“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy spoke these words at his Inaugural Address on January 20, 1961. Though we all know this quote by heart, few of us live it daily. We all should be contributing to our communities, as well as our country. We as Mama PhD’s have a lot we can offer to our communities, but all too often find ourselves “too busy” to engage in these charitable activities. By definition, all of us Mama PhD’s have strong academic backgrounds, and children. What more appropriate charitable contribution can you think of than to share your academic knowledge and passion with your children and their world.
Schools across the country are tapped out, stretched thin, and welcome volunteering from parent communities. As highly-educated parents who love and appreciate learning, we have especially welcome spots in the classroom sharing our expertise in one way or another. It may seem difficult to try to explain cancer research, global warming, or Yeats in plain English to 3rd graders, but kids are smarter than you think. They pick up on things quickly. Even if they don’t catch all the specifics, they pick up on your passion about academics, ask questions, and discover that they can share in the passion too. I know my children are filled with pride when their peers see me as an academic promoting, extending, and enriching education in their school.
Whether it is judging the Science Fair, running an after-school book club, giving a one-time talk on your field of expertise that happens to coincide with the school's curriculum, helping to challenge the advanced math students, or helping underprivileged children learn to read, get involved in your children’s schools. We highly-educated mothers are a valuable resource for schools, and our backgrounds allow us to volunteer in unique ways that are possible because of that background. PTA is great and all (no disrespect intended), but Mama PhD’s have much, much more to offer schools. The children, the school, the community, and especially you, all benefit from your efforts.