Celebrate the Small!
You know I have to admit, I have been feeling a little defeated and maybe even some level of failure lately. I haven’t been sure what do do about it or where to go, exactly. I thought it through and decided that we should talk about it here. What better place to share struggles with the Parent Teacher Group (PTG) world than among PTG friends, even if that means being really honest about my own leadership struggles. We like to think that by trying hard and giving it our all, we can turn things around. What do we do, then, if none of that matters?
Let me give you some background…
For the entire 5+ years that I have been involved in volunteering with Parent Teacher Groups (PTG), my group has been focusing on rebuilding, re-branding, and reaching out to bring in new members/volunteers. For myself, I have worked on cultivating an acceptance that not everyone is interested in getting involved and that’s okay. By instead narrowing in on those who naturally want to be involved, but might need a little nudge, our hope has been to develop strong 1:1 relationships with volunteers who really do care! In doing so, we believed our numbers were likely to rebound. We were sure our numbers would start to climb, climb, climb.
Guess what we’ve found out?
That just hasn’t happened. UGH!
Insert ugly cry here….
Despite, having a SUPER strong/active/supportive PTG that collaborates highly with teachers/staff and has a really good overall reputation, our numbers have just not increased overall. You all, our membership numbers this year are at an all time low. I hear that is the case across the board. I’m guessing it might be the case for your group too?
It isn’t all about the numbers
My husband asked me last night, “Would it help if I joined too?” Don’t get me wrong, I think it would be truly fantastic if ALL parents/guardians involved in a child’s life would join up in some capacity in their school’s PTG. What I really would like to see is not more members of MY family or YOUR family engaging, but rather more families across the community joining/volunteering (even just a little bit). That shouldn’t be such an unrealistic goal, should it?
Should we give up?
It is through these scenarios and setbacks that we can really start to understand why people give up. This exact topic is a prime example of why many PTGs disband. Sad, but true. We so often think, if less than 1% of the family population at my school cares to get involved, why should I? Right?
So why don’t we just give up? It would be a lot easier. Wouldn’t it? I mean, think of the time I’d have on my hands. My house would be so clean! Well, maybe it might not be *that* clean, but it would be cleanER! 😉
The next day we see the faces of our kids as we take them to school. And we know we do it because WE care, not because someone else does too.
Then, we see the faces of the other children there, in line or walking down the hallway. They smile a big toothy smile, give us a wave, or even a hug! We can tell a light goes off because they remember seeing us at picture day or working a shift at the school store. They might say, “there’s __________mom! HI!!” It’s then that we are reminded that WE care about the school, the children, and the community. We do it because we have to.
Still, it is hard to keep on when the support is so low.
So, what do we do?
Maybe the ONLY thing to do is NOT to focus on who isn’t helping. Don’t think about the vast numbers of families who didn’t join this year. We just can’t focus on that. We don’t know their stories or their lives. It isn’t our job to assume what they should or shouldn’t do. Success is not found in numbers.
Do you have people showing interest? It might not be 20 or 40, but do you have anyone at all?
Did you get a new member this year, someone who didn’t join last year?
Has a new family to the school joined?
If so, rejoice in that, rejoice in it all! Celebrate the small!
That new family could be the key to 2 more? Who knows! What’s more, you could end up being a gift to them. Maybe being involved in your PTG is a way for that new family to find connections at school that they would simply not have found otherwise.
Celebrate the small!
Remember that every volunteer or member you do have (no matter how few) is something..someone to celebrate and be grateful for!
Sure it would be great to have one of those groups of PTGS that literally has 50+ active volunteers and people vying for board positions. If that isn’t your group (clearly it sure isn’t mine), don’t despair. Success is not found in numbers, but in action. Your group, no matter how small, can still have a very strong and positive impact whether you are a group of 5, 10, 15 or 50!
Celebrate your successes, recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and find ways to continue to grow and expand. Each day is a new day to reach out and make a connection. Each day is a new day allowing you to continue to impact your school and kids in a happy and healthy way. Just look at those sweet faces at school and remember why you are there.
Thanks so much for stopping in and staying connected with me! I so appreciate you and hope you are having a wonderful day. If you have any tips that have helped you and your group thrive to the occasion, we’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line or a comment below. As always, don’t forget to sign-up and follow me so that you do not miss any of my posts! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest too!