This blog had the reserve title of, ‘…and so I walked into the playroom to see Oliver sitting watching telly with his pants on his head…’ but either really shows how unique my eldest son is. When I was describing him to people I noticed I concentrated on his achievements, the things he could do rather than actually describing what makes Oliver well, Oliver. I’m not sure if it was a competitive streak that came out, ‘Yes Oliver’s very good at reading’, ‘Yes he’s fabulous at swimming’ it’s not really surprising in this target driven society where we have mapped out childhood in terms of development milestones and stages. We want to know as soon as our child walks through the door at school, ‘How are they doing, what are they achieving??’ when perhaps we should just be asking ‘Are they happy to be here?’ and ‘Can they raise their hand to ask if their worried?’
So I sat down, put pen to paper and wrote about Oliver without mentioning what he could do.
Your smile makes my heart sing
I love your passion and energy for life,
Your enthusiasm for things you want to know more of.
Your sense of humour is quirky and I lovely how you love to tell jokes.
You are a fantastic big brother to Toby and you can see he loves you when he laughs and smiles when you play with him.
You have a mind of your own and while that can sometimes be difficult for me
I know you think about things deeply and I will try to respect the decisions you make.
Whilst it’s never going to win any writing competitions it does prove a point that there are many parts that make up Oliver not just the measurable, targeted assessed ones that school is concerned with. I wonder what you would write down to describe your child? What makes them the individual they are? You may want to try it. (After you’ve finished reading though!) Our society places huge emphasis on academic qualifications but seems not to care about personality, character and difference just look at primary education where every child needs to be the same level and we almost right off those children that aren’t. We must try to remember that whilst qualifications will get your CV looked at, it’s everything that makes you, you that will get you the job.