Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Take another little piece of my heart...

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My son, Grizz, recently got his A/S Level results...

We were on holiday in the Netherlands when our next door neighbour's boy, Nate, was at school to collect his own and Grizz's A Level results... Nate's a year older, so leaves school this year - He's going to University next year, and is going on to train to work as a ski- and, I think, -hang-glider instructor, in his 'Gap Year'.

...The anticipation and suspense was prickling the tiny hairs on the back of my neck. As we waited. And as I pondered their fragile futures.

You might not know, but like our lovely Lakeviewer, I work in Education Policy...

One of the latest education research results in the North East of England I heard about, admittedly concerning a pocket-sized area of an inner-city, indicated that looking at a cohort of young people, (aged 16 - 18), who were not in education, training or employment (charmingly called 'NEETs'), 50% of them were dead by the age of 25.

That's daunting, is it not? Horrifying, in fact... Scary indeed.

There is so much riding on the academic achievement and vocational success of our young people. My son. Your daughter. Our beloved children.

And how do you get those messages over to them; Those who think they know EVERYTHING better than their long-suffering, always-loving, parentals?

So many people with now grown-up children have said similar things to me lately, using words like these, "They have to learn their own lessons, make their own mistakes, and their own way in life...; It's all part of growing up, Fhina... They're growing away..."

And yet, I bite my lip to a frazzle, I fret, I wait and I wonder, and I hope that all that I have done in my life to try to make my child's easier, more enriched, will come to fruition. I want him to blossom and grow.

All I want in life is for him to be happy. I don't want for him to hit the heights, to be an astronaut, Prime Minister, the next Alice Cooper, (the later version sans drugs, sans alcohol!), or to have his coffers over-flowing with riches...

None of that's really important, is it? Ultimately, the majority of mums and moms, dads and carers, want our children to be healthy and happy and to live a life without devastating incident, disaster or disease...

So, what happened with Grizz, you ask? Well, he did as well as could be expected, I feel, given his penchant for a healthy social life that Paris Hilton would envy; 20 hours' worth of furious kipping a night; his well-honed skills in Work Avoidance 101, and copious amounts of 'resting' his brain in-between... I think he's trying to preserve it... To keep it in pristine, museum condition...

He'll have to re-sit one lot of exams - To gain a better grade in Geography, the subject he thinks he'd like to study at University next year... I breathed a silent sigh of relief, which I hid from him, but shared with my husband... "It could have been worse...," we opined, and we moved on, dealing with his outbursts of angst and brief despair, as the day ran on...

I'm keeping my fingers (and legs!) crossed for Grizz. I'm keeping him back a bear-hug of an embrace that's full of hope. I'm saving another little piece of my heart for him...

In case he needs it.

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  1. Oh those teens! I'm not quite sure what A/S levels mean; but I do know that they (teens) keep you on pins and needles - so sure that they know it all - and that you, with all your advice, is as stupid as can be. I'm constantly saying to my sweetheart of a teen - yeah I'm being sarcastic - don't you realize that these years count - really, really count - about where you may end up?? So I sympathize and hope his next exams come up much better.

  2. I hate to tell you but the worrying never ends. Why? Because we love them. A true mother never ever stops worrying. And that is what separates us from the animals who breed and brood and fetch and carry and hang around till their offspring have learned it all then bugger off.

  3. I know, the worry warts we are!! Today I have run around the school for Tall girl, not literally virtually, on the phone AND tried to get some notes for the work she has missed this week, so she can catch up over the weekend. She is off all this week, still in bed, now with a ling infection too!

    The expectation is so much, and no jobs probably at the end of college/uni...

    they are tested to death, it is ridiculous, but we have to run with the system cos its all we.they've got!!

    phew....I'm not sure l'll survive to worry/suffer more when they are all grown...l'm so knackered now!!

    saz x

  4. Bless you, I feel your pain. My 21 yr old dropped out of high school, dropped back in, graduated (eventually) and now is "finding himself" making popcorn at a local theater. Tech school? Maybe. College? Ha. He thinks the hoops he has to jump through are "bogus", and yet, if he ever wants to do more than make excellent popcorn, he'll have to jump through them. Why can't they see that?

  5. At the end of the day, with unemployment so high, I reckon that life skills, manners and a cheerful attitude are going to be as big an attraction to an employer as academic results. Perhaps the Paris Hilton approach to life is not too bad a one....

  6. Oh it's just agonising isn't it? I was holding my breath reading your post Fhina. We are all with you on this, but I don't think it does get any easier so we just have to find ways to preserve ourselves! xxx

  7. Oh for the old days of A levels when they studied for two years giving us more time to work up a panic. Now it's AS exams after a year, then resits, then the A2s. Too much, too much.

  8. I do think it was easier for us when we did our 'A' levels, definitely - We didn't have to choose as many subjects as they have to for A/S either... I can't quite see the point of that.

    I see the Geography catch-up book list is now magnet-fixed to the fridge... Bang goes that lovely pair of boots I had seen at Clarks yesterday! ;)