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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Last Day At School

First Day At School
I remember Frank's first day at school like it was yesterday. He was so little and not nearly ready for what was about to hit him. He went along with the novelty of it all to begin with but couldn't believe it when I walked him back again the following morning. And so began seven years of slog! Somehow he stuck with it, I guess he had no choice, and slowly he worked his way through the weekly routine, sounding out letters and describing the stories in picture books. Of course he much preferred to be free and play. The strain of sitting on a chair, trying to work out what people wanted of him, and "conforming" meant he literally climbed off the walls when he got home. It was a big adjustment for young Frank and his shy and sensitive nature only added to the strain of it all. Needless to say his start was slow and he continued to play catch up with his class mates for the first few years.

Then one day Frank seemed to find his friends and his way of interacting with the world. It involved a lot of Doctor Who and playground escapes in the Tardis. His confidence grew as he discovered that his peers were drawn to his imagination and sense of fun. Thanks to the empathy and encouragement of his teachers, he began to believe in himself in the classroom too. And whatever was going on with his parents outside the home, within it we kept things as stable and secure as possible. Some might call our lives boring, but I could see how important routine and normality were for Frank and his sister. I also consider ourselves lucky that we could do that.

Now there weren't any genius academic achievements and he never developed as a child prodigy on, for example, the violin. But what did happen was Frank grew into a lovely natured, happy young man in touch with himself and his own opinions. In his final year at primary school, his talented and highly motivated teacher took the bull by the horns and helped Frank harness and deliver on all his strengths. He ended school achieving his potential and, perhaps more importantly, with a belief that he can be whomever he wants to be. Naturally, as his Mum I am immensely proud of him as I'm sure other parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and carers are of their own child as they too leave school.

The other day Frank said to me: "what's the point of being an adult if you can't be childish sometimes?" I replied that there was no point and no matter how big you grow you must never lose that sense of fun. I guess senior school is going to throw new challenges which may at times hamper this self belief. I just hope Frank, like all children, continues to get the time, space and support he needs to thrive so he can keep dreaming his dreams. God knows, I'm still dreaming mine!

Last Day At School