Excuse me, are you listening? 14-18
Sunday, September 20, 2015
Photo: Rina Risper, President & Publisher of The New Citizens Press

Dear Readers,

School has started for all students in Michigan.  My daughter has started high school.  I remember when she was born and how excited I was.  It is a production week and I can hardly keep my hands on the keyboard as I multitask.  I was supposed to have a totally different letter for you today but I was emotionally moved.  You see, I am trying to watch her play volleyball and work at the same time and I figured I might as well share my thoughts with you.  
I remember at one time my task was to feed a baby, mind a toddler and help a pre-teen navigate life.  Why does it seem like watching a tween go to a full blown teenager is more complicated?  If only I still had a diaper bag to carry around.  I have to remember that now, the diaper bag has become at book bag and I am not responsible for its contents or making sure that it is fully stocked.  Now the responsibility is hers, my favorite daughter.  She always responds by rolling her eyes and saying, “I am your ONLY daughter.” 
I always retort, “Well, it is true!"
She was on the volleyball team in middle school.  The first week of school, we had to rush and get a physical.  The next week was practice.  On her first day of practice, she found out that she would be a setter.  The child that I thought was not going to be athletic, is truly focused now.  Her love of volleyball came as a huge surprise to me.  We ran around to stores looking for “Spanx”.  I dislike those tight shorts.  However, everyone is wearing them on the court right now.  So I guess I will have to just deal with it.  I guess there is a use for them besides holding in women’s tummies.
The high school she is going to is not well known for its sports programs but I am just grateful that as a freshman she has something to do with herself.   I am the ever supportive mother.  Life is so busy but you must make time for your children.
Start Involvement Early
The classroom is just as important. Making sure that your child gets his or her work done is crucial.  Ask now instead of waiting for the progress report.  It is early so you will be able to see exactly where your child is headed.  I know from firsthand that children can make up stories to keep themselves temporarily from getting into trouble.  
Please parents your child may come home with a bunch of excuses and one is "the teacher does not like me because....". Do not play into that statement. Your first question should be 1. How much homework is my child missing? 2. Does my child talk in class or get off task easily? It is easy as a parent to believe your child but they are smart. Be smarter by getting the FACTS first. Parents who do not get the facts and automatically think that the child is right are not always thinking clearly. They will also be the parents with their children living with them and not obtaining a higher education. Your child may also be the greatest but if that homework is not in, an E awaits them. Push harder and understand that when a teacher has to disrupt the class for one student it hurts the others.  Talk to the adults that your child is exposed to in school.  Like I said they may be perfect angels at home while perched in the easy chair with their eyes glazed over from playing video games but they may be neglecting their homework.  
Luckily, the volleyball team has specific homework hours.  Even though my daughter’s team did not win, she always had a smile on her face.  The moment she realized that I was sitting on the bleachers supporting her she gave me a little frantic wave.  At that moment, my heart melted and I thought, “Where has the time gone?”
Love people,
Rina Risper

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