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#1 of 28 Old 06-20-2013, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Im a choicemother, ie have three kids by donor insemination. All well and good. I also have a roommate who is male and rents a room in our apartment, we do not share living areas at all, except the bathroom. My younger son, who is 5, has made friends with this guy, but thats not what i wanted to discuss.

 

It was fathers day, and at ds' school, they made paperweights for their father. My son came home with this gift for our roommate. I asked him why, he said, because he wanted to. Ok.

 

A week later, my roommate wrote a thankyou note for the teachers. I told him it wasnt necessary, but he insisted, so he hands the thankyou note to my ds.

 

I dont know...it doesnt seem he should do this without my permission, he doesnt need to do it all... i just said ok, but...its weird, what do you think?

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#2 of 28 Old 06-20-2013, 05:43 PM
 
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It doesn't seem that strange to me. What were you uncomfortable with?
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#3 of 28 Old 06-21-2013, 07:21 AM
 
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Were you uncomfortable with your son being the go-between for the note?  That's the only part that I could think would be a little weird for me.  If so, I think you could just get the note back and give it to the roommate and ask him to mail it to the school instead because it felt a little weird to you(and obviously provide him with the address).  I think it's quite gentlemanly of him to write a thank you note actually.  Too many people don't do that these days and teachers are so underappreciated.  I think the teacher would love to get a note saying that someone appreciated their support of xyz child and his/her non-traditional family or living situation.  

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#4 of 28 Old 06-21-2013, 07:27 AM
 
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They had to make a dumb craft at school and your son gave it to his friend. That is very kind of him.

 

I disagree that a thank you note for a gift is not necessary! Thank you notes are always polite; your son will learn good manners.

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#5 of 28 Old 06-21-2013, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mmm, interesting to hear. I guess it was a bit like someone not part of the family, sought of going overboard, showing courtesy where it wasnt necessary. The presents are for the children, even if they give it to their parents. We all know that. It is for them to  learn about  special  day, an excuse to make something. A thankyou note from recipient to teacher, indicates that the child is NOT the center of it all. I agree that in most situations, this is good manners, but in this situation, not so much. The child made the craft, and he should be thanked, and  thats how i see it.

 

Personally,i  think the guy was out of place, doing an adult thing in a child world.  I dont know , i felt like  he was on my turf, a turf i guard zelously to keep my child safe. 

 

Perhaps my roommate could have said to me-i want to model good manners for your son, may i have permission to give his teachers a thankyou note for that reason?

 

 

I do agree that teacher are underappreciated...

 

Thanks for your replies...

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#6 of 28 Old 06-21-2013, 05:21 PM
 
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I'm still not seeing the issue.

 

Did he not say "Thank you" to your son as well?

 

I don't really see how also thanking the person who facilitated your son creating and giving the gift is odd. If your mother had taken your son to buy you a Mothers day gift and paid for the gift you would likely have thanked both your mother and your son. I think of this situation the same way.

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#7 of 28 Old 06-22-2013, 05:35 AM
 
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I think you should start examining your real feelings here. Sending thanks for a gift isn't weird, so I wonder if you're focusing on that because you'd rather not think about other things that are making you uncomfortable.

Is it bothering you that your son has befriended this man?
Did it bother you that he gave your roommate a gift meant for a dad?
Did it bother you that a note to the teacher would expose in public more of your situation than is generally known?

I could see how the situation could touch some sore spots. I think you are over reacting about the note, but it may be because you are trying very hard to under react about something else.
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#8 of 28 Old 06-22-2013, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post

I'm still not seeing the issue.

 

Did he not say "Thank you" to your son as well?

 

I don't really see how also thanking the person who facilitated your son creating and giving the gift is odd. If your mother had taken your son to buy you a Mothers day gift and paid for the gift you would likely have thanked both your mother and your son. I think of this situation the same way.

Is this really a single mothers site?

