There are always a few people in any community that you may not enjoy quite so much. And so it goes with the kid’s school community. There are lots of nice people there, many of whom put in admirable amounts of time and energy (much more than me), and are always at the ready with a positive word about our children, either of whom may just have demonstrated the ‘Hyde’ side of their personality.
Having kids will often keep you on your best behavior, particularly if you think your kids might be paying attention to what you’re doing. Setting a positive example is a powerful motivator.
This positive tension between our better and more primitive nature seems to escape some folks.
There’s a family in one of the classes who never fails to reveal their more petty side. Last year, after committing to drive the auction project effort in the class, the mom pretty much disappeared when it was time to begin the work.
This year, mom and dad were rather opinionated about what the project should be, lobbying hard for an item we knew no one would bid on. Then amidst much complaining about the cost of the project that prevailed (paintings by the kids with a nice companion book), they kicked in a generous donation and managed to undo whatever goodwill they might have earned by demanding an accurate accounting of where the money was going. Of course when it came time to bid, mom, dad, and their opinions were again invisible.
For the art festival, when asked to volunteer 30-60 minutes of time, they said they’d be out of town. But then they surprised us all by showing up to enjoy the event as spectators.
See a pattern yet? I’m not the best of volunteers myself. But stuff like really grates on folks who put time and effort into the school.
Today, our daughter came home and told us that she’d not gotten an invitation to their kid’s birthday party (which was apparently last weekend). She’s five, and has a charming naivite about people’s guile. I’m not quite sure I have the details correct, but their kid told ours she was supposed to have us call the other mom to request an invitation. Right.
My problem with this is that it made our daughter feel lousy and excluded. Kris and I talked about how a conversation with the other mom might go, and were conflicted about whether it was at all worthwhile. I can’t see anything constructive coming out of it.
Word has it they’re moving to another school next year. Do people like this ever learn, or do they just keep burning through another community every few years?