67 Responses to To Sign Out My Tweens I Must Show a Sticker That Matches Theirs

  1. CrazyCatLady July 28, 2016 at 9:27 am #

    And what of the fact that sometimes, due to work schedules, it is Mom who must drop off the kids, but Dad who needs to pick them up? Must Mom really go to the opposite end of the county to deliver the stupid sticker? For kids who could walk home alone from school with no issue?

  2. Workshop July 28, 2016 at 9:40 am #

    “Here’s your options: 1) Let my children come with me. 2) Keep my kids while I go home and take a nap. Your choice.”

    Our church tries to do something similar, but the reality is that not only do kids know their parents, it’s also not a stretch of human brains to recognize who dropped the kid(s) off. It’s not like one person is responsible for 200 kids.

    The only times I’ve had an issue with when the new person tries to enforce the policy or when my kids get upgraded to a new class and the adult doesn’t recognize us. I get it, because you’re new and you want to do the right thing, or you don’t recognize me. But after the second time, I’m gonna go with the first sentence of my post here.

    The infantilization of the populace continues, with the blessings of the Church.

  3. Dienne July 28, 2016 at 9:51 am #

    “(“What if the child doesn’t know that the parents are divorcing and the mom has an order of protection against the dad and the dad shows up before the mom does and the church doesn’t know?”)”

    Wow, what kind of a parent is scared enough of their co-parent to take out an order of protection but doesn’t bother talking to the kids about it? And who thinks the kids don’t already know, especially if they’re between the ages of 9-12? Anyway, at the very least, couldn’t Mom just tell the teacher, “the kids shouldn’t go with their dad after class”?

  4. ChicagoDad July 28, 2016 at 9:59 am #

    I live on the terrifying Southside of Chicago, it’s the baddest part of town, and if you go down there, you better just beware yadda, yadda, yadda….

    To pick up my preschooler I have to ring a doorbell and say hi. My second grader walks home from school on her own sometimes, as do many, many other kids in the elementary school. Kids play outside, middle-schoolers go to the shops and stores after school on their own. Kids still have sleep-overs and wait in the car while their parents pay for gas, or run into the bank (how quaint and old fashioned, right?) Kids ride their bikes, often with no helmets! You can even find unspervised kids playing at the local park (the horrors!)

    Suburban Maryland must be a much more terrifying place to live.

  5. VM July 28, 2016 at 10:03 am #

    Is it me, or are all these “systems” being designed to avoid the common sense notion of getting to know your community? It’s a CHURCH. Shouldn’t they make an effort to get to know the parents of the kids they talk to every Sunday? It’s sad to me that people would rather enforce some kind of computer tracking system than simply introduce themselves to people they see regularly. Hint: if you got to know people, you’d recognize folks in emotional distress and maybe be able to reach out a helping hand BEFORE a parent needs a protection order to keep a child safe.

  6. Theresa July 28, 2016 at 10:11 am #

    Maybe someone handed over a kid to the wrong person once so they are taking extra care to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I heard about a school that did that once.

  7. Steve July 28, 2016 at 10:21 am #

    Grassroots totalitarianism! I’d never have thought it possible. I guess the USA is still a world-leader…

    Welcome to Stalag America. Papers, please.

  8. Dan July 28, 2016 at 10:24 am #

    As with most policies like this, it has nothing (or very little) to do with protecting the kids. It’s a CYA initiative for the institution. It’s what happens when the lawyers and administrators are allowed to play without adult supervision.

  9. Tom July 28, 2016 at 10:25 am #

    9-12 year olds don’t get handed over.

  10. Tamara July 28, 2016 at 10:40 am #

    VM: I agree with what you say about community and I wish there were more folks like you in mine!

  11. lollipoplover July 28, 2016 at 10:59 am #

    “You sign them in on a computer and 2 stickers come out of the printer. One for child, one for parent, with matching numbers.”

    Children=FedEx packages

    It treats them like objects, not thinking, capable young adults. It’s insulting to their intelligence (and ours).
    When arrival and dismissal become drop-off and pick-up, what’s lost is most of these kids can handle this simple step this without adults. Requiring adults will only limit their enrollment. I wouldn’t sign my tween up for something that needed stickers to ID her as my child to pick-up. The last time I put a sticker on my kids was to ID them was as brand-new kindergartners for the teachers and staff at school. They wore it for a day.
    Treating tweens and teens like 5 year-olds with no voice kind of contradicts the purpose of a group like this.

