As back to school season descends, how many times do you anticipate dashing to the school gates carrying a forgotten lunch box / PE kit / musical instrument, this year? And how would you feel if your child's school BANNED you from dropping off items that your child forgot to take with them in the mornings?!
To my shame, ferrying forgotten bits of school kit to the school office is virtually a weekly occurrence in my house, such is the forgetfulness of my precious darlings and my own apparent inability to persuade them to remember anything. It's not helped by the fact that the school is a few minutes' walk from our house and I work from home; that definitely takes the urgency out of having to remember things for themselves as far as the kids are concerned, and even if I wanted to let them learn 'the hard way' by not taking in the stuff they forget, I really have no excuse for not nipping across the street on a quick mercy mission.
So I'd be absolutely horrified if either of the schools which my sons attend decided to sanction parents dropping off items that the kids forget to bring with them to school.
Yet that's exactly what a private school in the USA has done.
The Catholic High School for Boys posted a sign on the school front door which states:
'If you are dropping off your son's forgotten lunch, books, homework, equipment etc., please TURN AROUND and exit the building. Your son will learn to problem-solve in your absence.'
They didn't leave it at that either; the school even shared a photo of the sign on its own Facebook page which, unsurprisingly, has gone viral online.
Now, to be fair, the school teaches boys aged 14 to 18 and I'm certainly hoping that I won't still be in the habit of dropping in forgotten items to my sons' schools when they're that old.
And I can see the value of the point being made by the Principal here - that doing too much for our kids and softening the blow of their every mistake for them doesn't do much to teach them autonomy. And I'm all for encouraging our kids to be less forgetful and to take more responsibility for their own school equipment.
And yes, I reckon my kids will be perfectly able to 'problem-solve' their way out of forgetting their lunch by the time they're fourteen - I'd hope that they'd have some cash on them to buy lunch or could borrow some money from a friend.
But I'm not a fan of this way of going about it. I don't like the sanctimonious tone of the wording of the sign, or the thinly-veiled insult aimed at parents to the effect that they're failing their kids by delivering a forgotten lunch.
Frankly, I'm ok with my kids growing up knowing that I'll jump to their side if they need me to. If that means they lack autonomy, well, I generally prefer that to letting them starve.
By all means, gently make the point that students need to remember their own equipment and not really on their parents to come to their aid when they've been forgetful. I just think teaching kids autonomy at the expense of communicating graciously with parents is a bad way to go.
But what's your view? Do you think the school's approach is brilliant and would you welcome it as a parent? Or would you be cross if your child's school decided to follow suit? Leave us a comment below or join the debate over on our Facebook page.