I’d like to thank Kayli and Ricky Shoff. They made a mistake and not only did they learn from it but they’re sharing it with the world so that all parents can learn from it. So now we are reminded to bolt down furniture as part of baby-proofing. And that is a good and important reminder. And, on top of that we are reminded that we are human and we falter. These parents were lucky that their boys were in the end safe and healthy, and instead of moving on, they’ve stopped to acknowledge the mistake and share it so that others can learn. I admire their strength in sharing this tape and their story openly as it is so easy to just move on.
So often and easily we dub ourselves “the worst parent ever,” when in reality, we’ve made a mistake we can earnestly learn from and we know that in many cases we’ve done that with good intentions. The self-defaming proclamation can stem from a feeling of shame, disappointment, or embarrassment. And because we often proclaim it and move on, it can also act as an easy hall pass for something that should be addressed and could be learned from.
The Shoff family could have kept this experience to themselves, and if they had learned from it that would have been enough. But they went above and beyond. They are accepting responsibility for an accident that could have been prevented and celebrating the silver lining – one of their sons saved the other!
We can’t get it right every time. But often what we do as parents (successfully or not) can serve as lessons and reminders for future experiences for us in our parenting. It’s easy to condemn ourselves or to label ourselves. But it’s not easy to stand up, acknowledge a mistake, or even something intentional we are not proud of, and to learn from it. The Schoff’s story reminds me to own up and learn and to share that with people whom I can help.
Amy Alamar, EdD, combines academic research, educational practice, and real-world experience in her writing and workshops to help parents find perspective and develop confidence in raising their families and to help teachers better understand their own practice. She gains invaluable insights from her own personal research subjects (AKA her children and husband) whom she learns from and enjoys every day.
Amy has worked in the field of education as a teacher, teacher educator, researcher, parent educator, and education reformer for over fifteen years. In late 2014, Amy published her first book entitled: Parenting for the Genius: Developing Confidence in Your Parenting through Reflective Practice (For the Genius Press, 2014). The book is a comprehensive guide to becoming the most thoughtful and confident parent possible, with anecdotes and details relating to the guidance and support of children in specific age ranges throughout their formative years. Amy is also a contributing author to the Disney parenting website, Babble.com.
As a frequent speaker to parent and faculty groups, Amy focuses on a wide range of parenting topics including student stress and wellbeing, raising digital natives in the information age, and parenting kids with character. She also conducts faculty development workshops that focus on engagement with learning, professional communication, and curriculum design. She was an invited guest of Michelle Obama at the White House for a conversation about kids’ health in 2016.