  12. WendyW July 28, 2016 at 11:00 am #

    I’d put money on the possibility that this is NOT about “the safety of the children” but that a few tweens are causing trouble or doing damage after being released on their own. The church either doesn’t know exactly who the perpetrators are, or for some reason they are unwilling to confront the parents. This is just a go-around to achieve their purpose w/o dealing with the real problem.

  13. Ater July 28, 2016 at 11:12 am #

    Definitely not a new idea, although they’ve streamlined it well. I worked at a summer camp 10 years ago, and at the end of each day we had to line the parents up and check their driver’s license before we could let them *touch* their kid (i.e. no hugs). Even if you recognized them from drop off that morning, if you were suspected to be not carefully checking the ID you were in trouble.

  14. Katie July 28, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    That’s when you sign them out for good and demand a refund.

  15. Qute July 28, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

    “Children will not be permitted to leave the Tweenz class without a parent picking them up (using the matching sticker system).”

    So if you lose your magical badge how do they plan on ever discharging the children (children who are capable enough to recognize their own parent)?

    I think I would have to tell the people in charge of this program that I have serious concerns about their ability to intelligently chaperone my child on a mission trip several states away if they do not have trust in their charges to know who their own parents are.

  16. Jen July 28, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    Does no one carpool anymore? When I was a kid it always seemed like one kids parent would drop off a boatload of us and then someone else’s parent would pick us up and deliver us home. Wondering what would happen at this church in that scenario?

  17. Andy July 28, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    Appalachia is in Virginia. Just wanted to get that out there.

    I have an image of unclaimed kids – those whose parents don’t have a matching sticker – sitting on a baggage carousel, going around and around forever.

    This is an increasingly stupid world. I’m so happy that my parents practiced Benign Neglect on us!

  18. Jen July 28, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    Do you know I’d wager a guess that this has more to do with tweens being tweens than fear of kidnapping, etc.
    Tween gets left at church with friends. Moms leave and the tweens decide to ditch hanging out at the church, so they leave and potentially get into mischief. Parents are notified and they get all upset that the church would “just” let them leave so they are now resorted to being treated like small children.

  19. Reziac July 28, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

    How about I break out the printer and print matching stickers for ALL the kids??

  20. marie July 28, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

    I think I would have to tell the people in charge of this program that I have serious concerns about their ability to intelligently chaperone my child on a mission trip several states away if they do not have trust in their charges to know who their own parents are.

    I like that, Qute. 🙂

    In a really great world, the parents and kids will all “lose” their stickers, week after week after week.

  21. JJ July 28, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

    Another excellent example of how everyday activities have been reframed as tragedies in the making. Policies like this erodes community and create unneeded challenges for families. For instance, I would have thought that a nice thing about activities within a church community would be that parents know each other and could help each other out with pickup. “If you can do Tuesdays I’ll do Thursdays”, or “hey, I’m stuck at work/stuck in a traffic jam/the baby finally went down”–can you pick up Emma for me tonight?” But instead its just another pile of anxiety about leaving work on time, commuting issues, burning dinner, etc., because the parent and only the parent matches their kid’s sticker. What a waste of time, stress, and gas.

    We’ve gotten to a point where parents either are not permitted (because of policies like this) or feel like they can’t (because policies like this have socialized us this way) ask other parents to help or work as a team. It is every man or woman for himself. No wonder working parents (and all parents) are so stressed out.

  22. EricS July 28, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

    Hell, why don’t we just tattoo bar codes on our kids. Doesn’t rub off, doesn’t get lost, and you can’t duplicate it. And as adults we get the same barcode for each of our children. And because children are so infantilized till they reach 18, as well as coddled, spoiled, and enabled, chances are they’ll be poorly equipped when they become young adults. So these bar codes would still be significant to them even in their 20’s.

