Monday, March 17, 2014

Do You Know Me...Or No? - Knowing When To Be The Unacknowledged Parent

I was in the car driving my teenage daughter to golf practice.  I was on my way to work.

"So, are you going to know me, or not?" I asked.

"I don't know yet," my fifteen year old freshman replied.

She wouldn't know until she got to golf practice.

Where my job was taking the golf team photo for her school yearbook.

Photo Courtesy of JC Imagery

Our lives often go like this.  As photographers, we take pictures at our local school(s).  In the past two years we have been the team and individual photographers for her middle school and, now, to her chagrin/delight, her high school.  This means we are smack in the middle of her "peeps", usually telling players how to stand, what to do, etc.  Sometimes pretty bossily (ever tried to get the attention of 35 high schoolers?  - you've kind of got to turn on the "eyes-on-me" loud teacher voice).  This can be mortifying for your own teenage kid.

Hence, the "so are you going to know me or not?" question.

In Middle School, a lot of the kids knew we were her parents.  By the time we started taking the team photos, she was an 8th grader and we had been around for two years at sporting events.  She kind of ran with the fact that, yes, her parents were the photographers.

Then came high school; a whole different animal.

She is a freshman, which means she's already at the bottom of the totem pole and didn't want anything that would make her different.  And now her parents were going to be, not only with her peers, but telling them what to do.  Her anonymity was either going to be abolished or maintained depending on her actions that day.

The pressure.

I get the pressure.  As the daughter of two teachers, when someone learns my last name, I always wait patiently (yeah, not) for their reaction.  Was this a student who loved my teacher parents or hated my teacher parents?

While we only see these players for 10 minutes a year, the human race is fast to form opinions.  If I come across too bossy/firm, players could look to my daughter with pity or scorn.  If I am not bossy/firm enough, I run the risk of ending up with a crummy photo.

Rock and a hard place.  Total balancing act.

It was her choice and I would respect her decision either way.


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