BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT GETTING CONNECTED!
Written by Elaina Russo, Director of Development and PCA Mom
Did you know that this Friday marks FOUR weeks that our children have been in school? (Why does four weeks back in school seem to fly, but four weeks of not eating ice cream feels like time is standing still?)
If you’re new to Portsmouth Christian Academy (PCA)…welcome! You’ve joined a great school community. If this is a “return” year for you, welcome back! I pray that each of you and your children have found your groove and are settling into the new school year.
I’m the director of development at PCA. That means I have the privilege of helping people see what God is doing at and through PCA and challenging them to have the impact that only they can have.
I’ve been a part of the PCA community since 2011: first as a parent, then a volunteer, followed by director of enrollment, and now in development. I’m a wife and mom of three kids (four, if you count the dog). I love ice cream with “stuff” in it and just about anything braised.
If I could offer parents one piece of advice—whether you’re new or seasoned, live around the corner or in another state, have one child or seven—it would be this: be intentional about getting connected.
”If I could offer parents one piece of advice—whether you’re new or seasoned, live around the corner or in another state, have one child or seven—it would be this: be intentional about getting connected.
My son said to me a few months ago during a conversation about socializing: “C’mon, Mom, it’s not like you and Dad have any friends.” And wham!…just like that, I was schooled by my child about (yet another) bit of educating my husband and I needed to do. You see, it’s not that we don’t have friends; it’s that we never get together with our friends because we’re committed to all-things-children. Between the Covid years, the busyness of our family, and where we live (Massachusetts), we hadn’t hosted many gatherings in our home over the past few years. Our children hadn’t seen hospitality in action, or social graces, or relationship-building…or how to sit still for more than 15 minutes at a time! So we decided to get back in the game. We dusted off the “nice glassware,” cleaned our house like we hadn’t in a long time, and welcomed our first guests this summer. I forgot how fun it is to have people over. I forgot how eye-opening it is to watch one’s children engage with others in their own space. I forgot how God blessed us to BE a blessing.
We travel a good distance to be a part of the PCA community. We intentionally create space for the commute, the homework, and the extracurriculars. At one point, when our son was in the Lower School, we were very good about getting to know other families: signing up to chaperone field trips, extending/accepting playdate invitations and later, sleepovers, and yes, getting together with people socially. We attended school theatre events, soccer and basketball games, and school community events. Somewhere along the way, we lost track of the value in this: for our children AND for us.
For our kids, those get-togethers outside the classroom in less agenda-driven opportunities translate into better relationships inside the classroom, on the field, and in the band. Shared moments of play help the kids see what their natural commonalities are, learn how other people see things differently, and in some instances, bond the kids to each other for the long-term.
For us parents, intentional gatherings allow us to get to know others who share similar visions and dreams for our children. We, too, deepen our connections over commonalities and learn how alternate experiences may result in different perspectives. Additionally, we model for our kids how to develop and nurture relationships, how to care about those things that are important to others, how to have debates that are respectful, how to pray for and with people, and how to have fun with others (without having a screen in front of us).
So if you haven’t plugged in, yet, this year, get in the game. There are more ways to connect with others at PCA than you probably have time for: volunteer inside the school, chaperone field trips, drive an Eaglet, carpool with another family, cheer on the Eagles at an athletic game, attend one of Dr. Lawrence’s LIFE sessions, sign up for parent-teacher conferences, come to a Moms/Dads in Prayer, read the weekly NOW, sit in on a Friday chapel, deliver school lunches, bring your own parents to Grandparents’ Day if possible, offer an after-school class to a small group of students, attend your child’s quarterly Awards ceremonies, go to a school concert, watch a school play, work on the Auction, provide your feedback to school surveys, decorate at Christmas, build theatre sets, and respond to requests for help and supplies from your child’s teacher or principal. And if all else fails, dust off the “nice glasses,” tidy up around the house, and invite a family to your house for lunch and fun. You’ll be surprised and blessed that you did!
”We model for our kids how to develop and nurture relationships, how to care about those things that are important to others, how to have debates that are respectful, how to pray for and with people, and how to have fun with others (without having a screen in front of us).