Dads Mean Well. I think.

This email just popped in my email box and I think it’s worth discussing. If Dads really want to get more involved and help the school, faculty and students, why don’t they handle the carpool lanes?  Even if it’s one day a week, it would be infinitely more helpful than having dads stand around the hallways engaging, laughing and encouraging.

Nice of the Dad’s Club to want to help but,  a)  might they be better utilized elsewhere? and,  b) if they do serve as greeters, I would want to be  sure that these dads do not mention anything about God. That’s right. God. Because having greeters welcome students once a week sounds a lot like church, and since the Dad’s Club president also happens to be the Pastor at Watermark Church, I want to be sure that  there’s no recruiting going on.

Dads of MIS and HPMS:

As the year comes to an end, I wanted to let you know about an opportunity to jump in, enjoy your kids and serve the faculty and school family.

For a long time, many of us, along with Ms. Laurie Norton and other administrators have been brainstorming ways we can up fathers’ presence on the MIS/HPMS campus.  Thankfully, through some collective brainstorming with other HPISD Dads’ Clubs and some “best practices” exchanges with other districts, we think we have the perfect solution.

We have all observed the increased demands academically, socially and in extra-curricular activities that open up for kids as they make their way through life and HPISD.  Too often this has been joined by a decreased presence of Dads in these same activities.  Not a good combination and something we hope to mitigate with our new MONDAY MORNING GREETERS.

Beginning Monday, May 17th and then every Monday throughout May, we intend to put a few Dads at each door and at each major hallway intersection throughout the school from 7:50-8:20 a.m.  This will be a great way to welcome, engage with, laugh and encourage the students as they show up for another week of learning.
To do this effectively, we will need 25-30 Dads on 17th and 24th.  This 30 minutes is the perfect way to meet other Dads, see all the kids you used to coach, and learn names of all the new friends your children have made this year.
Please respond to bduncan@watermark.org with the Monday(s) you are able to show up and make a difference with us.
Hopefully, next year this can be a way for Dads to be present and engaged with their kids and friends every Monday, but until then, we wanted to end this school year by showing up and encouraging them.
We hope to have a web based sign up system in place next year, but for now we are going to fill it the old fashioned way.   Don’t miss out….be one of the first Dads to start a new tradition with us.  Sign up today by responding to bduncan@watermark.org.
Important Reminder:  All volunteers must have and wear their HPISD official volunteer badge.  If you do not yet have a volunteer badge, you can complete the background check request by clicking on the following link: http://www.hpisd.org/Portals/0/docs/personnel/Volunteer CH May 2007.pdf

Matt Bush and Todd Wagner

Dad’s Club Presidents

Kersten Rettig

Kersten Rettig is an eater, drinker, cooker, writer and former restaurant owner with a deep affection for all things food and beverage related. The Park Cities resident has a food blog and Instagram called The Kickshaw Papers. Follow her @KickshawPapers.

29 thoughts on “Dads Mean Well. I think.

  • May 11, 2010 at 3:27 pm
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    There are a couple of Dads at Armstrong who are carpool greeters. One of them has been there every morning for 7 years. Alas, his last child is moving on up from Armstrong to MIS. Other Dads there provide added street crossing support. It’s a wonderful thing. Bradfield used to have Dads every morning, but that practice seems to have fallen by the wayside.

    Kirsten, you are on-target for Dads getting involved in the carpool at MIS. Great idea.

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  • May 11, 2010 at 3:59 pm
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    It’s a good thought to get dads involved, but why can’t they do something useful, like all of the endless list of things they make, I mean ask the mothers to do? Supply room, snack room, lunchroom, TAG room, carpool, etc.? Why do dads get the job of “greeting”, yucking it up and glad handing the kids? The dad’s club should work on taking up the slack with the real positions that the parents are expected to fulfill – how about the dads club commits to 25% of those positions for a start – get them filled with the dads? Then with all the leftover time they want to volunteer they can stand around and smile and slap backs. And thank you Merritt, for bringing up that religion should be kept out of it – no God Blessing all the kids when they walk into school. Church and State – seperate folks.