 

I explained the issue. The gift isnt really for the recipient, it is for the child, to do a project, and participate in a certain cultural event.  I dont want to argue, i am just suprised that noone sees my angle....

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#9 of 28 Old 06-22-2013, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 No, none of these things bothers me. As long as said person stays within the boundaries. At first i wondered about the  'father days  gift being given to a friend, but decided it was ok.  I would expect a thankyou  said to my son, and a gracious acceptance of the gift. But not more.

 

Im not overracting really, i just thought it was a bit weird and wanted to discuss it.  ('weird dilemma')I am surprised that noone gets why its weird that a person not part of our family oversteps a certain boundary. A thankyou note is absolutely not expected or necessary. The guy has good manners, but not , i think, in this instance.

 

Again, is this a single parenting forum? Oh, maybe its mostly divorced single moms...different to choice moms.

 

 

I appreciate the perspective...but still dont agree.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichelleZB View Post

I think you should start examining your real feelings here. Sending thanks for a gift isn't weird, so I wonder if you're focusing on that because you'd rather not think about other things that are making you uncomfortable.

Is it bothering you that your son has befriended this man?
Did it bother you that he gave your roommate a gift meant for a dad?
Did it bother you that a note to the teacher would expose in public more of your situation than is generally known?

I could see how the situation could touch some sore spots. I think you are over reacting about the note, but it may be because you are trying very hard to under react about something else.
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#10 of 28 Old 06-22-2013, 01:51 PM
 
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I am a single mom, never married, and I really think you are taking the situation too personally. I'm all for boundaries but it seems to me like you have some pretty unreasonable expectations and your boundaries are about you and not your kids. Quite frankly, you sound peeved that your son has latched to a male who had, in turn, made the attachment known to the outside world and that violated your ideas of what choice motherhood should look like. I could be wrong, but really I do think you're overreacting.
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#11 of 28 Old 06-22-2013, 04:25 PM
 
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I'm not sure what the difference is between divorced single mothers, choice mothers, and never married mothers who had an unplanned pregnancy.  I think despite our different situations we really all have the same goals  I don't know why it would seem inappropriate for any other single parent other than a choice mother to respond.  

 

 

 

That said, something you said above sticks out to me.  

Quote:
"showing courtesy where it wasnt necessary." 

 

 

To be honest I think showing courtesy to others is ALWAYS necessary even if it's something tiny.  Wouldn't this world be a much nicer place if we all said thank you a little more often, even if it wasn't a time when it was a necessary social convention?  There's so much crap in the world, I bet it was nice for the teacher to receive a note from someone.  I bet it's the first thank you that teacher received in recent years for that mother's day craft activity too.  We take it for granted so often.  

 

 

If I understand you correctly though, I'm thinking you feel like because this person is not your child's father or mother or even any blood relative, you felt like it was inappropriate for him contact the teacher without letting you know first.  You felt like maybe he was inserting himself into your child's life without permission by contacting the teacher.  Is that correct?  I can see where that might be upsetting if I really stop and think about it.  Maybe just having a talk with your roommate about it and putting it in plain terms would help.  You don't want your child to mistake him for any more than he truly is, a paying tenant with whom you have a business relationship and an acquaintance.  Obviously he'll be moving on to other places in the future and it wouldn't do to have your son become too attached to him.  That makes sense to me.  That would seem a little weird.  But like I said, I really think courtesy is ALWAYS a positive thing, even when it's not truly necessary.  Maybe he could have gone about it differently, but you gotta give the guy credit.  That was a pretty stand-up thing to do sending a thank you note.


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#12 of 28 Old 06-23-2013, 06:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am a single mom, never married, and I really think you are taking the situation too personally. I'm all for boundaries but it seems to me like you have some pretty unreasonable expectations and your boundaries are about you and not your kids. Quite frankly, you sound peeved that your son has latched to a male who had, in turn, made the attachment known to the outside world and that violated your ideas of what choice motherhood should look like. I could be wrong, but really I do think you're overreacting.