    Bigger picture! If these idiot educators are going to be like this, at least think bigger picture. What they do now to kids, DOES and will affect them later on in life, so they should prepare for those as well. Just because they turn 18, shouldn’t mean the very people who made them incompetent young adults should still be responsible for them until they are capable of fending for themselves. So if the 25 year old child, can’t do laundry, cook, do their own finances, pay their own bills, every adult that had a hand in infantilizing them, is required to keep guiding them until they can take care of themselves. THAT’S being a responsible adult/parent/teacher. 😉

  23. Theresa July 28, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

    Nice idea Erics. A few years of looking after the adults they babied when they were kids will make them desperate to stop the craziness. Too bad we can’t do for real because when you are an adult no matter how much you were babied when you were a kid you are an adult and must handle it appropriately. This is the unwritten rule!

  24. Anne July 28, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

    “Does no one carpool anymore?”

    Carpooling has become increasingly difficult because of policies like these. When my sixth grader went to a two-hour rec center “lock in” sponsored by her school, the kids had to be signed in by a parent and only a parent. We weren’t warned beforehand, so many had kids carpooled and other parents dropped off kids at the door and drove away. By the time I arrived, parents were being flagged down and told in the parking lot that they had to come inside and wait in the long sign-in line. The teachers running the lock-in had no idea what to do about the kids who’d arrived without parents, but I think in the end they decided it wasn’t feasible to call all the missing parents and make them come to sign in their kids.

  25. Rebel mom July 28, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

    Opt out. I refuse to do battle with stupid. The world is what you make it. If you participate in programs like this you’re enabling the system. Get out of it. Start your own informal group(s) if you really can’t live without the programs offered by the church. If you don’t have the time or energy to start an alternative at least don’t support ones like this!

  26. SKL July 28, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

    My kids’ Sunday School class was K-4 and they were not allowed to leave on their own. If I was late picking them up (i.e. the adult class ran over), it meant I was putting out the teachers. So annoying. They did “require” us to fill out a form and stuff, but I never filled it out and they still let me have my kids back. 🙂

    This fall they will be in a class for grades 5-6, so hopefully the policy will be different.

    I always find it interesting to see the range of rules that different summer camps have. Some require you to physically go in and sign your kid in and out. A pain since you have to find parking in order to do this, and then there is a wait as they check out each child one by one. Then there are camps that just disperse the kids on the lawn and you drive by and they jump into your car.

    I know “the old days” gets old, but when I was young, kids walked themselves to Sunday School, without an adult, and nobody signed anything, you just showed up. Afterwards you took yourself to church and found your parents if you didn’t want a whack on your rear. Though when we were “tweens,” we were allowed to sit wherever, and our preferred spot was the balcony so we could ring the bells. Also we were allowed to go to other churches if we wanted to (without our parents). When I was about 11, a Baptist church held a vacation Bible school at a playground we frequented, and they recruited us to try their Sunday School. It was far away, but they offered to pick us up by bus. So for a while I hopped on a bus and went across the city to a church full of complete strangers, and then hopped back on the bus to come home. No parent involvement at all. And I lived to tell about it. Wow.

  27. SKL July 28, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

    Is anyone else old enough to remember the song, M.T.A (the man who never returned)? We could just change a few words and it would be about a kid who never returned because his parent lost the check-out code. 😛

    Not sure if this will work:

  28. Jen July 28, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

    @SKL — YES! didn’t need a link to remember the song. If you’re going to toss your kids a sandwich through the window — make sure it’s organic, multigrain bread made with nitrate free luncheon meat, dairy-free cheese and peanut free.

  29. B4E July 28, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

    My church has had this security theater system for a while now. But they’ve taken it another step because it’s just not safe enough: now, you have to physically walk your children in to their classes so that your parent sticker can get a quick permanent marker doodle from a volunteer. Otherwise you’re not allowed into the children’s ministry area to pick up your children because you could be just anybody who stole the sticker from the parent.

    Yup. Our children’s ministry has a large enough budget to include magic anti-theft markers with magic ink that disappears if the correct person is not holding the sticker.

    And those oh so important records that require both stickers so the kids can’t conveniently come and meet me after service? Yeah, I found out those are located in the trash, after the stickers are run through a paper shredder because otherwise somebody might get their hands on an old parent sticker and kidnap a child. (Even though the security code is randomly generated every single time you print off the stickers, so it’d never match up.)