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  • May 11, 2010 at 4:01 pm
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    Agreed on the feeling like church thing. It all seems a little creepy to me. Now, dads in the carpool lines is a great idea; making sure the kids cross safely and order is even semi-maintained seems a little more important to me than what is mentioned on the e-mail.

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  • May 11, 2010 at 4:26 pm
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    Agree! If the Dads Club wants to help, the biggest need is the carpool lane. Surprised that didn’t come up in any of the meetings where they were looking for “something to do” – I vote for passing on the “door greeters” and moving the dads who want to help out the doors and into the carpool lanes.

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  • May 11, 2010 at 5:47 pm
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    My first thought was about carpool, too. At least two every days should be by the portables on Granada keeping the carpool lane moving. Greeting just sounds so lame. Really Dads, is this the best you can do? Like Kmom said, roll up your sleeves and do some real work!

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  • May 11, 2010 at 9:49 pm
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    Yeah, dads do some real work. Better yet, get a job! Wait, what?

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  • May 11, 2010 at 10:31 pm
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    I LOVE the idea of having dads greet students! What a positive roll they can play on our campus.

    As for those that are worried about the God possibly being mentioned in a 5 second greeting you have greater worries. I seriously doubt these dads are trying to preach to your child when they greet them in the morning.

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  • May 11, 2010 at 11:36 pm
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    Church and state separate? hmmm…but the dads are just volunteers, not paid employees and it doesn’t sound like they are taking little Jimmy aside and asking if he wants to join their special club…Nah…I’d say we could be okay on letting volunteers say “God bless” if they want. And I’m okay with “namaste” or “may the Great Spirit be kind to you.” Just a volunteer wishing you well. different people are into different things.

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  • May 12, 2010 at 7:52 am
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    My take: Levelheaded and Bill go to Watermark. You’re not getting it. There’s zero need for greeters. Lauri Norton – please think again about this ridiculous idea. My kids were each there 4 years and are now at the high school. They don’t want moms or dads chit chatting with them. These are the years when a natural separation from adults takes place and kids gravitate more towards peer relationships. And that is normal child development. And the good pastor makes the assumption that at this age, dads are less involved with their kids. Speak for yourself. I don’t know ANY father who is less involved with their kids now. If anything, they are more so. This is a transparent ploy by Watermark’s pastor, the coach who yells at the kids and throws clip boards, I’m told, to get in the school and recruit. And levelheaded, I do NOT have serious worries about anything but this thinly veiled attempt to indoctrinate. I don’t attend watermark, I know people who do and they seem to be a little brainwashed and I don’t want that spewing into school. You’re definitely the “spread the good word” kind of people and that’s great. Just don’t spread it at a public school.

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  • May 12, 2010 at 9:06 am
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    “Beginning Monday, May 17th and then every Monday throughout May”…That’s two days- something that will take one hour spread out over two weeks should be summarized in fewer than 6 paragraphs. I’m just sayin’.

    And I’d give more points for letting the kids see these dads do some work in the carpool lane, supply shop or cafeeteria. I think what we’ve got here is a new “job” that allows some guys to say they volunteer without having to set their coffee down.

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  • May 12, 2010 at 9:32 am
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    Merritt hit the nail on the head. You should be able to conjure up this picture now: Dads walk in … Ask where the coffee is … invade the teacher’s lounge … come up with a plan to supply more coffee next time, oh, and donuts. Donuts would be good. Hey, Matt, I’m looking for some contacts to get in on that development going on over in Plug Hollow. Hi Bill. Good morning, brother. You coming to Bible study later? Oh, hi young matt (to his first MIS kid). Hey guys, back in a minute. Going to get some more coffee. Hey, what’d you think of Le Bron last night?

    All done with a Bluetooth headset plugged in, and one hand checking emails.

    Then there will be the guys hanging around the doors cackling like a bunch of old hens gathered around the flag pole (gossip).

    Dads, if you are going to be taking up 30 parking places, then do something useful while you are there. Open doors, help kids get there projects and music instruments out of the car, put on an orange vest and serve as a volunteer crossing guard, stand in the middle of the road and stare down the inconsiderate carpool Dad/Mom.