Help!! No, that has nothing to do with it. Its not that big a deal. Its not that big a deal either i guess, that noone gets why it would have bothered me.Dont get me wrong, i delivered the letter The teacher said totally unnecessary, but thankyou.

 

The whole ritual is for the child, that includes saying thankyou to the child. Anything more than that misses the point. I think the guy clumsily missed the point- thats why it felt strange. 

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#13 of 28 Old 06-23-2013, 06:15 AM
 
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Well, now you're explaining it better. You feel like he should have thanked your son, not the teacher. I agree that, likely, he should have written a thank you note to your son.

Just because the teacher said the note was unnecessary doesn't mean it was. People are often shocked or flabbergasted by common curtesy these days, but I don't think it's a reason to end pleasantries. Also, saying a kind note was unnecessary can be yet another politeness. For instance, if someone thanks me, I often tell them it was no trouble at all.
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#14 of 28 Old 06-23-2013, 06:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by justmama View Post
 

 

 

 you felt like it was inappropriate for him contact the teacher without letting you know first.  You felt like maybe he was inserting himself into your child's life without permission by contacting the teacher.  Is that correct?

 

Yes, i think that is the point. This is why it made me feel a bit weird. On top of that, i think a 'thankyou note' to the teacher makes it seem like the gift, and the gifts recipient were the center of the issue, like at a birthday.    But in this case, the gift given was for the child, and the rest is to facilitate the childs enrichment. (ie making the gift, giving the gift, participating in a cultural event) so a thankyou note to anyone other than the child  undermines that, so i dont think is good manners. I think its clumsy and superfluous, and shows the guy  doesnt understand  my childs world. His only role, is to thank the child and accept the gift graciously.(his intentions however were good)

 

Im not upset, i just thought it was weird, and brought it to this forum. It was harmless enough. I am surprised that so few people get why i thought it was weird. Im glad you did. Thankyou.

 

Adults without children often dont understand certain things. As a single mother you have to be especially sensitive to that. Its important to set boundaries.

 

 

 

 

 I can see where that might be upsetting if I really stop and think about it.  Maybe just having a talk with your roommate about it and putting it in plain terms would help.  You don't want your child to mistake him for any more than he truly is, a paying tenant with whom you have a business relationship and an acquaintance.  Obviously he'll be moving on to other places in the future and it wouldn't do to have your son become too attached to him.  That makes sense to me.  That would seem a little weird.  But like I said, I really think courtesy is ALWAYS a positive thing, even when it's not truly necessary.  Maybe he could have gone about it differently, but you gotta give the guy credit.  That was a pretty stand-up thing to do sending a thank you note.

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#15 of 28 Old 06-23-2013, 06:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just want to say though, i wholeheartedly agree that  it would be nice to see more courtesy and good manners in our modern world. My roommate does have excellent manners, and i do give him credit. 

 

In some ways as parents we go on a steep learning curve, and those who havent been on that curve, cant be expected to understand everything.  

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#16 of 28 Old 06-23-2013, 09:05 AM
 
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 I would have explained to the tenant that the gift was actually from your child and not from the teachers, and that he was who was to be thanked. That's how the child-less learn about living in a child's world.

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#17 of 28 Old 06-29-2013, 07:28 PM
 
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I'm a solo parent. My kids came to me through adoption. I am usually the recipient of the "Father's Day" cards and gifts and attend the "Doughnuts with Dads" events. Other children bring a family friend, relative, or neighbor. Those men often thank the teacher for encouraging them to attend and sometimes even mention the gift the child brought home. I see no reason to say that your roommate was out of line.
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#18 of 28 Old 06-30-2013, 03:34 PM
 
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One thing I don't get that you are saying, Contactmaya. "The gift is for the child, not the recipient." That doesn't make any sense to me. Of course the gift is for the recipient, and the point is to teach children to give and appreciate the important people in their lives. Your son is 5 yrs old, and he may have expressed angst about not having a dad to give a present to, and the teacher probably asked if there was another man in his life, or delicately asked if any men lived in his house, thus directing him to make a paperweight for your roommate.

