I was dropping my kids off at school the other day when it hit me how incredibly awful the process was. For most people it isn’t a big deal but I have five kids that attend four different schools. The middle two are a fairly simple process, I pull up to the sidewalk and they hop out of the car, no big deal. It’s the oldest and the youngest two schools that have me frustrated.
My oldest one attends high school. Leaving the parking lot, after dropping him off at the curb, is insanity. But, unlike the elementary school, the problem with high school is the students complete lack of consideration for the drivers. While parents are lined up, driving somewhat faster than a snails pace, the students just walk out into the road without so much as a sideways glance. Unfortunately, I know there really is no way to correct that, it is what it is and I was probably the same way. In high school you are invincible, cocky and above reproach (for the most part) and you have a hard time getting things through your thick skull. So I will choose to stew in my own grumpiness with this one.
The elementary school is a different story. Every day I am reminded of two things: 1. I am easily angered when people do not follow rules and 2. I will be a very crotchety old lady. I took my frustration out on Facebook saying “Dropping kids off at school is worse than a trip to the airport. People need to write a book about school zone etiquette” to which my friend replied “write a blog about it”. *smacks forehead* duh – why didn’t I think of that. So that is what I am doing…writing a blog about it and spilling all my frustrations out onto the world wide web. But I wanted to do more than just spew ugliness, I wanted to give some kind of solution to the problem. So I thought of 6 simple tips that are easy to follow and will help your morning drop off go more smoothly.
1. Mind the speed limit: You see that white rectangle sign with 15 MPH on it? That speed isn’t optional, it is law. And do me a favor, don’t ride my butt when I start slowing down prior to actually reaching the first of the speed limit signs. I drive slower than the posted speed limit once I am anywhere in the vicinity of a school zone. You want to know why? Because children are reckless. They dart across the street without looking, they fall off their bikes into the street, they play chicken with cars and they aren’t mature enough to realize the severity of doing all of the above. And if minding the posted speed limit is such a big hassle to you it might be time to find another way out of your neighborhood. And if you’re running late for work please don’t compromise the safety of my kids so you don’t get written up.
2. Understand what a crosswalk is: Where I pick my kids up there is a small street that people line with their cars. I noticed one lady would continuously line up in a way that would block the crosswalk. I’m not sure why the crossing guard didn’t say anything to her. My guess is that they are told to keep their mouths shut to prevent any issues. But me being me and me hating to see people break rules, got fed up. I drove past her one afternoon and motioned for her to roll down her window. When she did I yelled “DON’T BLOCK THE !@&%$@ CROSSWALK”. Admittedly not my finest moment as a Christian but one of my prouder moments as a mom. I don’t like yelling at people but I will if I feel it will keep my children safe. And, for what it matters, she doesn’t block the crosswalk anymore. Impeding the crosswalk is just rude and blatant rudeness makes me insane. A crosswalk is just that – a walk way for you child(ren) to safely cross the street.
3. Accept the fact that little children act the equivalent to drunk frat boys: Remember seeing them at parties? The big group of drunk frat guys, shirts off and loudly making their way to another party. Kids are pretty much the same way when they get out of school for the day, but they keep their shirts on, for the most part. They travel in these packs ranging from two kids to seven and when they split off they always have extreme ways of saying goodbye. They get so caught up in the exits that they don’t focus on anything else. I have seen kids literally walk right in front of a moving car while waving goodbye to someone. There are the few kids that like to travel alone, whether by foot or bike, and they are just as dangerous. They walk with such purpose that anything happening outside of the ten feet in front of them becomes invisible. I point this out because as the adult in a 2000lb vehicle YOU are the responsible one. You have to make sure that when you are in a high traffic area, like a crosswalk, YOU need to be careful. Don’t expect the 6 year olds to be careful when crossing the roads. Should they? Yes. Will they? Probably not.
4. Stop signs are helpful, really: Especially the four way stop signs. What’s not helpful is when some jerk thinks he doesn’t need to follow the rules and wants to go before it’s his turn, almost causing a crash. Don’t be that guy. Just stop at the stop sign I promise it won’t kill you.
5. Crossing guards are special people: I don’t know how the crossing guards get chosen. Do all the teachers draw straws, do they play a tournament of ‘rock, paper, scissors’? However it comes to be, I don’t know, but what I do know is I wouldn’t want to do it. The heat, the cold, the rain, the snow (other places, not in Mesa, lol), crazy drivers and hyperactive kids wouldn’t be something that I would volunteer for. So when you see them, be nice to them. Wave hi, smile, say something that isn’t corny like “sure is hot out here” (their sweat drenched face is self explanatory). I loved the crossing guards last year. I talked to them every day. Because right now it is still 900 degrees I sit in my car and wait for my kids. When it’s cooler I will get out and walk to the school to get them and that’s when I will chit chat with the crossing guards. Remember that they have a part in your child(ren)s safety – so be courteous.
6. Patience isn’t a four letter word: The other day I was dropping off my junior higher. Normally this is a cake process. But this time, when he hopped out, he stopped because he suddenly remembered he needed to tell me something. We had a 15 second exchange, seriously it was super quick, and the person behind me beeped their horn. I threw my hands up in the air like “are you kidding me!” If the person in front of you is dropping off kids cut them a little grace. People who are dropping off their kids need to be respectful of time too. Don’t block the only outgoing street and have a full blown conversation with your child standing outside of the car but do be as quick as you can with any exchanges that may need to take place. You’d be surprised, or maybe you wouldn’t be, at how easily kids “forget” to tell you something until the moment you drop them off. It happens – regardless of which car you’re sitting in, don’t be a dolt about it.
Yes the sarcasm is pretty thick. As I’m writing this all I can think is “why do I even have to write this?!” Common courtesy has gone wayside and it makes me angry and sad…but mostly angry.