As I was perusing my eldest son’s school papers last Friday, I flipped through his tests and completed assignments and the occasional flyer. But there was one particular sheet that caught my eye – a sign-up request for volunteers to work the class booth at the upcoming Fall Festival. A similar paper had been circulated the week prior, and now the room mom and teacher were making the plea again.
Please consider signing up for one 30-minute shift.
We need volunteers to run our booth and make this event happen. Thank you!
Twenty-eight volunteers were needed. The friendly reminder revealed only five parents had signed up. Five parents. That’s it! The festival is being held in the evening hours, so one can assume most parents will have completed their workday. But still, based on the lean list, it is clear parents are not cheerily stepping up.
Perhaps we have a group of procrastinators on our hand, or maybe this is a reminder that 20% of the people do 80% of the work.
I am by no means “Super Volunteer.” My career often keeps me from being on my kids’ campuses, but I do try to help when I can. I’ll elect to purchase a box of drinks if I can’t help at the class party, or contribute supplies for the teacher. And I’ll pick a couple of events throughout the year to help in-person, throwing them on my Outlook calendar like I would a business meeting.
I see some moms, and dads, go way above and beyond. They carry the PTA. They invent new events to keep the kids energized and inspired. They fundraise to invest in the areas our public schools can’t support with government dollars.
Obviously not every parent is wired to serve in this capacity, but I wonder what would happen if more parents stepped up and gave a little more, or just gave a little period.
I have to believe more than five parents from a group of 70 students could give 30 minutes of their time on a Friday night.
Kids love to see their parents volunteer at their schools. Sure, if you’re a working parent you can’t chaperone every field trip, or attend every class party. But if you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, perhaps you could sign up for one thing this school year. Give the 20% a break, or at least join them for a moment.
Don’t wait for an invite. Don’t feel like you need to be a part of the PTA clique. Don’t always assume someone else has got it covered.
I know we all wear our “busy badges” with honor, but as we enter the holiday season and time of year known for giving thanks, consider giving back.
And if you really can’t volunteer, consider giving a “thank you” to the parents who carry the weight at your kids’ schools, on their sports teams and extracurricular activities.
A simple note of thanks can make a world of difference.