By Kelly Langston, NCPTA President


Fall is here and we are well on our way to another great school year, or at least that is what I tell myself!

I sent two girls off to college in August, child number 3 back to high school and the baby back to middle school. It is hard to believe that I am a mother of four adolescents.   I knew how to be engaged when they were little. I volunteered; I read at night; I made sure they brushed teeth and got enough play outside; I joined the PTA. But as my children get older, I struggle a bit as engagement is redefined.

After much thought, I landed on this… Kids will always want to know we are there for them, regardless of their age. Living with four adolescents has been challenging and I am often reminded of my many flaws, my ridiculous ways of thinking and my very outdated beliefs. Teenagers have a way of making us question our parenting and they bring a new set of challenges, mainly bigger worries! But, I have learned… I am still needed now more than ever.

As the issues teenagers face become larger and the consequences of their actions become potentially more harmful, parent engagement must not waiver. I must continue being their voice, sometimes their only sense of reason and always their safe place. Parents must not travel this journey alone and we must find strength and comfort in seeing each other through these interesting times. I believe parents should talk often about the challenges and find comfort in a powerful support system.

I found PTA to be a tremendous vehicle to engagement and that powerful support system throughout my kids’ lives, even still today. It is comforting to know that I am not alone in making this world a better place for our adolescents. PTA helped me understand meaningful engagement, what really mattered and what didn’t, and it helped me stay engaged through the years as engagement became more difficult. I met great people trying also to make a difference for all children, and together we journey, sharing mistakes and celebrating successes.

PTA membership ties us all together. We are one voice and I find comfort in that. Policies and funding that effect all children, from preschool to higher education, are shaped because of PTA members across our country. PTA leaders before me made sure my kids had a better life and I want to make a difference for not only the children today, but for our children’s children. PTA makes me a better parent and provides my kids with a better life. So today, I thank the PTA leaders before me, the ones traveling with me and the ones yet to come.

Thank you for being part of my PTA family!


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