Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Chuffed to bits.

Last night was the final event of the school calendar – R’s leaving assembly (he’s leaving juniors and moving on to seniors).

It lasted longer than expected, but being an old hand at these things (!) I warned the babysitter that there was little chance that we’d be home for two hours - no matter what the invitation said! It was all very predictable traditional, even to the point of the deputy-head reading the same poem she’d read at P’s leaving assembly last week.

Here it is.

This particular poem irritates me. I have four children and I raise them with the same amount of love and discipline for each, they live by the same rules and opportunities, and yet no two are the same. Giving a child encouragement does not mean they are sure to have confidence; fairness is an individual perception; tolerance does not always lead to patience; and shyness does not come just because of ridicule.

Don’t get me wrong – the ideals of the poem are wonderful. But to read it at school assemblies as some sort of wisdom to raising children, isn’t fair. The insinuation becomes that if your child waivers with one of these qualities, then you as a parent must be at fault for the way you raise them.

Luckily this was my eldest child’s assembly, so my stomach didn’t flip for fear someone would look at my offspring, and judge me lacking! In fact by the end of the evening I was one of the proudest parents there (I can’t know that for sure, but I was very proud!)

The assembly appeared to have finished but then the headmaster asked the audience to stay put for five more minutes, because they had some prizes to hand out.

That started traditionally too, with the four outstanding sporting heroes of the year picking up a lot of the prizes (they really are quite something, and I’ll tell you about them another time). Then there were several prizes for academic improvement, and one for Disciplined Conduct, and finally came the shield for Honesty, Integrity and Fair-play. My boy won it!

I’m so proud of him. I’ve always liked to imagine he has these qualities, but to have other people think it, is enough to make me burst with joy.

Just hoping it's partly due to his upbringing, and not in spite of it ;o)


Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Ugh. That's not a poem, it's a damned sermon. And it discounts the overwhelming importance of genetics -- all nurture, no nature! Buffoons.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 3:27:00 pm  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

That's terrific, Debi! That's the best prize of all, by far.

(And whomever wrote that poem knew not much about punctuation; ergo, not much about anything.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 4:50:00 pm  
Blogger Anduin said...

I think a lot of pressure is put on parents. People judge you by your children's behavior. I'm sure some of it is due to how the parent and child interact, but like you said, children have different personalities and sometimes will do their own thing. As far as parents go, I think the ones that are involved in their child's lives are the best. Keep up the good work and be proud of your darling children. You sound like a good mommie.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 4:50:00 pm  
Blogger Daisy Mae said...

Congrats to your son for winning. What great merits to win on those points.

I liked the poem. I don't agree with it but I really liked the idea the poem was trying to portray.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 7:45:00 am  
Blogger MarkD60 said...

Remember that college graduation speech they made into kind a of song called (I think) "Sunscreen"?
Basically it starts, "Wear sunscreen, that's all I know, the rest of what I'm going to say may be BS".

The person who wrote that poem you linked to probably didn't intend for it to be crammed down everybodys throat repeatedly. But I think it contains some good generalized parenting reminders.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 11:52:00 am  

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