  30. Vaughan Evans July 28, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

    I grew up in Vancouver, Canada(In 1958, the City had about 450,000 people compared to about 650,000 today.
    When I was 9, I rode my bike one-half mile to the Cubs-even though I had to go home in the dark(Vancouver is between the 49th and 50th parallel of latitude.
    -When I took gymnastics in Grade 5, the parents weren’t expected to pick us up.

    In the 1950’s Canadian wages were lower than American wages; and we paid higher prices. Most families had only one car. When I was 13, I went to a Church group. I rode home alone at 9:00 P:M.

    Today even teenagers are driven to and from school.
    Vancouver suffers from tremendous traffic congestion, because children are CONSTANTLY being chauffeured-to and from school, sports, and lessons.
    -When I was a kid, Little League was a local event. The games and practices were a few blocks from home; My brother rode his bike,

    Now children e chauffeured because sports are more “high key”
    -Children are chauffeured miles away, dozens-or even in some cases hundreds of miles o compete.

    On father drove his 13 year old daughter to Castlegar-300 miles away-so that she could compete in volleyball.

  31. lollipoplover July 28, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

    “Opt out. I refuse to do battle with stupid. The world is what you make it. If you participate in programs like this you’re enabling the system. Get out of it. Start your own informal group(s) if you really can’t live without the programs offered by the church. If you don’t have the time or energy to start an alternative at least don’t support ones like this!”


    My kids opted out this summer of most organized activities and have been the better for it. I’ve taken groups of tweens and teens to the beach, lakes, pool, state parks, farms, and other multi-day adventures and have had a glorious time. My kids have been taken on fishing trips, golfing, beaches, sporting events, water parks, etc. with other groups and families and are getting to pick what THEY want this summer, around their work schedule and ours.

    This week I drove 8 of my daughter’s friends to a water/adventure park. We followed 2 other big carloads of girls (ages 8-13). All of these girls paid their tickets with their own money (we got a group rate), packed their own lunches and drink or bought food, and were capable of sunscreening themselves and following the park rules for an entire day without incident, except for a few who swooned and chatted up the cute lifeguard(Zac Efron doppelganger). Imagine that.

    The adults of the group sat on our lounge chairs chatting away while the kids just played. Call us the Church of latter day common sense. No paperwork or stickers necessary. Why does everything have to be so complicated?

  32. Jenny Islander July 28, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

    I think the local wildlife refuge has a sensible policy regarding possible noncustodial pickups. The parent who signs the child up for a class has to provide a signature every day on the roll sheet. They can send anybody they like to pick up that kid without making a list of approved people beforehand, but whoever it is has to have a note also signed by the parent/guardian who paid for the class. The signature is compared with the roll sheets. Obvious fake? Child kept, parent/guardian called. No note? No kid.

  33. NY Mom July 28, 2016 at 5:03 pm #

    Control freaks?

    Power tripping?

    What has church devolved to?

  34. NY Mom July 28, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

    Our country has never been safer.
    Our institutions have never been weirder or more paranoid,.
    This is not a heathy way to bring up kids.

  35. maggie July 28, 2016 at 5:22 pm #


    No words.

  36. Beth July 28, 2016 at 5:30 pm #

    @B4E .. “Yeah, I found out those are located in the trash, after the stickers are run through a paper shredder because otherwise somebody might get their hands on an old parent sticker and kidnap a child.”

    A child who presumably can recognize his/her own parents, right? My head has officially exploded.

  37. Papilio July 28, 2016 at 5:45 pm #

    Like Eric, I was going to suggest a barcode tattoo. (On their forearm – I was in a sarky mood.)
    This is idiotic for preschoolers, but nine to twelve…!!! I really hope someone like Reziac just hacks the system, rendering it useless.

    Re painting: What IS that – a gay BDSM session??! That’s the idea of hell?

    @NY Mom: “Control freaks? Power tripping? What has church devolved to?”

    Considering it’s church that thinks it has a say in what people do in their bedrooms, I’m not sure much devolving has taken place.

