Michael is a dorm parent.
Before I came to Putney, some of my favorite life experiences had been working in educational technology, teaching horseback riding, doing woodland trail maintenance, and being an R.A. (Resident Assistant) in college. Now here I am, working in technology, helping in the horse program, taking kids camping, and living with 20 boys in a dorm.
I love when our dorm does something all together that is simple and spontaneous, like having a water fight. We’ve had midnight pancakes in my apartment. My wife and I and our four-year-old, Hannah, hang out in the common room with the guys. Hannah is too shy to talk to some of them, but she gets emotionally attached, just the same. One evening one of the boys burst into the common room and blurted out,’I just helped give birth to a baby cow!’ The next day Hannah got to go see the calf. What other technology guy gets to work in a barn? What other father in Vermont gets to parent a preschooler in a house with kids from Japan, China, Mexico, and Korea–all of whom want to have fun with him and his wife and daughter? Sure, sometimes dorm life gets intense, and it’s times like that when I’m glad I’ve had a few years of experience with a child and her ups and downs. Because having been an R.A. is not really what prepared me to be a dorm parent. Having been a parent is.