Some things are certainly not high on a parent’s to-do list, like attempting to remove questionable stains from their 8-year-old son’s underwear or trying to explain to a 6-year-old girl why she can’t take her shirt off in the hot summer and run around topless like the boys. School supply shopping is no exception. But it’s about that time of year. Around August and September, tired mommies have to drag their worn behinds down to Target or Walmart, to weed through the dregs of the notebooks and pencil cases for their children’s upcoming school year. And the supply lists only seem to get longer and longer. A pack of Band-Aids? A pack of dry erase Expo markers? Why?
The truth is, most schools only supply teachers with the basics: a stapler, staples, scissors, copy paper, highlighters, pens, and chart paper. They even have to sign them out and rent them. So unless teachers want to spend $1,000 out of pocket on school supplies for their classroom, they have to make the back-to-school supply lists extensive enough to ensure they are going to have all the materials they need for the school year. (And let me tell you, as a former teacher, you run out anyways around early April. The kids lose everything, and I mean everything).
So, even though it’s a pain, parents need to plaster on a good face and march to the store for those much needed supplies! One mother, who writes for a blog called Finding Joy, voiced her opinion on our attitudes towards school supply shopping, and the Facebook post is quickly going viral. Her post reads:
They listen. I was in Target today picking up some last minute school supplies and it was just disappointing. I don’t know if it was the day or time or what – but it felt like it was just full of complaining. Complaining about the notebooks or pencil count or the number of crayons. Maybe I just stepped in the wrong aisle at the wrong time. Listen. If we want them excited about school doesn’t it start with us? Doesn’t it start with us deciding to not complain about supplies but instead build excitement over what will fill those notebooks? Or what those crayons will color? Or calculators compute? I get that it costs money, I get that. I get that the lists are crazy long and with that one green plastic no prong folder that sells out on week one. I get that money can be tight. But no matter what – your, our, words matter. When I was in Haiti there was no education. Parents worked many jobs so their children could get a chance to attend school. Education matters. No matter what way – public, virtual, private, homeschool – education changes our children’s lives. So be excited about those supplies. Those vivid Crayons markers will tell stories and the hand sanitizer keep them healthy and the grid paper will provide order and the erasers will correct. From one mom who spent a bunch too. From one mom who has complained too. From one mom loving this journey. From one mom who stumbles and falls down and tries again. From one mom who forgets. They listen. Love of learning starts with you. -Rachel Ps. I just love you guys. This is really meant as that reminder to pay attention to words. That’s it.
We couldn’t agree more with Rachel Martin. Complaining about buying school supplies in front of your child sets the wrong tone; a negative one. The child will then associate school with negativity, and go into it with an average attitude instead of a great one. If we aren’t even excited, why should they be? Set the right example and the right tone. Fill the moment with joy and excitement. Make sure your child knows the importance of all these supplies. And you will have done your mommy duties for the fall. Go you!