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Grey Matters, October 14, 2013; Volume 2, Number 7

posted Oct 13, 2013, 10:46 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jun 26, 2014, 11:17 AM by James Marcotte ]

Last night was the first opportunity of the school year for my wife and I to go out for dinner sans children (hallelujah!).  When we arrived at the restaurant, we were quickly seated in a corner, right next to a family with a 2-year old and a newborn.  Some of you might be thinking “oh no!”, but we were fine with this.  First, the family was extremely friendly.  More importantly, I kind of enjoy being in crowded spaces where others are with their kids.  One of my favorite things is being on a plane without my own kids, but there are still other families with young kids on the plane.  Why? Because, selfishly, when their kids cry, scream, or throw something across the plane - I can be sympathetic, but not accountable (twisted, I know).  It’s like waking up to an alarm clock, realizing you have no place to be, and going back to sleep.  There’s that small moment of relief and joy before falling back into a slumber.  The most interesting part of the evening was what happened after the family decided to cut their dinner a bit short because the two-month old was quickly becoming inconsolable.  As the waitress was helping them pack, the wife was lamenting how she didn’t get to finish her one glass of white wine.  Thirty seconds later, the waitress returned with a plastic juice cup equipped with a big red straw, poured the wine in the cup, and handed it to the mom to take (for her, not the kids).  That one gesture got the restaurant a guaranteed repeat customer, and I got my opening for this week’s Grey Matters.  

Last Tuesday, I had lunch with the students who were selected by their team or by an Exploratory teacher to be recognized this trimester as one of our Everyday Leaders.  As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we have developed this activity as one way to acknowledge the contributions that students make through daily acts of kindness, enthusiasm in class, and respect for others.  Congratulations to the following students for being selected as part of our first group of Everyday Leaders:  Gus Teran, Sarika Chawla, Matt Vaillancourt, Rebecca Lin, Justin Aguilar, Owen Webster, Sydney Smith, McKenzie Lippa, Luke LaForest, Alex Ewing, and Erik Oddsund.  

If your kids are like my kids, they are already deep into the planning of their costumes for Halloween.  We have a tradition at RJ Grey where students (and teachers) come to school dressed up in costumes on the day of Halloween.  To be sure, we are more flexible with our expectations regarding appropriate dress (i.e. the student coming dressed in a full lobster costume, for example) and we look forward to seeing the creative outfits that students put together this year.  During their planning, please help your child keep in mind that we must still avoid including props that mimic weapons (swords, firearms, knives, etc.), and clothing that includes profanity and/or might be overly revealing or minimalist in nature.  It’s a great tradition, and we all look forward to a fun and spirited day.  

Most of you are very aware of the efforts to raise funds to replace the District's outdoor track facilities. A committee of community volunteers have led the AB Track Renovation project, and working hard to see this private-public effort come to fruition. With a target of $600,000, the group has raised over $550,000, including $150,000 from the District's operating budget, and are in the final stages of their fundraising efforts and still trying to reach their target.  If you'd like to learn more about these efforts, please visit their Facebook page by clicking here.

A friendly reminder that all interims were sent to families at the end of last week.  If you received any, please use this as an opportunity to have a conversation with your child about his or her goals, and what the next steps might be.  The Fall Trimester does not end until the day before the Thanksgiving holiday, so there is ample time to make adjustments in one’s classes.  If you have any questions about a particular class, please contact your child’s teacher or schedule a team meeting if that might be more useful.  

Finally, I just read some articles on the New York Times website that I thought might be of interest to many of you.  The New York Times’ “Room for Debate Roundtable” raised the issue of competitive youth sports as a topic for discussion, specifically asking a variety of experts in the areas of sports, medicine, and sociology about the challenges and opportunities that come with competitive youth sports.  First, let me note that I share this topic not because I myself have a fixed opinion about this issue, other than to believe that it’s a topic worth discussing (and could also be applied to not only sports, but perhaps extracurricular commitments in general).  Given that I just told my son that in two weeks, his travel soccer team has a doubleheader because of a scheduling change, this article gave me pause as a dad. It also reminded me of conversations that I’ve had with RJ Grey parents about the pros and cons of having our kids participate in activities that are meaningful and rewarding, and can potentially be overly demanding and taxing on the minds and bodies of 13 and 14 year olds.  First, here is a link to the “Roundtable Debate” - view it by clicking here.  Secondly, and equally as interesting, there are two columns written by parents who take somewhat different views of this issue of competitive youth sports. They both introduce some compelling arguments and perspectives that are worth debating.  Click here for the parent who says, “bring it on” to the intense schedule of competitive youth soccer; and click here for the parent who wonders, “what happened to recreational sports?”  

On a semi-related note, I hope all of our RJG families found at least a little time this long weekend to simply relax and re-energize (let’s not discuss Saturday night’s Red Sox game).  We’ll see all of the students back in school on Tuesday.

Have a great week, everyone.