I’ve been away for a few days on that ‘busman’s holiday’ otherwise known as a school residential trip. Now as this was the first time that Tiddler and I have been parted for more than an 8-hour working day, it certainly created a tug on the maternal heartstrings. Calling home of an evening only got Tiddler confused, and by all accounts she spent quite a time trying to look for a teeny-tiny version of me holed up inside the handset.
Now while I’ve been woken up in the small hours many times over the last two years, for Tiddler’s teats, teeth and tantrums, I’m not sure I quite expected to have a 4.45am (ye gads I’ll repeat that, 04.45) wake up call by 14-year-olds who hadn’t yet gone to sleep. Luckily for me, I had the schadenfreude satisfaction of watching them struggle their weary bones up a hillside the following morning, in a mist of fine Yorkshire drizzle, to wonder at and wander over an awe inspiring stretch of limestone pavement.
My befuddled thoughts, due no doubt both to lack of sleep and intense doses of YHA carbs and coffee, turned towards Tiddler’s potential 12 years from now. How can we predict a real future for that 14 year-old, when so many influences and factors are outside our control? A child should learn by their mistakes, so we are told, but as parents we want to educate (in school and in life) our bundles of joy into making valid judgements in the first place.
Considering that, I think I need to teach Tiddler first and foremost, to have empathy. Empathy for people (particularly snoozing teachers) and the world around her, and the rest should just fall into place.