School is not for everyone.
My child is leaving school
My mum friends are finding the whole wow where did the time go, I can’t believe secondary school is over (and it does go super fast!) my baby got so big a bit of a thing. My child is number three so I have the T-shirt already. I should say leavers hoody but that wasn’t a thing for number one son, number two has worn hers to death and number three doesn’t want one!
We have come to terms a year on with the weirdness of the new normal and the things that are no longer standard; like reward trips to theme parks and actual face to face meetings with teachers that don’t consist of awkward zoom meetings in ones kitchen and a crazy who knows what results they are actually going to achieve acceptance; well I have anyway.
I have joked that instead of a prom we shall have our own leaving school party; mainly for me! I’m thinking of getting very drunk!
So I guess I am fortunate because I get to learn and grow as a person every single day by observing and interacting with the four very different human beings that I brought into this world. I can honestly say I have put my heart and soul into raising good people. People that care and do the right thing and are ultimately happy helpful members of society. Here is the shocker, they aren’t always going to be good or helpful or do the right thing. What is my right thing might not be their right thing. My standards are probably too high, I’m not judgemental in conventional ways but I know I’m straighter than most and highly principled (it’s a Capricorn curse). And did I mention old but then I was born old. I don’t think I ever had a teenage brain; I’ve missed out big time.
I see so much of myself in all of them, I like the good parts that they get from me and the bits that drive me nuts in them are the parts of me that I might consider my character flaws. They say we are mirrors and when genes are involved it’s more powerful and intensified. I think we grow babies and are so used to feeling responsible for them that it’s hard not to micromanage their every move. Note to self children are not possessions, or an extension of ourselves. Also, we should not judge a mother by the actions of children, be that an unruly toddler or a stroppy teen. We all go through so many different fazes to become the older version of ourselves. It’s a very experimental process and considering that you have lived in the same body your whole life do you ever wonder how you got here? Do you recognize your five-year-old or eighteen-year-old self to be the same person?
My kids remind me that young people think so very differently, Adults think with our adult brain and it’s taken years of lessons (often hard painful ones) and experiences and interactions with many different situations and kinds of people with colourful backgrounds to form the personality that we have today. Let’s face it age might bring wisdom but it brings rigidity, fear, cynicism, conformity and a lot of outdated belief patterns that actually can hold us back. Youth brings openness and wonder, a thirst for adventure and a willingness to be more adaptable. It also brings stupidity. They also teach me everything that I need to know about patience but on the flip side they are my in house tech guys, helpful as I can barely send an email!
Love makes us want to protect, we don’t like mistakes and mess. But to be fully alive is to get messy and heartbroken and disappointed from time to time. It really is where the lesson is learnt. Growth spurts aren’t just about new school trousers and a trip to Clarkes. I have learnt that if your child can take something valuable away from a giant f*ck up, well then your work here is done. Because there will be many more to come. That is life. How we handle the bad times shows us what we are made of.
So what I have learnt over the last twenty years is that school is not for everyone. I have enough children to do my own little survey. The data is in. One in four children may hate school. The result being that when it’s not for your child it’s a whole lot of years of stress for you and your kid. It is fitting a square peg into a round hole and expecting them to still feel comfortable. It is tough going on the child the parent and the teachers. The system is designed for one size fits all, but unfortunately, it doesn’t. I wonder how many children will leave school without passing any exams. Or just really didn’t enjoy the whole experience. Our formative years are so important to how well adjusted we become as adults. Twelve years of study is a very long time to have nothing to show for it. Surely there is an alternative for some of these young adolescents. I hope there aren’t too many young adults starting out and feeling like an underachiever or worse still a failure because society is so obsessed with grades and conforming.
Now more than ever we are all expected to be happy being forced to do as we are told, it is very stifling if you happen to value your individuality and freedom. It is very hard for creative souls that think differently to agree and go along with things that don’t bring them any joy and nourishment. No wonder there are a lot of unhappy adults out there. We really should appreciate more that each person is so different, how can we possibly all want the same. But what is the solution?
Number threes journey has been an interesting one. A very late ADHD diagnosis at age fifteen explains a lot, that’s another story for another day. (ADHD people really don’t like doing what they don’t like doing!!!!!) So with the last day approaching fast, I can only say I feel a sense of relief and happiness for us both.
Luckily number four child likes school.