At my daughter's elementary school, teachers have a "concern box" that students can put notes in.
The notes can be anonymous, or students can sign them. They can share a broad concern, or a specific concern about a specific situation or a fellow student. The idea is that it is a safe way for the students to let the teacher know if something is bothering them. This can be especially helpful if a child is being bullied, or a student is witnessing someone else being bullied. The teacher handles each "concern" with discretion.
"I've told him, Mom, one more time and I'm putting a note in the concern box about him," my daughter relates to me about what she told a classmate one day. I'm not sure if this tactic works, but I'd like to try it in my office.
"Seriously, you do that to me one more time and you're going in the concern box, buddy, for real this time. I'm not kidding!" I'd say with authority.
I started thinking about what it would be like if we had adult "concern boxes." In a way, Facebook is just that. People share their "concerns" about everything from their job, to child-rearing, to politics online. The difference: On Facebook, your concerns are public, not private. But that's a discussion for another day.
If we truly had a private place to share concerns, would we? Sure, you can post specific concerns anonymously on a website, but what about the bigger philosophical concerns that consume us and keep us awake at night? How am I going to pay for my children's education? Do I have job security? What do I really want to be when I grow up? It would be nice if there was a big concern box in our offices and homes where we could not only share them, but get answers.
For now, I live vicariously through the stories about my daughter's concern box, and I picture all the scenarios in my daily life that would make the cut.
Unfortunately, I'm not sure I could find a box that's big enough to hold all of them...
Amanda is the mom of two, reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.