 

Your roommate might have felt it awkward that your son gave him a father's day present and because he felt he didn't deserve it, he felt pressure to respond with extra courtesy. Maybe someone in his life made him feel like crap for not saying thank you or sending a thank-you card. 

 

It is unlikely that the roommate DIDN'T say thank you to your son. Why would he be so courteous as to send a note to the teacher and yet not have the courtesy to thank your son for the paperweight? 

 

Of course, it is natural for the teacher to say "totally unnecessary!" when you give her a thank-you note. I say that often when someone thanks me for doing something it didn't take me any trouble to do. 

 

What you might consider doing, since this DID feel weird to you is simply tell your son's teachers to have him make future projects for you, since you are his only parent.  

 

It is fairly natural for a child to want to have a mommy and a daddy, since they see that pattern in the world, so that may be something you can talk to your son about, as well as review your expectations of the boundaries you want maintained between your roommate and your kids. 

Personally, as a single mom with one child in an area far away from any family, and even though my DD has a dad who skypes with her and visits 1-2x per year, I want to surround her with as many people who care about her as possible, so that she feels confident interacting with both men and women, and has other trustworthy caring adults to look up to. I'm not trying to make anyone be her "dad" in person, but I certainly allow close friends to be called "aunt" and "uncle". That defines them as non-parents while still claiming them as her special "family". Only two people fall in that category right now, but I just want her to grow up feeling surrounded by love. 


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#19 of 28 Old 07-01-2013, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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One thing I don't get that you are saying, Contactmaya. "The gift is for the child, not the recipient." That doesn't make any sense to me. Of course the gift is for the recipient, and the point is to teach children to give and appreciate the important people in their lives.

 

Its for the recipient, *from* the child, but the whole business is for the child, including teaching the child to give gifts , and receive thanks.

 

I should have been consulted about the whole thing, thats another subject. But i dont blame my  roommate for that, nor do i blame the teachers. I blame myself for not being more aware of the upcoming 'fathers day'  and  discussing what  the teachers had planned. 

 

Roommate is kind to my children and has given them gifts, so receiving gifts from them is not out of place. On fathers  day? Well,  i should have been consulted....but thats not what this is about.

 

I still think the thankyou note to the teacher was unnecessary, and the teacher *really* meant it.

 

 

 

 

 

Your son is 5 yrs old, and he may have expressed angst about not having a dad to give a present to, and the teacher probably asked if there was another man in his life, or delicately asked if any men lived in his house, thus directing him to make a paperweight for your roommate.

Im aware of this, which is why i blame myself  for not being proactive...teachers should have been more sensitive, and asked me, but it is a part time preschool. However, this is not the issue, this is another issue.

 

 

 

Your roommate might have felt it awkward that your son gave him a father's day present and because he felt he didn't deserve it, he felt pressure to respond with extra courtesy. Maybe someone in his life made him feel like crap for not saying thank you or sending a thank-you card. 

 

It is unlikely that the roommate DIDN'T say thank you to your son. Why would he be so courteous as to send a note to the teacher and yet not have the courtesy to thank your son for the paperweight? Obviously, but he only needed to thank  my child... 

 

Of course, it is natural for the teacher to say "totally unnecessary!" when you give her a thank-you note. I say that often when someone thanks me for doing something it didn't take me any trouble to do. 

 

What you might consider doing, since this DID feel weird to you is simply tell your son's teachers to have him make future projects for you, since you are his only parent.  

 

It is fairly natural for a child to want to have a mommy and a daddy, since they see that pattern in the world, so that may be something you can talk to your son about, as well as review your expectations of the boundaries you want maintained between your roommate and your kids. 

