Then come back and tell us all about it through your blog post, and add a linkie or leave a comment with the blog address.
You may be rebuffed, or rebuked, or ignored, but it’s the effort you put in that might make the day of the person you simply said hello and smiled at. They may not trust you, but hey, that’s their problem. Some of you may find a great new friend who is shy and embarrassed. And some person who is not coping with their lot in life may go home feeling half a percent better because someone spoke to them and gave them a smile, even if it was a scowl that they got in return for it.
I am not going to “tag” anyone specifically, but I’d love to see any experiences, or feel free to add a feel good school related project from a blog post that you have already written.