BACK TO SCHOOL
BY FINOLA ALLEN ON 24/08/2023
Dreading the sound of your kids lace up shoes? The grunts at 6am that actually mean ‘what’s for breakfast?’. Why is it so hard to be a parent? In modern society, young people rule. With their eyes glued to their phone screens, and their heads firmly in the clouds, it’s a wonder they achieve anything. The only enjoyment they seem to get out of school is seeing their mates and discussing gossip.
Still, September is upon us again. No more late night coffee’s “just because it's summer”. Reality has now hit. No matter how old your children are, they’ve all been to school at least once in their lives. Some may still be attending, in fact. Whereas, others have now tasted the freedom beyond the wrought iron gates, sticky chewing gum tables, squeaky black pointy shoes and that godforsaken exam clock that they all despise.
Some advice for you, from a real parents perspective, and nothing less. When you watch them leave from your rusty front door, just remember that one day they will fly the nest. So, even though they're really annoying right now, with their bossy backchat, severe attitude and door slamming- it won't last much longer. If your offspring are at the other end of the age spectrum, your job is just as tough. More heartbreaking, I think. Seeing their watery eyes as they glance back for the first time from the freshly painted reception door. As parents, we know it’s what we prepared them for - but, that doesn’t mean it ever gets easier. From learning to write their own name in pencil, to their last play performance as a shiny, hopeful, year six pupil— watching our children grow throughout education is a journey that we should cherish. Because, ultimately, as their parents - we’ve seen all of them, in ways that their teachers never have and never will. That is a special memory worth more than their leavers certificate ever will mean. From the endless exam papers to the beaming smiles, or sad eyes, on my young teens face as they receive their results. The kicking, screaming, the bullying, the fear, the dread, the tears of happiness…. it's all character building. Young people learn resilience from exposure. And finally, self-worth through facing difficult times. So, in a way, you could say- that school is necessary. However, I know that there are many, many, many parents who would disagree with my positive statements. So, it's worth noting that the education system doesn't fit for all children. Those that parent children with special educational needs, learning difficulties, and facing strong adversities in their lives- are the parents that deserve the biggest of all medals. As their children won't always be able to say they don't like it, and just putting their school shoes on would make them exhausted enough to want to crawl back to bed.
If you have children, or a child, like that - then well done. To be told that they are different, not like others and won't thrive in mainstream, is hard. But the individual achievements they make add up to gold. As once they leave, they have value, are supported, know their self-worth and have people backing them. Yes, granted, they won't always encounter positive people— but from being in the right school environments, they will have instilled positive attitudes and drive within themselves. ‘Back to school’ is such an old-fashioned phrase, but yet there's still so much power to it. Whatever your situation, whatever your views on the education system today, whether you agree with teachers petitions, funding cuts, new curriculums and the new ways of learning - schools have always been there…. and as parents, I hope you congratulate yourself today, and in September, for being the best parent or parents possible. Even if your stroppy teen, little blonde young thing, curly haired, grunting, adolescent doesn’t say that they love you — deep down, they really do.
Whatever the season, young kids will always go to school, and as more time passes, thousands more around the UK, and the world- will too… My hope is that this article will remind us parents that our job is important too. We shape the lives of those around them, and they see the world in a fresh way, one that older adults just can't bring. Because with age, prosperity, hope and new excitement dies. We need young people to empower the world again. Hairbrushes and ties at the ready, school is back in session, parents!