Saturday, March 8, 2008

Perspective

Yesterday, my homeroom came in before lunch to get their things together. One of my girls was clearly very agitated, and before long I discovered that her real dad - meaning the one she is not on good terms with, not her step dad, with whom she lives - was here. "I haven't even talked to him in months," she said.

I herded the kids to the cafeteria, and when I got to my roost from where I watch all my seventh graders, the girl was sitting at her usual spot, but with her dad. The discussion, even from twenty feet away, was clearly very heated. My partner teacher came and sat down beside me.

"That's a sticky situation there, isn't it?" I said, discretely pointing.

"It's not that she doesn't want to go with her father, she just wants to go home with her boyfriend."

First thing in the morning, this girl had handed me a note from her mother giving her permission to go home with her little boyfriend's family. While I don't think a seventh grader should have a boyfriend, it's totally her mother's prerogative to let her daughter go home with a friend. Then the non-custodial parent came in and wanted to take her. What I found interesting, after the whole thing was settled, was how my partner teacher and I each reacted.

My partner spoke from her perspective as a parent and felt the father had a right to take his daughter home. She also didn't like the thought of her own seventh grade daughter going home with her wanna-be-boyfriend (wanna-be because my partner will not allow her daughter to have a boyfriend, because she’s in seventh grade, fer cryin’ out loud), and so she thought, "Her father is here, he wants his daughter, and he has more right to her than the boyfriend."

On the other hand, because of my experiences, I immediately "sided" with the girl. I related to how she was feeling about seeing her father, and I felt strongly about her mom's primacy as the custodial parent.

I don't really know who was right. I think, legally, the custodial parent's note overrides the non-custodial parent. In the end, dad backed down and the girl went home with her boyfriend as planned.

What was more significant and striking to me was how different our responses were.

1 comment:

historyhappiness said...

God bless you prima. Really, my whole life I've aspired to be as kool as you...and although I can never quite catch up...I love you dearly and utmostly (altho I'm sure I didn't sure that adverb (?) correctly!). Gosh...you truly are...my hero!