We made a little history last night with the inaugural meeting of the Alcott Dads PTG Support Group. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time in the history of America that men have assembled with the explicit intention of being more active in their school’s parent-teacher organization!
In September, I posted about my observation that fathers, by definition, don’t get involved in parent groups. [Disclaimer: I generally don’t stereotype, but when it comes to parent groups the gender differences are so pronounced that it can’t be avoided. Okay, back to the post.] This is a real shame since 1) we know our wives would appreciate some help, and 2) there is an emerging body of evidence that active participation by fathers is good for kids (and boys in particular). Check out expert John Badalament who shared his research in our town last week.
My theory is that most dads would like to be more active in their kids’ schools, but they’re not sure where to start. That’s why I am promoting our Support Group. People inevitably chuckle when they hear about it, and that’s okay. We are putting a fun, social wrapper around a serious purpose. Here’s what we’re doing:
This idea was conceived in August while having dinner with our PTG co-president (a mom, needless to say), and she has been supportive since day one.
I floated the idea at soccer fields, birthday parties and social events with all the Alcott dads I know. Without exception, every dad was enthusiastic about participating.
I invited all those dads to come to a local bar for our “inaugural meeting” and the PTG publicized it, too. Last night 14 people showed up and had a great time together.
We spent about 20 minutes doing some formal business: Approving a mission statement, a group symbol (the beer hammer – gotta make it fun, right?), and appointing a committee to carry out our first assignment from the PTG (construction of new sandwich boards).
I created a group on SchoolPulse to provide a hub for our activities.
All in all, people had a good time and we’re going to meet every month on the first Thursday night. I’m guessing we’ll have 20+ at our next meeting and some world class sandwich boards to show off!
Interested in getting a support group going in your school? I’m happy to help however I can.