I was famous in grade school. It was not for anything I did, or didn’t do. It was because my mother always made the most outrageous cupcakes for the PTA bake sale. Having a penchant for going over the top, my mom baked her beauties so large and iced them so elaborately they had to introduce a new price category – 25 cents!
Glowing like florescent Frisbees, her confections called out to every kid who approached the bake sale table like the sugar-laden guilty pleasure they were. Being the shy type I just smiled and nodded slightly when kids would run up to me and say, “I got one of your mom’s cupcakes!” as if they had won a coveted prize. Inside, I was proud. I began to enjoy bake sale days. Mom would drive me to school so we could walk the cupcakes into the sale together. She chatted with the teachers and other PTA moms as they all admired her latest creations.
That’s what moms did in the ’50s. Dads were rarely seen in elementary schools. So it was extra-special when my mother and father would go to Meet the Teacher night. Just the thought that my dad was in my classroom made me feel warm and loved. It was a big deal, he had to hurry home from work and wash up quickly. Mom made dinner early and grandma would be called on for sitter duty. When they got home dad would always make some comment on what he saw – my picture on the wall or the note I left for them on my desk. It meant the world to me.
Fast forward to my parenting days and yes I was also involved in the PTA. Gone were the bake sales, but there were school trips, performances to attend and plenty of committees vying for volunteer hours. And there were even some dads! There was once a dad on a PTA committee, some dads came on field trips and dads walked kids into school or picked them up for after-school activities. I know from my daughter’s reaction that having your dad involved in school activities was still something wonderful.
This month David Neilsen, a local dad, writer and yes PTA member, reports on the growing trend of males getting involved in the PTA. In “PTA Dads” Neilsen speaks with dads who have opted to get involved because they know what it means to their children and to their children’s education. Some dads realize the political power behind the PTA and want their voice heard too. Thank goodness parenting is embracing equal opportunity.
So a thank you this Father’s Day for all the dads who get involved in their children’s lives, whether it’s through a PTA committee, sports team, or homework assignment. I speak from the heart when I tell you that it means the world to your kids.
Happy Father’s Day,
Jean Sheff, Editor