Personally, as a single mom with one child in an area far away from any family, and even though my DD has a dad who skypes with her and visits 1-2x per year, I want to surround her with as many people who care about her as possible, so that she feels confident interacting with both men and women, and has other trustworthy caring adults to look up to. I'm not trying to make anyone be her "dad" in person, but I certainly allow close friends to be called "aunt" and "uncle". That defines them as non-parents while still claiming them as her special "family". Only two people fall in that category right now, but I just want her to grow up feeling surrounded by love. 

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#20 of 28 Old 07-01-2013, 07:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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 Thanks for all your replies. The more i get  'i dont see the problem', the more  i see it was a problem, but not a big problem. Please dont send any more replies telling me it was ok. (I dont think my sons school is any of my roomates business and there shouldn be any correspondence   between them, If he were to see the teacher in real life, and thanked her, that would be normal)

 

I agree with most of  the other things people are saying though, and agree that courtesy, and surrounding a child with love are important.

 

Maybe ill start a thread about what single mothers do on 'Fathers Day' in general. In our family, we just dont mention it. At my older sons school, they dont  discuss it.

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#21 of 28 Old 07-01-2013, 07:46 AM
 
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I think it is a really odd situation. But not a big deal. I think your roomate was probably also confused as to what is appropriate in this situation and thanking your son is better than giving it back to him explaining that it is not socially appropriate. But maybe next fathers day craft day you can have your son skip school and have a family day. The school put him in a weird situation without realizing it. Though you assume the project is for the child it is not that way. They make those things for their fathers to take home and give to them in all of its adorable handmade glory. I am sure discussions of this idea and so on happened and he just did not know what to do. Kudos to your roomate for being so polite about it instead of bringing up complicated confusing subjects to your son.

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#22 of 28 Old 07-01-2013, 08:57 AM
 
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I think it's really weird that he wrote a note to the teachers.


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#23 of 28 Old 07-01-2013, 07:27 PM
 
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It sounds over the top to me as well-like he is trying too hard. 

 

It's nice that he wanted to say thank you, but it made too big an issue of a small present to also write a thank you note to a teacher he doesn't know and has no involvement with. 

 

It would be equally strange to me if a grandparent or similar wrote a thank you note to the teacher for a simple craft they made in school, KWIM?


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#24 of 28 Old 07-01-2013, 08:08 PM
 
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I don't understand why you keep saying the gift isn't really for the recipient, it's for the child. When my son comes home with gifts for us, it's for us...not the child. We keep it in our office or in our bedroom...we don't give it back to my son. Yes, the child learns about gift giving, holidays, etc. but then he takes pride in giving the gift away...not keeping it.

 

Perhaps in this case, YOU feel the gift wasn't really for your roommate, but your son feels that it was for your roommate and so does your roommate. 

 

I'm actually going to agree that it's a bit odd to write a thank you note to the teacher...I never write thank you notes to the teacher after the mountain of holiday gifts that come home from school. At the end of the year I will write a thank you card for everything they have done in general, but not after receiving each craft. There was no need for him to interject himself into the school/home correspondence, especially if you are not particularly close. He could have wrote a thank you card to your son instead.

 

I know this post is about the thank you note and that's it...but maybe there are some underlying issues with the friendship they have formed. Are you comfortable with their friendship and with your son giving him "dad" gifts? If so, great. If not, perhaps you can make a change to your living arrangements or invite another male friend or relative over to spend time with him. 

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#25 of 28 Old 07-01-2013, 09:23 PM
 
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I don't understand why you keep saying the gift isn't really for the recipient, it's for the child. When my son comes home with gifts for us, it's for us...not the child. We keep it in our office or in our bedroom...we don't give it back to my son. Yes, the child learns about gift giving, holidays, etc. but then he takes pride in giving the gift away...not keeping it.

I actually do get this part-the teacher is not helping the child make the gifts to directly benefit the parents-it is about the learning experience for the child, and about making the child feel excited about making a gift for a loved one.  The teacher is not just helping to make a gift for mom or dad or whomever out of the goodness of her heart, but instead is helping the child for the child's sake. 

