Something My Children Will Never Have to Write

by Telling Dad on April 9, 2011

While waiting in the halls for our Parent/Teacher Conference I was perusing artwork hanging on each classroom’s wall display. Some boards talked about springtime, some about bullying, some about being a good helper. But one in particular struck me.

The theme was “Playtime” and it was meant to show all the wonderful things kids can do with their parents aside from video games and television. The children cut paper in the shape of a foot to drive home the message of activity. Gardening, baseball, hiking, going to the park, walking the dog…these were some of the common messages shared by the 4th graders.

It was sweet.

Until I came across this footprint.

Does your heart not break for this child? I hope his or her mom sees this, assuming she shows for the conference, and feels every bit as guilty as she should.

No child should feel this way. Imagine reading all of the fun and exciting things all the other moms and dads are doing with their children only to feel neglected yourself? I just want to show up and take this kid out to the park. To feel that strongly to where you can’t even make something up to veil the loneliness? Heartbreaking.

My children will never have to feel this way. Sure, they feel we’re ignoring them if we don’t answer the call for a PB&J within 9 seconds of the request, but I know they’ll never feel like they were strangers in their home when they grow up.

Alas, the art exhibiting wasn’t all gloom and doom. The fine child below was all too happy to share the following on his classroom’s Happy-Go-Lucky “I’m a Bucket Filler Because…” display:

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Gena Morris April 9, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Aww how sad!!! :(

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The Animated Woman April 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm

My heart is breaking for that kid…

Glad I stopped by. By the way, 9 seconds is a long time to wait for PB&J. Your kids are really patient.

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TQND April 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Parents do not realize how far just a little attention goes. Let’s just hope the mom comes around. Children have a way of getting attention, regardless of whether the parents are giving it or not.
One thought that comforts: I’m certain that the teacher, after seeing this, is showing some extra love.

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Jennifer April 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm

I hope at the very least the teacher took the kid aside and gave him or her some words of encouragement, Lord knows you can’t give out hugs anymore.

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Mary April 9, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Oh my. I am a SAHM to a 3 year old and 5 year old. I do not feel guilty for this kid. Seriously? Kids can be manipulative. Maybe I should but I can SO see my 5 year old saying something like this just for the laugh of it.

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Kadi April 9, 2011 at 9:12 pm

I’m choking back tears for that little guy or girl. If this is really the case, as it most certainly seems to be, it is a terrible thing. And even if it was a child being funny, as Mary suggests above, it it still very real in the lives of many kids. Too many parents cannot be bothered with playtime. I know how hard it is to make time to work, run a household and still be a fun mom. BUT we only get one chance at being a parent and playtime is a crucial part of making the most of that short time. I will keep that child and his/her mom in my prayers.

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RobMonroe April 10, 2011 at 7:19 am

That’s awful and I NEVER want my kid to feel that way. Wow.

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Brandy April 10, 2011 at 8:26 am

I saw this through my phone yesterday but couldn’t get the picture to load and was dying to get to a computer to see the pictures. This is so sad and if a child is willing to write this even for laughs it shows there is definitely something wrong. I feel for this child and am positive the teacher encouraged and most likely contacted the school counselor!!

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Amanda @ Confessions From HouseholdSix April 10, 2011 at 11:30 am

That kills me. Although I have hope. If the assignment was about mom and dad, that the child has a loving extended family who does fun things with him or her. I could’ve written that as a kid, but without a screw up mom, I may not have the close relationships that I forged with my grandparents and aunts and uncles over the years.

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Shan @ Last Shreds Of Sanity April 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I really hope, if that is true, that the teacher called the mom to tell her about this and find out what was going on. At the very least, I hope the teacher took the child aside to speak to him/her.

Ro gets mad because I can’t play with her all day long. I work from home. She does not understand that daddy goes to another place to work, but mommy works on the computer at home. Believe me, if we could afford it, I would play with her all day long. But I have to contribute to our household’s bottom line.

I’m sure that Ro could tell someone “My mama doesn’t pay attention to me” and from her perspective she thinks she’s telling the truth because I’m not doing what she wants to do every second. But in reality, I take her to and from school everyday, when I leave the house, she goes with me, I help her with her homework, I’m with her all day…I do all the mom things I’m supposed to do plus extra. But I have to constantly tell her that we can’t do X because mommy is working right now and that does not make her happy.

Yes that picture is heartbreaking but until we know the whole story (maybe mom is a single mom and has to work all the time to make ends meet & the child doesn’t understand), all of this is just speculation on our parts. But if it is true, I hope the school gets involved and slaps that mother back into reality.

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karen April 10, 2011 at 10:23 pm

That Mom will not show up to see her child’s picture. That’s not the kind of Mom that spends any time with her child. Maybe you should invite the child over for a playdate and spend some time with him/her yourself? It would probably be the highlight of his/her week.

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Melinda April 10, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Heartbreaking!!! I hope she saw it and it makes her think. Your kids are lucky you both are so involved. I agree with the above…she probably won’t see it. My heart breaks for that kid.

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Lesley April 10, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Do you know why this post is sad for me? Because I can relate. I don’t know where or what this child comes from in the form of his mother, or family. But I grew up as an only child. My father left my mother and I when I was 5. I don’t remember most of it. Any of it really.
All I know is what my mother has told me. The first 2-3 months when she dropped me off for school I cried and begged for her not to leave me. But she had to. To earn a living for the both of us.
Maybe she didn’t always pay attention to me at the time, but she was there. And to this day I will always love and admire her for what she gave up for me. She was ALWAYS there for me. Even if I didn’t know it.
I don’t know what this child is going through…but I ask of all of you, even Telling Dad…to make sure you give these parents a chance to explain themselves. To a child…not always being there at that moment may be hard, but as an adult…I know what she went through to make sure I had food on the table and toys if I wanted them.
And the one thing she always give me. Is the power to be myself.

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Jen-Eighty MPH Mom April 11, 2011 at 8:49 pm

That is incredibly sad… I would love to take that child out too :(

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