  38. Papilio July 28, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

    “old practices that may we have evolved beyond (calling grown women “girls,” calling grown Black men “boys”)”

    “RT @SharonKWn: Had to mention my girl Lenore’s @FreeRangeKids blog in review of #BadMoms telling sanctimommys to back off https://t.co/9BA6…

    Oh dear… 😛

  39. BL July 28, 2016 at 6:14 pm #

    “I know “the old days” gets old …”

    But there’s a point to it. It’s why this blog has a topic category “Other Places Other Eras”

    If something was done a different way in the past (or currently in a different place), it’s not a freakin’ law of nature. It doesn’t *have* to be this way. We have a choice.

  40. JJ July 28, 2016 at 7:14 pm #

    Reading this after sending 2 six year olds and an eight year old 5 blocks away on their bikes to attend their reading club. From which they miraculously manage to return from unscathed every time. After which they will pick up the four year old, the dog, and doggy poop bags and head to the local park, responsibly picking up after the dog as they go. In the fall they will independently walk, bike, scooter or catch the bus to school – yes, even the kindergartener. I am so proud of these kids and they are bursting with pride in themselves. I strongly feel that ridiculous policies like the one described in the article are severely damaging to children’s development and to communities, as well. It’s plain insanity not to trust 9-12s, let alone essentially treating your entire community like potential kidnappers.

  41. Donna July 28, 2016 at 7:22 pm #

    “Appalacia is in Virginia”

    And several other states. Appalacia stretches the bulk of the Appalachian Mountains (excluding New England and upstate New York).

    As for the rule: seriously? Stickers? On 9 to 12 year olds?

    On second thought, my tween can get obnoxious and full of drama these days. I could lose my sticker on those days and then they’d have to deal with her all evening. Maybe this isn’t such a bad rule after all.

  42. elizabeth July 28, 2016 at 7:24 pm #

    my church doesn’t have a policy that requires parents to sign kids in and out, not even for the toddlers. they just trust that the kids know who their parents are. when I was eleven, I rode a bus (different city). I got myself to church, to Sunday school, to service, and back home. I almost never missed the bus (same with school and I had to get myself to and from the bus stop.) this church is being stupid.

  43. MarkM July 28, 2016 at 7:34 pm #

    I do not know about the rest of you, but with my 11 and 13 year old (and for the past couple of years for that matter), I would leave them with both stickers or the equivalent. That way, they could generally check themselves out…

    I will admit, doing that throws some folks badly.

  44. elizabeth July 28, 2016 at 7:35 pm #

    I don’t want trolls saying “That was back then…” because I’m only twenty one years old. “Back then” for me wasn’t so long ago that the world has become a whole new universe.

  45. Warren July 28, 2016 at 7:48 pm #

    Hell when my youngest was born 17 years ago I didn’t even have to tell the duty nurse my name. Mom was asleep and baby was awake in the nursery. I went over picked her up and told the nurse I was taking my girl for a walk. Nurse smiled and my girl and I walked the floor a few times. No one checked ID or even questioned me.

  46. Ann in L.A. July 28, 2016 at 8:18 pm #

    Politely remind the church that holding onto your kid against your wishes is kidnapping.

  47. diane July 28, 2016 at 8:18 pm #

    This is so sad. One of the other results of these types of policies is that it renders children unwelcome anywhere in society unless in the custody of an accountable adult (parent, teacher, etc.)

    How did we go from “children must be seen and not heard” to “children are our future” to “children cannot be seen OR heard away from an adult”?

    Last week, we went to the museum of natural science and I wanted to let my 9 yr old go into the butterfly center alone, because strollers aren’t allowed and my 15 month old is a 31 pound chunk of uncooperativeness right now. They told me she wouldn’t be allowed in without me. She piped up, “How old would I have to be?” The college-age ticket counter lady (I almost typed “girl” because she was young enough to be my daughter!) replied, “15 or 16.” I exclaimed, “So the first time you want them in charge of themselves here is when they can drive themselves??”

    Of course, this poor young lady wasn’t the one who made up the rules, so I didn’t go on and on. Later I checked the website and there is no mention of a minimum age, but you can bet your britches they don’t want young people there without their parents within arm’s length.

  48. SteveS July 28, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

    How big is this church? In my experience, very large churches tend to have systems like this in place because they have a large number of volunteers running the programs and hundreds of kids. I wouldn’t like this, but I am not interested in attending a mega church.

