did you forget your lunch?

I recently read this NYTimes article that more or less says that there are now schools with a policy against parents bringing things forgotten at home.

photo credit; KJ Dell’Antonia

As always, the interesting part is in the comments where there is debate about this….

Is it right for the school to dictate this sort of policy?

I can see that the constant flow of parents to the school with forgotten items can get in the way of running a school, not to mention kids coming to the office to get it, or, parents disrupting class time to bring the forgotten item.  On the other hand, a flat out policy AGAINST really feels like there will be trouble when super allergy child forgets their lunch and gets to starve because they can’t eat school lunch and nobody can bring the lunch.

When is a child ‘old enough’ to be responsible?

I don’t know… there are people who say suffering young makes them more responsible faster but then there are adults that are still constantly forgetting things.  Did that adult have an indulgent parent, or, are they just forgetful?  I know some kids just loose or forget all the time – luckily my kids seem to have it more or less under control but I also remind and I’ve brought things to school a few times over the past few years.  In my opinion, I’m not bringing anything that I told them 5x to put in their backpack but I like that I get to make that call.

At what point are you hurting the child by helping, or, hurting them by letting the swing?

Another big I don’t know.  I can see the rule basically as a shield for parents, they can’t bring something so their child knows there is no bail out coming.  The child can’t spend half the day hopeful that their parent will appear with the missing form/lunch/homework/snowpants and be disappointed in the end when the parent does not turn up (either by decision or inability or just didn’t even notice the missing item).  In that way the rule is a good thing, all kids know that no adults can or will bail them out at school.

There is also the case where it isn’t the kids fault…  Lars forgot to pack a snack for Niamh one morning because he didn’t even know she needed one and I was at an early meeting.   I was going by the school anyway so I dropped the snack in her locker; ironically – she never saw it and went snackless anyway.  However, she saw it when she packed up and knew that I was looking out for her.  Opportunities to be a hero are pretty slim and I’m glad to take the moment where I can.

It is an interesting and many-sided situation.  I know as an adult I hate the feeling I get when I forget something I need like my wallet or my lunch or phone.  It puts me off my game and I think that I bring stuff for my kids when its important because I don’t want them missing a day of focus in school because they are worried about it.  I’m also sure I’m completely overthinking this but if you read the article I’m not alone in overthinking.

Thoughts?

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