“Our children” starts with the PARENTS

February 29, 2024 | Sharon Sedlar

I typically use the term “our children” when speaking of my own, and “the children” or “PA’s children” when speaking of others out of respect for parent agency – as I would like it for my own. And typically, I’ve found that teachers, administrators, legislators, etc. do the same.

But the use of this term by some in the advocacy space has led to strong, defensive reactions from parents – and rightfully so.

For many parents, the days of “It takes a village” have been replaced by “My child, my choice”. If you want a “village”: community schools, certain classes, or curriculum for your child, I’m with you 100% – because it’s your child. But if you don’t, you shouldn’t be forced to do so. This is simply about parents being the decision-makers at the beginning, middle, and end – having the option for their child to participate.

I’m not saying that we can’t cooperate or that teachers can’t be involved with or proud of their students. I completely understand that some use the term “our children” as a term of endearment and care.

But what I am saying is that the term “our children”, if used by those other than parents, should include an obvious nod to parent agency. If not, backlash will be swift.

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