Friday, November 21, 2008

Cooties: How quickly we remember?

Can I Sit With You? - The Stormy Social Seas of the Schoolyard is an interesting if at times heart wrenching web site that solicits and prints stories written by "grown-ups" about being left out, bullied and otherwise marginalized in their childhood. Here is the mission of this site in the organizers' own words:

Mission Statement

Can I Sit With You?

Could more stress be crammed into fewer words? Though to some people this phrase means merely, “Yay, new friends,” to a lot of us it means instant school anxiety flashbacks. And possibly an intense need to crawl into a hole, or vomit.

Dealing with the other kids at school was complicated even if you didn’t have a label. For those of us who were socially awkward, culturally juxtaposed, same-sex attracted, gender-cocooned, income-challenged, “weird” sibling-saddled, differently abled, atypical looking, religiously isolated, on the autism spectrum, or who somehow just didn’t fit in, it could be brutal. Even though most of us eventually developed coping strategies, grew up, left school behind, and tried not to think about how much that time in our life sucked.

Until some of us starting having our own kids. And saw those kids start to flounder, saw them start fretting about how to fit in. Aiigh! What to do?

Well, we don’t know what most people would do, but we’ve decided to take action. We want to help our kids. We want to give them some ammunition, or at least some mental armor. We want to show them that almost everyone has been mystified or terrorized by the schoolyard social scene, though for different reasons and in different ways. We want them to see that their angst is both universal and timeless. We want them to know that other people totally understand.


The purpose of the Can Sit With You is two-fold: To provide a forum for folks to write about their school experiences as described above, and to raise funds for SEPTAR, the Special Education Parent Teacher Association for Redwood City. The site publishes and sells compilations of these stories, and when web site readers click on ads or buys recommended books, SEPTAR earns money.

A look around the SEPTAR site shows what amazing things a group of parents of kids in special ed can accomplish. It inspires/intimidates/brings out the green-eyed monster for those of us involved with local groups whose activities and accomplishments are more modest. I truly commend the parents in this group, and it is always good to see what other Special Ed PTAs out there are doing.

So, kudos to this Redwood City group,and maybe we can all click on an ad or two to support them. And if you would like to submit your own school story, check out the Can I Sit With You? submission guidelines.

Finally, I'm interested to know how the Can I Sit With You? stories resonate with you. Please share.

1 comment:

Pam said...

Hello, I am inspired by this blog. Yes, school is hard and yes, it is temporary. Thanks for sharing, Carol. Pam