Result – liar, liar, pants on fire!

Thou shalt not bear false witness.  It says so (at number 9 if I remember correctly).  And there I was on Thursday, the last but one Thursday in August, lying for all I was worth.  

The last Thursday but one in August is the day that GCSE results come out. This is not normally a day of any special importance, but this year, Darling Son was one of those receiving results.   “Don’t worry” I chirruped at him.  Not that he was.  Laid back didn’t begin to describe him.  No, it was me with the anxiety attack.  Anyone asked, I lied.  I was fine. Nervous, but fine.  Actually, I was worried sick.  Very nearly literally.  

We tell our children that it isn’t the winning, it’s the taking part.  We tell them that things will work out fine, we tell them (and here is truth, I hope) that we will love them no matter what.  But I could not escape from the brutal fact that DS’s results matter.  They dictate what his next steps can be.  And steps take us in particular directions – and so next steps dictate those which may follow, and ultimately, dictate destinations. 

The other brutal fact from which I could not escape was the consequence of my actions during the last few years.  Other (“proper”???) parents stand over their offspring, demanding to know what homework they have, what they have done, testing their French vocab, and generally being involved.  I stepped back from that level of involvement, asking general questions, but not specifics.  And so I could not assess how hard (or otherwise) DS was working.  This method had avoided dozens of rows in the preceding weeks and months…but now I was looking at the results of that approach too. It felt as though it wasn’t just DS whose future was on the line, but as if my own parenting ability was being examined.   

Whatever we do, however we approach life, we make decisions, and their consequences cannot always be immediately determined.  Getting results has always been far more stressful for me than sitting exams.   Parenting is an extreme example of this  – we act, we lay foundations, and eventually we begin to see the results.  I seldom tell the truth about my confidence in my parenting skills – I never had any confidence at all.  The lies began with the post natal group as we met with our new babies, continued with health visitors, nursery staff, teachers.  And the longer I lied, the harder it got to admit the truth – that I felt clueless.  It’s only now that I can begin confession.  

Why can I confess now?  Well, DS got a perfectly respectable set of results, can go and do exactly what he wants to do, and so I can claim that my clueless parenting seems to have worked.  But if the result had been different, would the lies continue?  Oh yes, I expect so.  

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4 responses to “Result – liar, liar, pants on fire!

  1. We want the best for our children, but ultimately, they are responsible for their own work and results.

    We can encourage and coax them along, but forcing them is the wrong way to do things. I think that your approach is as good as any and it works, so don't beat yourself up about it.

  2. Thanks! I'll do my best to avoid beating myself up, but I've had 16 years of practice! I suspect it'll be easier as I watch my children function in the world.

  3. Same here. 14 perfectly acceptable GCSEs although I do wonder if I had been more strict and thrown away her laptop (which she saved up for)the grades would have been significantly better.

  4. Ah, yes, the “What if I'd” question. I'm doing my best to follow UKViewer's advice and just not think about it. Well done to her!

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