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  • May 12, 2010 at 10:27 am
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    anon-good points! Had not thought about the parking issues created by these dads. No thanks. Already not enough parking. At least park your car and help in the carpool lane if you are taking up space.

    Stay out of the school. The kids just left their parents. Give them space. The only have a few minutes from the car to the class. My kids will say hello and move on. You will not have enough of an impact on them to warrant the parking problem you will create. However, go out to the carpool lane and get that thing safe and moving and you will be our heroes! That is a contribution, my kids will notice and benefit from.

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  • May 12, 2010 at 11:36 am
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    So the president of the Dads Club is the pastor at Watermark? Nothing wrong with that, but, Wow, that explains SO much. Like why the speaker at the Dads Club’s October meeting was a guy who (as per his organization’s website) is on a “mission to move the people of God to embrace, live out, preserve and advance the truth of biblical sexuality.”

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  • May 12, 2010 at 12:03 pm
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    It is really creepy for middle-age men, who are complete strangers, to chat up my 13-year-old daughter. It’s ok just because they’re in the school hallway? It’s not ok in the grocery store or at the mall. It’s possible that one or more of these guys gets their jollies up by being around the kids–even upstanding memebers of a well-known church. Why on earth would Laurie Norton let them do this?

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  • May 12, 2010 at 2:34 pm
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    How about Dad’s club taking one day in the Caf and staffing that, minus cashiers????? Or take several days and sign up. I think the Dad’s will get the kids hyped up before they get a chance to get to class, and then it is the child that is in trouble, not the Dad. BAD IDEA for this to take place.
    Carpool is a great place to help out as well. Not as fun tho….
    I do not want any Dad “greeting” my daughter that she does not know. Sorry.

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  • May 12, 2010 at 3:28 pm
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    I worked at the HPMS cafeteria today while the Dad’s Club volunteers cooked burgers over a blazing grill for the teachers/staff in this awful humidity for probably three hours. A few dads came in during each lunch period to pass out popsicles to all of the students. I didn’t notice a single one talking on a cell phone or preaching to anyone. They were there doing something nice for our school.

    People often complain about churches being full of hypocrites. I’m sure Watermark has its share. But what I saw today was men out there serving, treating others as they would like to be treated, and setting a good example. I can’t blame them for not wanting to be out in the weather (whatever it may be) working carpool before going to the office. The dads today probably took at least a half day off work to be there.

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  • May 12, 2010 at 3:36 pm
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    Awesome, Jen. Then they can continue to sling hash and not waste time walking the halls greeting students. Next thing you know, Dad’s Club president will suggest they serve as Ushers to get the kids to class. And then to pass the basket if you know what I mean.

    I don’t think anyone is saying that dads only talk on the phone, make deals or evangelize, the consensus is that there’s no NEED for Dads to stand around yucking it up with students, but there is a NEED for volunteers to take on the carpool situation which is a hot topic at this school and make it a safer place for everyone.

    And now that Nicke Steno says that a Dad’s Club meeting had a speaker that touts “biblical sexuality,” I’m even more dubious about Dad’s Club president’s motives.

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  • May 12, 2010 at 4:15 pm
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    Notice I didn’t say they should be greeters in the hallway, I merely responded to anon’s comments (which, by the way, could easily be applied to many of the moms volunteering at school).

    We seem to forget that most of the men in our community go to work every day so that their wives can stay home & care for their children. I consider volunteering at the schools a part of my job as a stay-at-home mom. I would never expect my husband to take on any volunteer job at the school during the workday. For those dads who have the time and spend it volunteering at the school, I can simply say “Thank you.” So, do we need dads greeting students one morning a week in the hallways, no, but I also don’t expect them to take on the job of carpool patrol.

    As far as the speaker at the Dad’s Club meeting, the topic was most likely announced in advance, and dads could choose to attend or not.