  49. gap.runner July 29, 2016 at 1:24 am #

    As an Austrian ski racing commentator would say…Ay yi yi! Stickers for kids age 9-12? Seriously? I would tell the kids to create some chaos by having them all swap stickers with each other just to see what would happen when the parents came to pick them up. I can just see the instructors saying, “That woman can’t be your mother despite what you think because your stickers don’t match.”

    My son was 9 when he joined the local ski club. The kids under 10 were supposed to be picked up by somebody after training was over. I live a long 5-minute walk from the gondola that takes you up to the ski area (yes, I have a rough life) and you can see my building from the parking area. I asked the instructor if it was okay to let my son walk home from training on his own since we live so close to the ski area. She just said to bring her a note saying that my son was allowed to go home by himself, so we did. Yes, a 9-year-old was perfectly capable of carrying his skis and poles for 5 minutes. And he knew his way home too!

  50. Donald Christensen July 29, 2016 at 1:51 am #

    We call this CYA exercise an increase in safety. At the same time we are insulting the children by treating them as baggage that needs to be checked in at the airport.

    This has become a self preservation society. Never mind about manners, giving people dignity by treating them a human beings, or allowing children to develop any self reliance. All of those things are irrelevant.

    And we wonder where narcism comes from

  51. Donald Christensen July 29, 2016 at 2:10 am #

    The Pygmalion Effect works the other way as well. Treat people as though they are stupid and they have a decrease in intelligence. Treating people as if they are airport baggage isn’t just rude.

  52. Katie G July 29, 2016 at 6:50 am #

    Another reason megachurches are not a good trend.

  53. BL July 29, 2016 at 6:51 am #

    @Donald Christensen
    ” Treat people as though they are stupid and they have a decrease in intelligence.”

    And treat them like they’re infinitely vulnerable and they’ll be scared all the time.

    I heard a rather frightening story from my mother. She has a cleaning lady come in periodically. My mother said the cleaner leaves her 12-year-old son at home alone while she’s working.

    So far, so good?

    Oh, no: the cleaner has to call him at least every half hour to assure him all is OK or he panics.

    Apparently this boy is afraid of strangers, even on the telephone. My mother was trying to call to leave a message to change the cleaning schedule for a week. The boy answered the phone and rapidly said: “This is the X residence my mom and dad aren’t home” and hung up. My mother called again and tried to interrupt with “please don’t hang up, I need to leave a message.”

    All to no avail.

    I just don’t remember *anyone* being that pathetic when I was 12. I just don’t.

  54. Katie G July 29, 2016 at 6:53 am #

    I lost all respect for the church in question at the word “Tweenz” for the class. Pandering to the kids and the culture by referring to them as “tweens” in the first place, and even more by spelling it with a Z? No, thank you! Any self-respecting child in 4th-6th grade would prefer their class be referred to as (gasp) 4th-6th grades. I would be embarrassed to send my daughter (a rising 5th grader, at least technically) to “Tweenz” on the name alone.

  55. JJ July 29, 2016 at 8:59 am #

    Kaiie G I thought the same thing about Teenz. The Momz and Dadz should complain, as should the Kidz.

  56. pentamom July 29, 2016 at 9:04 am #

    Not to start a big debate, but parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky are all considered to be Appalachia by most people.

    You could define it really broadly, as the whole area encompassing the Appalachian Mountains, but when most people think of Appalachia as “the place where we go on mission trips to help the rural poor” they’re not thinking about downtown Knoxville or Pittsburgh, still less Western Massachusetts. Mostly, it’s coal country that’s associated with that moniker in common parlance.

  57. PurpleLavaLamp July 29, 2016 at 9:20 am #

    I think I’m lucky. My son is 14, but looks about 18 and he’s just about 6 feet tall. He can pretty much do what he wants, nobody questions him and people talk to him and treat him like he’s competent. It’s sad, though, that if he weren’t so tall he’d probably be treated as less competent.

  58. Donna July 29, 2016 at 9:41 am #

    “Not to start a big debate, but parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky are all considered to be Appalachia by most people.”

    As are parts of Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. Basically, Appalacia is a cultural area consisting of the poor rural areas of the Appalachian mountains south of New York.

