Austin, TX: Thanksgiving Break. Reflecting upon the magical time the cousins, grandparents, adult siblings, and their spouses have had over the past few days, I am overwhelmed with the feeling of being so grateful to be a part of this large family filled with respect and appreciation. The unspoken requirement that my wife's family conveyed over 15 years ago was all members have to be active participants, with the caveat that an active participant can also mean an enthusiastic spectator. This feeling of family is what comes to mind when I think of the eight years I've been a part of The Potomac School.
When we began our Potomac experience, we knew that the school was the right fit for our son, but we had no idea what was expected as a "Potomac parent." My wife and I made a concerted effort to attend the many events the Lower School offered, in addition to various forums, parent organization meetings, MS/IS assemblies, volunteer opportunity meetings, etc.
Our aha moment came early—on the first day of school, in fact, when my wife and I attended the Opening Assembly. At the annual assembly, seniors who have attended Potomac since kindergarten are paired with new kindergartners, and the students walk in hand-in-hand. My wife and I were touched by the ceremony and commented on how special we found this tradition. When I saw how many other parents were in the audience enjoying the event, I had a hunch of what was expected as a Potomac parent. I knew this feeling—it reminded me of my wife's family.
This family experience is always a component of Potomac's events, which include countless assemblies in Lower School, the Fall Frolics carnival, Parent Forums, Middle School field day, athletic games, the FAPS welcome back cookout, and more. Many of these events are organized, staffed, and attended by the parents of Potomac students. The culture of the institution encourages parents to be actively involved without overshadowing the students, and parents are all encouraged to be enthusiastic spectators.
As a Potomac Parent, I am happy to be an active participant as well an enthusiastic spectator. I encourage all parents to get involved—watch seniors and kindergartners perform the Turkey Tango at the annual Thanksgiving Assembly, volunteer in the Panther Pit, attend a FAPS meeting or a parent forum. There is a spot for all.