A few weeks ago I stumbled across a rather sensitive issue wrapped in a package called "school zoning".
The zoning had not been much concern for our family because we had plans to move before the next school year so our children would likely be changing schools anyway. Furthermore, I had not been a fan of the school we were zoned to when we first moved to our town. It was located in a wealthier neighborhood in which we did not live. Knowing this, I felt I did not have a "right" to complain about a reassignment now!
Back then, I feared that my children would experience the "poor kid" mentality or believe that they should be entitled to more than I would allow regardless of our income level or the price tag on our home. My fears were later removed as we went about our school experience. Four years at the school and I can say that I have been nothing but pleased with every single teacher my children have been assigned. I also found that there are other parents who live in the neighborhood that hold true to my beliefs on being modest with the things our children have while teaching them to respect others, be generous, and to be grateful. More importantly, I have learned that every family and every child regardless of their address has value. I have grown to love the place my children call school. Having a familiar face smile and say hello or classroom children with whom you have volunteered run to hug you in the hallway is priceless. This being said, because I am comfortable where I am, I don't necessarily want to move schools, but I will without argument or grave concern. Now for the real story.
The heart breaking truth is that I know people on both sides of the zoning issue that have offended someone or been offended. The Herald wrote an article about one school in particular where I have family and friends who attend. The article did a great job highlighting the success of the school, children, and families. The place that it seemed to go wrong was the fact that in light of the successes noted much negative text found its way into the article. The negative text took away from the terrific child aspect and allowed attention to be drawn to naysayers. Why not just celebrate the accomplishments and not over shadow them with debates! After all, our actions will always win out over words. Unfortunately the underlying debate did come into the text and left me with mixed emotions. Underlying text and later comments that spawn from the article attacked people, whom I loved and/or respected, on both sides . They were either labeled poor and under-educated or wealthy and harsh. One group was praised for being present for every school event while the other was berated for working. It was like a reenactment of the Civil War. People in the same community, with many of the same hopes and dreams for their children, and yet a nasty battle erupted.
Now here is the truth! Neither "side" is correct. Labeling one's character based on their income level, test scores, or skin color is wrong! We are individuals and all come from various backgrounds leaving different values, goals, and beliefs woven into who we are today. Sometimes we see the world from a different angle but it never gives us a right to devalue another person, and quite frankly the ugly that came from this was just that. People on both sides were devalued.
Have your opinions, work for what counts, but for the greater good of people everywhere do it all from love. Somehow the real value of re-zoning was not seen. Maybe it's not the first choice, but it is an amazing opportunity to make a difference. Feel like a school will not have enough parent support, then lead the way. Concerned that money replaces quality time, then be the example. We never have to shrink into our surroundings when we hold the key to making that environment a more beautiful place. Look for the value in others and compliment it with the value in yourself!
In the end, we, as parents, have the greatest influence in shaping our children's future. Where ever you are, make it great!
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