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  • May 12, 2010 at 5:10 pm
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    Isn’t the stated purpose of the Dads’ Clubs to provide financial support and resources to the schools? That’s what I understood when I paid my dues. If a group wants to pursue something different than the stated mission, such as being better dads or exploring biblical sexuality, then dandy – I’ll just thank them to do it under another name and not with my contributions.

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  • May 13, 2010 at 8:37 am
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    Just an idea here, but in addition to blog commenting about it, why don’t some of the MIS Dads here just do it? Go stand on the sidewalk and open doors. MIS Moms, get your husbands to do it. We know you have the power. Get them there 15 minutes early, open some doors and when the madhouse is calm, slip into the morning dew knowing that you’ve done a good thing.

    3-5 Dads from this blog for one week. Anyone?

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  • May 13, 2010 at 10:53 am
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    Surely we’re being punked by @Jen? “most of the men in our community go to work everyday so that their wives can stay home & care for their children…I don’t expect them to take on the job of carpool patrol.” SERIOUSLY? Do you not realize there are many, many working mom’s around here? I’d say 2/3 or more of the mom’s I’ve volunteered with every time are mom’s with jobs, some are single mom’s with jobs! I’ve done volunteer duty with everything from surgeon mom’s to mom’s working retail 6 days a week! One year my sister in law & I did Armstrong cafeteria duty together every month and we both owned our own businesses – loong hours, but there we were slinging hash. At the last minute one year I was begged to take on a 2nd day a month cashiering, they could not get a spot filled, more help is needed. So either the rule is only non-working moms are asked to fill these ongoing volunteer positions – which would remove 1/2 your workforce as it is now – or the dads can be expected to start volunteering as well. In USEFUL positions.
    You’ve had a mom here express she’s uncomfortable with the men greeting the kids, so take it outside. Working the carpool you have the parents there to witness the interaction. Take it to the cafeteria, supply rooms, TAG rooms, etc. where there is already the tradition of volunteering. It’s obvious that the thought of the greeters makes many mom volunteers roll their eyes at the least, seethe with rage at the most – awesome dad’s club wants to give of their time, it’s needed and wanted, just not in a worthless, fluffy, potentially creepy greeter capacity. And leave your bible’s at home, whatever you decide to do.

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  • May 13, 2010 at 1:37 pm
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    Kmom, I think you said it all. Case closed and amen!

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  • May 13, 2010 at 1:38 pm
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    Kmom, I think you summed it up perfectly. Case closed and amen!

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  • May 13, 2010 at 5:20 pm
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    I am with @ No Moonies 100%. As the mom of non Christian child, it is bad enough that there is proselytizing in the cafeteria. They ignore my child (and many others) because they are not of the “correct” religion or don’t go to the “right” church. They greet and chum it up with the kids that believe as these “missionaries’ ” do, casting out the nonbelievers.

    Separation of church and state is there for a reason.

    Ms. Norton – please cancel this ill thought out plan and put them to use where we need them — IN THE CARPOOL LINE. That ‘s where everyone’s true colors are displayed, no matter how many times a week you go to church!

    PS – Our family will no longer be paying Dad’s Club dues if there are speakers as mentioned above. I will instead add it to the Mad for Plaid donation that we make, where I know it will be used to benefit our school, not paying some ideologue to come speak on “biblical sexuality.” Simply outrageous.

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  • May 14, 2010 at 9:43 am
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    This morning (Friday), one Dad at Bradfield opening doors; at least 6 Dads at Armstrong opening doors and directing traffic.

    Any at MIS?

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  • May 17, 2010 at 12:01 pm
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    Beginning Monday, May 17th and then every Monday throughout May, we intend to put a few Dads at each door

    Did anyone show up? Greeters? Or Carpool helpers?

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  • May 17, 2010 at 12:12 pm
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    I saw 3 or 4 dads at the cafeteria door area … drinking coffee, chatting with each other, patting each other on the back … no or nominal greetings to students … I stayed and watched for just a few minutes … without exception, each child that I watched scurried with head down right between chatting, coffee drinking dads. I’m sure it made dads feel good … you know, getting the volunteering hours and all … total waste of time.

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