  59. SKL July 29, 2016 at 9:46 am #

    My kids attended a camp where they gave the parents a card with their kids’ name on it to be showed at pickup. I gave the cards to an alternate pickup person, but one day I picked them up myself. The workers were like, we need to see your card. I looked them in the eye like, or what? “Do you want to keep them until tomorrow then?” Then they said that since I was their actual mother I could take them. LOL.

  60. SKL July 29, 2016 at 9:52 am #

    And as for the word “tweens,” I am getting used to it, but it reminds me of the word “tweency” that my mom used to use to describe wee babies. (Like eency weency spider….) Why do we need the word “tween” anyway? We used to use “pre-teen” for age 11-12 when I was a kid. Maybe some people find the word “pre-teen” too scary nowadays?

  61. lollipoplover July 29, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

    “I know “the old days” gets old…”

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot as my girls finished their summer swim team season like I did back in the “old days” (70’s and 80’s). Back then, we carpooled to practices in big station wagons with other neighborhood families. Our pool was 5 miles away, but once we became teens, we biked the distance on our 10 speeds. Swim meets were fun. We swam races and only saw parents at the end when it was over or if we were starving and wanted to hit them up for money for food at the snack bar. We drank from water fountains.

    Now, my girls can bike the distance (short) to practice each morning themselves. Coaches send email reminders about prompt pick up after practices and that each swimmer needs to bring a water bottle. Swim meets require parents to volunteer or pay a non-participation fee (on top of the team dues). The meets require each age group to have “Ready Bench Mom” volunteers to get the swimmers to line up behind the blocks for their races. Each kid can swim a max of 4 races and the meet line up is printed out for all to see. Yet these ready bench moms make the kids sit together and write the events they are swimming on their hand and wait in line to get behind the blocks as my 13 year-old can’t be trusted to make it behind the blocks before her event and needs a parent volunteer to line her up.
    How are we going to teach our kids to wait in line at the DMV without parent volunteers to help them?
    And why don’t they care about the volunteers? I was a timer at a meet for over 4 hours without a water break. I begged the 18 yo boys to do big dives to splash me so I didn’t get heat stroke. Sheesh. Bring back the good old days!

  62. JJ July 29, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

    I think “preteen” is a chronological term, covering the 2-3 years before teen years. I think of “tween” as a developmental stage. Past school-age but not quite at or just starting puberty which is 13 for many.

  63. Jason July 29, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

    @Papilio – that picture does make Hell look a bit less appealing, doesn’t it?

  64. Michelle July 29, 2016 at 11:27 pm #

    I love these ridiculous security theater policies that turn church into the TSA. We usually attend an upper middle class church that has some programs my kids love, but also has this nonsense two-sticker system for kids who are well old enough to walk from Sunday school to the breakfast room by themselves.

    On weeks when we don’t attend that church, my two middle daughters (aged 9 and 11) wake up, bathe and dress themselves, walk (alone!) to a small church near our house, attend service and Sunday school, and walk home. The contrast is mind-boggling.

  65. Papilio July 30, 2016 at 5:16 pm #

    @Jason: Yeah, I’d feel uncomfortable with that much audience too 😛

  66. MK August 1, 2016 at 11:48 am #

    “Appalachia is in Virginia.” The Appalachian mountains run through 18 states and continue into Canada.

  67. Brandy August 10, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

    I teach kindergarteners at a large church. We use this system for infants till they go to the youth group. It tends to get relaxed a little for the older kids whose families are well known. For example, my friends often bring my 11 year old to me even though they don’t have matching stickers.
    From experience, I will tell you this system is about two things. One keeping kids from wondering the halls instead of going to class. The older kids are particularly guilty of this. Secondly, protecting kids from being taken by non-custodial family. We have a lot of foster kids in our church. We also have families in the middle of messy divorced.
    I learned the hard way after nearly letting a child go with Dad who had a restraining order against him. Thankfully, the police and mom showed up about 5 minutes ahead of Dad. I thought I knew the family and would have let the kids go.
    It is just not possible in a church with an average attendance of 700 or 1000 people to know all the parents. Our 1st -5th grade go to a large group room for Kid’s Church. There are plenty of adults but 1 or 2 supervise the exit. They are indeed responsible for the release of 200 kids. There are different kids every week. Especially, given the number of foster kids we have, the matching system is essential.
    There are too many different situations and no way to keep track of them all.