What do you skip for your kid’s school event?
Working parents are caught in a constant tug-of-war between work responsibilities and PTO schedules, and their kid’s school calendars filled with field trips, graduations, classroom parties and more.
Recently, pro golfer Phil Mickelson said he would be withdrawing from the United States Open, the only major championship he has not won, according to the New York Times, to attend a very special school event: his daughter Amanda’s high school graduation.
Mickelson said to the New York Times, “As I look back on life, this is a moment I’ll always cherish and be glad I was present.”
Most parents would probably agree, a big graduation is something not to be missed and accommodating the school’s ceremony schedule isn’t always possible or convenient.
Not every parent is able to appeal to school officials about changing the date of graduation to suit a work schedule, as another pro-golfer and father of five, Jack Nicklaus did. The school his children attend now asks him about his schedule in advance of setting commencement dates.
For most parents, however, there’s not much mercy in juggling work schedules and school event calendars.
For one Kiddie Academy mother – the organization’s Director of Marketing – Heather Davis, her family is soon slated to take a vacation to California that’s been planned and committed to for more than a year. She didn’t know it would happen to fall in the same week as her oldest daughter’s preschool graduation from Kiddie Academy’s corporate flagship location. Still, she considers which event is most important to all members of her family.
“Yeah, we’re sad to be missing this, but we know she’ll be there for summer camp, so we know this isn’t really her official ceremonial departure from Kiddie Academy.
We’ll be spending uninterrupted family time together on this vacation, and for us, that’s our highest priority. I don’t want to belittle the preschool graduation. It’s important. The decision was hard. But for us, being together as a family and taking advantage of time we can spend together, even if it’s inconvenient for a school event, sometimes takes precedence.
We also have her cap and gown preschool graduation picture, which we’ll cherish forever, so we still get to have a memory of her as a 5-year old in a cap and gown. She also has a younger brother, who attends the Academy as well, and we’ll have another shot at trying to make his preschool graduation in a few years.
I think parents put a lot of stress on themselves to be front and center at every moment positioned to them as important to their child’s upbringing. But from my daughter Ella’s perspective, would she rather see me watching her graduate for five minutes, or spend a week with family she rarely sees and get quality time with us. Which one, ten years from now, is she going to remember? I think it’s a no-brainer.
Not to mention, we still have graduations for kindergarten, middle school, high school, college and hopefully a PhD.”
Either way, the decision to both miss work, or skip out on a school event isn’t easy. Kiddie Academy’s VP of Education, Richard Peterson says,
“…parents are trying the best they can. Sometimes, the schedules of our lives don’t work out perfectly, and usually your child’s teacher will understand that. If it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as Phil Mickelson said about his daughter’s graduation, you might want to prioritize it for you and your child. But if you have to miss it, there are ways to celebrate milestones like a preschool graduation at home with family if you’re unable to make the ceremony at school. If your family is facing a scheduling conflict, talk about it together and discuss ways you might still be able to participate in the school event, either another day or at home together as a family.”