It's the nature of the PTO and PTA beast -- every year at back-to-school time, there's a (sometimes combustible) mixture of brand-new, enthusiastic parents and grizzled parent group veterans. How you welcome that new energy (or not) and take full advantage of it (or not) can make or break your parent group for the entire year.

Don't get me wrong, I also know that new parents have a responsibility to respect and learn from those who have preceded them.

One of my most popular columns is this one describing a conversation between a New Parent and an Old Vet.

The key, as usual, is for both sides to try to see the other's point of view. Those veterans have put in major hours and lots of passion, so subtle put-downs of their efforts never work well. It's way better for new officers to celebrate the group's earlier efforts while building upon them. Likewise, the newbies shouldn't have to wait to be accepted into your clique (real or perceived) , and veterans need to patiently listen to new ideas (even if they've been tried before). Respect is the key. Check out these additional resources on getting new volunteers started successfully: