I am a huge fan of silence. As a mother of four children, silence is a luxury therefore, when I was offered a coveted position in the carpool mafia my acceptance was met with reservation. Having to only drive 2 out of the 5 days to school was appealing yet suffering through 20 minutes of incessant preteen boy babble would be painful. Carefully weighing my options was a must.
With the promise of dessert after dinner or candy in between meals I can coax our children into studying for an upcoming quiz on the way to school, turn up the radio so as to drown out their voices, or make them count the number of black vehicles they observe. Other people’s children aren’t as easy to persuade. Although candy may be their favorite meal, since I am not their parent, I wasn’t in a potion to make them the offer.
While I admit to succumbing to the offer, my heads still rings as a painful result. I grossly underestimated boys and chatter, and noises, and potty talk. Grossly. However, this experience provided huge learning opportunities. You will be edited to me for sharing these ideas with you whether you have boys or girls. You’re welcome.
1. Listen. Children will forget that you are in the car and will inadvertently share thoughts with their friends while you listen. They will enlighten you to situations at school they would not normally share with you. Wear one of those disposable surgical masks so you are not tempted to interject your words of wisdom. Your kids won’t be embarrassed at all.
2. Question. As they share responses to the conversation take time after school to encourage, lead, and guide. I will often say, “I noticed that Jack said he doesn’t like Ben because he is annoying. How do you treat Ben?” This provides a great way for you to share your thoughts about how we are to treat difficult people.
3. Watch. I noticed that my children are critical of other kids. They had to learn this from someone. As I examined my own character I realized that they learned their critical behaviors from me. Yuck. As I grow and develop spiritually I need to be cognizant of what I am teaching my children and make changes in my life for the better.
4. Take good notes. I have learned tons about upcoming tests, field trips, lunch bag ideas, behaviors from teachers, and classroom expectations. This is invaluable information for a parent whose child can repeat very little about the six + hours they spent at school.
5. Fart. If you have boys this will always and forever be hysterical. Whether in word form as in, “Did you hear Lauren fart yesterday?” or the actual act of flatulence, laughter will ensue and your car will smell. If you have girls, this will always and forever be revolting and reserved. Always.
I may not be a huge fan of carpool chatter but I am a huge fan of learning. I highly encourage you to join forces and enter the ranks of carpool, but, don’t forget the air freshener.