Writing yesterday, about expressing appreciation to teachers as well as others, brought to mind a time when I was the parent in a parent-teacher interview.
It was normal interview in Thesha’s near-to-last year in elementary school. The teacher went on at great length about how wonderful a kid Thesha was and how well she was doing.
Despite the fact that I was also a teacher and could see that he was perhaps pouring it on a bit thick, my chest swelled with happiness and pride.
That was a free and unplanned moment of professional development for me. While it would never be my style to be as smooth end effusive as that teacher, I knew I could learn from him.
Up until then, I had often despaired on parent nights when my schedule would be booked by parents of kids who were really doing well. Why were they there? What could I say about a ninety-percenter: try harder? I learned that day that parents also can use all of the positive stroking that they can get. And so I was able to do better. I think.
However, I never compromised about telling the truth to parents of kids who weren’t doing very well. I would do it gently but matter-of-factly. I’m sure that I didn’t bring joy to those poor parents, but perhaps the message sometimes did some good.
Depending on the situation, the truth can bring happiness or sadness, but in either case, it can also be good medicine.