When You’re Wrong, Just Admit It.
I got an email from another parent – someone serving on the Drama Club’s “parent help” committee. She emailed a vast number of parents, asking for help during the play.
This is typical, and I would be happy to help – except that Dylan was not in the play. In fact, he didn’t even audition. He’s been so busy with Field of Screams AND rock climbing club AND ultimate frisbee club AND the rest of his life that he simply didn’t have time to take part in the play this fall.
So I responded to that drama parent, politely, and said that my email address should not be on the list because my son is not in the play.
And she responded to me, not as politely:
“I was working with a list of current cast and crew, so if your child isn’t involved with the current production I would not have your email address.”
Since I have been taking my vitamins regularly, I was able to write a very kind note (in comparison to the one in my head):
“Please don’t say, ‘If your child isn’t involved with the current production I would not have your email address.’ That is very frustrating for me. I think I would know if my child (who IS involved with several other clubs right now, and doesn’t have time for drama) were involved in the current production. My child is NOT involved with the current production, so you should NOT be using my email address. He is NOT involved.”
I realize that parenting is hard work, and that volunteering can add to that stress. I know that coordinating parental volunteers can be time-consuming, thought-consuming and all-over consuming.
But gosh darn it, I thought, when you’re wrong, just admit it.
I was fuming, but trying to remain calm. I hate when someone doesn’t apologize. Minutes later, I got an email back:
“I’m not sure what just happened here. I think you misunderstood what I was saying. The only reason I sent the information out through [the school email list] was to make sure that I was able to contact as many of the parents as possible that would be interested in helping. I don’t want anyone to feel left out.”
What? I thought. Did she say school email list?
I suddenly remembered the original email. It had been sent to the whole school.
No one had singled me out, claiming that my son was in the play. In fact, the only person who singled me out was ME. And so it was suddenly my job to respond – and quickly:
“OH! I think I understand what happened – and it is TOTALLY my fault. You sent this via [the school email list], and even though I noticed that subconsciously, I somehow thought I’d been put on a new email list for the drama department! I now get what you were trying to say, and how you were trying to say it, and it is my turn to apologize. With the busy kids and all, I haven’t gotten a lot of sleep lately and I think it’s starting to show! I’m truly and sincerely sorry for jumping down your throat. If I didn’t have so much to do, I would go take a nap. Seriously – I am sorry.”
And then I sheepishly walked away from the computer.
I never heard back from the other parent.