Two weeks ago I was plugging away on this little blog, hoping to finish at least one post* while my older children spent their mornings at Montessori school.
Have I mentioned how much we love this school? That it's been an answered prayer?
When we moved last summer, finding a Montessori preschool was a priority for our family, and I can honestly say, we feel it has been money well spent. The boys love their teachers and friends, but more importantly, they love learning. And wow, have they learned! In addition to early reading and math concepts, they've absorbed geography, covered a variety of science topics, worked on a class garden, arranged flowers, and - What mother wouldn't love this? - washed their own dishes! Seeing the Montessori approach in action has been truly amazing.
Of course, from a selfish standpoint, enrolling the boys in the school has given me one-on-one time with the baby, and, two days a week, time alone with my middle child. And since my return to this blog in January, it's given me the chance to have some quiet time for writing three mornings a week while Baby C naps. I'd call that win-win-win.
So at the end of that morning, I left both posts half-finished and went to pick up my boys. The entire drive, I daydreamed about all the writing time I would have next year. With E and W both in Children's House five mornings a week, I could write every day! Maybe I could finish two posts a week! Forget the fact that C will drop his morning nap around the time he turns one. Focus on the fantasy of being a real writer!
And then I walked into the school.
At the end of the hallway, outside the room where my oldest son played in rainy day recess, stood his teacher and one of the parents.
"I just can't stay. I can't have that many students," I overheard as I approached.
As the conversation unfolded, I learned that our Children's House teacher, a woman we have come to respect over the past year, had met with the new President of the school. And it did not go well.
This spark, a disagreement about class size, ignited a blaze that almost completely destroyed the school.
You see, while our boys have had a wonderful experience there, a number of parents, my husband and I included, have had growing concerns about the school. Concerns about the lack of communication between the Board and parents. Concerns over the increasing animosity between the Board and the teachers.
Leaving the school that morning, I decided we could no longer stay silent. We could no longer patiently wait for an invitation to discuss changes within the school. We could no longer allow the lack of communication to slide, hoping it would magically get better.
And so I drafted a letter stating our concerns and asking for answers. After my husband read over it, I emailed it to the Board President.
I shared my letter with other parents in the school, and over the next 48 hours, they wrote their own letters, filled with their concerns about the future of the school, and emailed them to the Board President.
My husband (who agreed with everything I'd done, I'd like to add) called me a pot stirrer.
"I'm not a pot stirrer! I'm more...Gandhi!" I defended myself.
"Have you read any books on Gandhi?"
"Well. No," I admitted. "But I have read lots of his quotes."
"I rest my case."
|Photo credit: Wikipedia|
I still haven't read any books on Gandhi, but for the record, I do know he fought for Indian independence from Britain using non-violent methods and that he often fasted as a form of protest, something I have no interest in ever doing.
When I likened myself to Gandhi - and okay, I am nothing like Gandhi - I was thinking of this quote:
"You must be the change you want to see in the world."
I can't remember my parents ever sharing those words with my sister and me, but one of the most important lessons they taught us as children was to be a part of the solution. After all, if I'm not willing to work towards the changes I believe are crucial, how can I expect anyone else to?
So over the past two weeks, I've spent countless hours talking with parents, teachers, and board members. Trying to get to the bottom of all the problems. Trying to find a solution to this mess. Trying to save a school that I believe in for my children.
And as it turns out, there are a lot of folks that understand that we must be the change we want to see, because together, a great group of parents has saved this school.
Our Montessori school is beginning its next chapter, and I will continue to be part of that change, serving as the new Board President. I don't know how I'm going to carve out time for writing too, I just know that I have to make it work. I love writing. I love recording our family stories. I don't want to quit. And I'm pretty sure Gandhi wouldn't want me to either.
Llama Art by my son, E, done at the Montessori school.
*Yes, one of them was Part 2 of the story of how I met my husband. For those of you still waiting, I promise I will write it!