Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…











{December 29, 2010}   helicopter parents

I never really heard this term until a couple of years ago but since I’ve heard it, I’ve experienced the Helicopter Parent at least 2-3 times a week in regards to their children volunteering.

I possibly had one today, but this dad was leaning more on the side of caring and concerned father then the actual hover-er that I have seen in the past.

Helicopter Parents come out of the woodwork when their kids need something. You’ll usually see them when their kids go to college, hovering around the dorms, hovering around the tail gate parties, the frat parties, gosh…I guess mostly around the parties when you think about it.

Then there are those Helicopter Parents who hover around their kids academics, science fair projects, and volunteer and community service hours.

That’s where I step in, the Helicopter Parent can practically do everything else, BUT their kids volunteer service, but they’ll do everything they can up until their child comes in to volunteer and that includes calling to inquire, fill out the application and set the schedule.

…and this is where I get them every time…”If your child needs the service and the hours, how come you are calling me?” The Helicopter Parent doesn’t like that question. They go into tailspin, nose dive and some actually burst into flames.

The H.P’s get very defensive on that question. But I stick to my guns and pull out the old lecture of “give a man a fish, fish for the day; teach a man to fish, fish for a lifetime” but they don’t care.

The sad thing is when I do finally meet the H.C. (hovered over child), the parents have already ruined my first impression of them. If they have a service requirement, that’s one thing, but if the parent is forcing them, it just makes for a really really bad scene. I really try to meet one on one with these kids to make sure they want to volunteer and will enjoy it, but since I’m dealing with Helicopter Parents, they hover during the interview, the orientation and the training.

The library does not budget for Helicopter Parent Flak Jackets so it’s just by sheer grit and determination that I make it through.¬† They are a very interesting and entertaining bunch and I’m sure there will be more stories to come.

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