To the Teachers Who Show Up {for the Kids of 2019}


A couple of weekends ago, my 2nd and 3rd grader were in a school play. This play is exactly what you expect a play for 1st-3rd graders to look like. It’s cute, but certainly not Broadway. The audience is full of proud parents and grandparents… exactly as it should be.

After the curtains closed, I walked out to find my kids and that is when I saw the teachers. Not one, but several of you with huge smiles and big hugs for those kids in your classrooms. And this isn’t the first time I have seen you. I saw you when you stayed late to watch the “parent preview” night for Destination Imagination. I saw you on Sunday when you came to watch a park district basketball game because a couple of your students were playing. I see you showing up… again and again. And I thank you for it.

It’s so important to these kids of 2019.

I know that these extra hours are just that… extra. I know that you are tired after a full work week and that you are making a conscious choice to give up some of your weekend hours to be a cheerleader for my children and the other children in your classroom. I know that if I said these words to you, you would brush them off because you love the children you teach and you love what you do. But, it’s no small thing… the fact that you show up speaks volumes to me as a parent. It speaks volumes to the children who run to hug you after their play performance. It means the world to them that you are there.

It’s so important to these kids of 2019.

I am old enough that I can remember the days of running sun up to sun down without checking in at home and as long as I was home before dark, my parents didn’t worry. I (thankfully) grew up in the era before social media and when I messed up (because we ALL messed up), the means simply weren’t there for me to have also documented my missteps in a very public way. I grew up in a world before 24-hour news was a “thing.” As a parent, I find myself navigating tough conversations much earlier than I would like as my kids are just exposed to more than I was at their age. Our small school district has experienced traumatic death on three (yes, three) separate occasions this year alone.

I would be lying if I said that I don’t often feel overwhelmed about what the future might hold for my children. How do I protect them from this world we live in, today? The answer is I don’t. And I can’t.

It’s safe to say that most parents are trucking along doing the best they can. That we make the decisions we feel are the best in the moment. We have conversations when we feel we need to and also make choices about allowing independence and individuality because those things are crucial to development. And part of being a parent lies in simply showing up. Day in and day out, I choose to show up for my kids in large and small ways.

And teachers, so do you.

I am not so naive to think that we can protect our children by simply watching them perform in their elementary school play or by watching their sports games on the weekends, but my friends, our children need the adults in their lives to show up. I may not know exactly what to do from a 2019 parenting perspective, but I firmly believe that by surrounding our youth with strong, positive, relationships, we inevitably help them build resiliency. And resiliency is powerful.

Show up often and enthusiastically. Show up for the neighbor kids down the street. Show up for your nieces and nephews. Show up for your own kids and for your kid’s best friend. Take a lesson from the teachers, because I have no doubt that their presence at these extra-curriculars isn’t coincidental. It’s seeded in a desire to help up parents raise happy, healthy, children.

And I will happily take all the help I can get from the adults who care about my children.



  1. My daughter’s teacher came to her dance recital this past weekend. On a Saturday. At 7:30 at night. My daughter smiled from ear to ear the entire night. She was so proud. Her teacher brought single roses, not just one for my daughter, but many so she could give one to every child she recognized from school. It was an amazing experience. ❤️


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