Trust Story 4 (Parent-Parent)
Eight forty-something women, Friday evening, tapas and white wine.
Most of us thought it was just a casual get-together, an escape from cooking and washing up for the night. Susan, the organiser, had a different purpose. We all have daughters at the same dance school and Susan started the evening’s proceedings with a tearful, funny and heartfelt speech about how she came to be a “dance mum” and how she had found acceptance, friendship and belonging in this little group of other dance mums.
I’m a newcomer to this group. My daughter changed dance schools this year after ten years at another school where she was feeling increasingly isolated and I had never even been invited down the road for a cup of coffee.
My connection with Susan goes back a few years to when I taught her son. I took over the class part way through the school year in what were trying circumstances for me, the class and the school community. Many of the parents and children of the class were angry about the fact that the previous popular teacher had moved to another position and about the way the change had been handled by the school administration. I ended up teaching that class through a misunderstanding (that’s a trust story for another day) and while I worked very hard and did the best I could for that class, I didn’t feel that it was one of my most outstanding achievements as a teacher. I felt that I was viewed as a poor substitute for the original teacher and that was how I viewed myself.
But maybe the parents’ perceptions of me weren’t as bad as I thought they were. Susan has made a deliberate effort to make me feel welcome at the dance school.
And what did my invitation to Friday evening tapas remind me about trust? Two things:
- Trust within a parent group can be a powerful thing, whether it’s a dance studio, a football club or a school. Many parents form their friendship groups through their children’s affiliations and those relationships go on over the years as the children change year and grade levels. A parent group united in support of a cause is an amazing thing. A parent group united against a cause is formidable in a different way. A parent’s allegiance to their friends is likely to come before their allegiance to the institution.
- Trust develops through repeated, everyday interactions and parents generally come to trust a teacher whose “walk” matches their “talk”. It’s one thing to say that you care for a group of children but your everyday actions will prove whether this is true or not.
I am touched and humbled that Susan trusts me enough to welcome me into her circle of friends.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/oudeschool/414726015/”>Oude School</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>