 

So, while a parent might thank a teacher for working with his/her child to make projects are part of the schoolday because it benefits the child would make sense, a person uninvolved in the child's school life thanking the teacher for a gift that she didn't really particularly intend for him, but instead for the child to do with what he wanted, is a little odd. 


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#26 of 28 Old 07-02-2013, 01:17 AM
 
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Maybe your roommate was so touched by the gesture that he couldnt contain his gratitude. I doubt he has received any gifts on Father's Day considering he's a single guy renting a room so it probably meant a lot to him. He probably didnt feel like saying thank you to your son was enough because it was more than likely the teacher who fascilitated who the boy gave the gift to--at least in his eyes. In reality, it was probably the little boy who decided to give him the gift, but the dude sounds socially awkward so he did an awkward thing. I find the gesture sweet but also odd. I would be more concerned about the boy seeing the roommate as a father figure--boundaries need to be clearer.
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#27 of 28 Old 07-02-2013, 07:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post

I think it's really weird that he wrote a note to the teachers.

 

Yay! I feel better, someone else thinks its weird.... :-)

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Originally Posted by greenemami View Post

I actually do get this part-the teacher is not helping the child make the gifts to directly benefit the parents-it is about the learning experience for the child, and about making the child feel excited about making a gift for a loved one.  The teacher is not just helping to make a gift for mom or dad or whomever out of the goodness of her heart, but instead is helping the child for the child's sake. 

 

So, while a parent might thank a teacher for working with his/her child to make projects are part of the schoolday because it benefits the child would make sense, a person uninvolved in the child's school life thanking the teacher for a gift that she didn't really particularly intend for him, but instead for the child to do with what he wanted, is a little odd. 

Thankyou!

Of course the actual gifts are intended for the recipient but the whole 'child making gift' is for the child. I dont send my kid to  school so that he can manufacture gifts and artwork for me.(or anyone else) I send him there so he can do creative activities, and some of them in a cultural context that expand his soul and mind. Anyway, thats how i see it.

 

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Originally Posted by jmarroq View Post

 

Perhaps in this case, YOU feel the gift wasn't really for your roommate, but your son feels that it was for your roommate and so does your roommate. 

 

If my son wants to give a  gift to someone, its his to give.  Thats not the point. But yes, admittedly it was awkward. I asked him, and he said he wanted to give it to the roommate, end of story.

 

 

I'm actually going to agree that it's a bit odd to write a thank you note to the teacher...I never write thank you notes to the teacher after the mountain of holiday gifts that come home from school. At the end of the year I will write a thank you card for everything they have done in general, but not after receiving each craft. There was no need for him to interject himself into the school/home correspondence, especially if you are not particularly close. He could have wrote a thank you card to your son instead.

 

I know this post is about the thank you note and that's it...but maybe there are some underlying issues with the friendship they have formed. Are you comfortable with their friendship and with your son giving him "dad" gifts? If so, great. If not, perhaps you can make a change to your living arrangements or invite another male friend or relative over to spend time with him. 

No, im not particularly comfortable, but whats a single mom to do? However, this is a  bigger subject.... 

 

I guess thats another thread i'd better start....im still procrastinating about how to deal with these issues as mykids are still young-maybe a big brother thing later on ? I dont know....

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#28 of 28 Old 07-02-2013, 08:21 PM
 
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Did you ask him why he sent the note? I think it is a little odd and I would be upset if someone did something similar with my dd, but if he has a teacher in the family or has experience teaching it may have been a gesture meant to thank the teacher for the work that goes into projects like that and something he did without thinking.

I definitely don't think it was his place but I do think it is an awesome thing to do. Holiday projects are a pita, even simple ones, they have to be planned, materials are gathered, they are often messy, and there are always a few kids absent the day you for them so you have to make extra time for them to do the project. The one time a parent recognized that and thanked me I was surprised.
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