It Ain’t Sexy, But It Works
Are you living an accountable life? I won’t presume to tell you what you should be accountable to. You get to decide, and you can keep it a secret. But, whatever it is, are you living up to it? By that I mean, do you follow the rules when no one is watching? None of this “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” crap; there couldn’t be a more destructive concept to the fabric of our society, in my opinion. Sure, it’s funny. I like funny. But a joke shouldn’t guide your moral compass.
Accountability is a bedrock, a foundation, a cornerstone. It comes from within, and it is individualistic and collective. You can be accountable to your deity, your country, your spouse, your employer, yourself, or, even better, all of the above. Kids can add “to parents and to their schools” to that list.
I have a confession: I am not always 100% accountable. I get lazy. I get complacent and think no one is “watching.” Consider parenting, for example. Isn’t enforcing accountability with your kids — day in, day out — one of the hardest things to do as a parent? I think it is. We remember them as the precious toddlers they used to be. We want to be the fun parent occasionally, instead of the drill sergeant. We have a 7:30 a.m. client call, so when they walk out the door late on their way to school we think, “well, she deserves the consequences the school dishes out,” but we don’t follow-up to ensure they occurred.
Some days, I’m just so damn tired. As a parent, I am the one who is to be the example to follow, the motivator, the monitor, the enforcer, and the cheerleader. But I check-out occasionally and find my attention to the details, the little “tells,” has slipped a notch. I lack accountability.
I want to raise responsible kids. Kids who follow the rules even when the homeroom teacher isn’t turning her attendance roster in to the administrative office. Even when the school isn’t handing you demerits for the tardies and absences as they rack up.
The assistant principal of my almost-13 year old daughter’s middle school called last week to tell me that Sami had THIRTY-TWO unexcused tardies and absences to homeroom. Unbelievable. But here’s a kicker to the story — they decided they weren’t going to do anything about it except give her two demerits, because they had failed to follow their own policy. (Oh believe me, we were holding her accountable at home already — she may not leave the house until she’s 30)
So I did something unthinkable last week. I asked the school to hold my child more accountable. I asked them to reconsider raising the consequences to my child. Am I the first parent in the history of this middle school to make this request? I hope not. The real question is, will they do it? Because I am serious: I don’t feel I can afford to let them show my impressionable daughter that she escaped accountability to the school.
I can’t wait to tell you the whole story, on Wednesday.
Done with my rant until then,