February 16th 2010
Last week it was parent’s evening at my children’s school. It consisted of the usual old blah, blah, have a look at their work, talk to their teacher, all the while hoping for no nasty surprises, and all went well, that is, until we got to speak to my son’s teacher. At first it was as expected. He is working well, making steady progress, is mainly well behaved, etc, etc but then all of a suddenly I was blown away and as I looked round at my son I could see tears pooling in his eyes and it was one the proudest moments of my life.
Before I explain why, just bear with me while I give you a tiny bit of background. My son only joined this school last September (2009) due to a change in my personal circumstances I decided to move them to a school nearer home. On joining his new school he quickly befriended another boy in his class whom I will call E. Over the ensuing months they developed a strong and happy friendship. My son is the elder of the 2, by 6 months, the physically bigger and stronger one as well, but don’t let that fool you, behind that big boy lurks a softie, who is terribly sensitive and a bit of a worrier but he has learnt to cope well with it and in the main is socially confident, outgoing and happy. E, on the other hand is shy and fairly quiet and up until recently has been rather unhappy at school. He has a stutter and can be nervous, self conscious and anxious at times and has in the past suffered at the hands of school bullies but he is a lovely boy.
Apart from their shared passion for football, at first glance you would say these two are chalk and cheese. One is confident, sociable, outgoing, popular, and friendly and the other is quiet, nervous, anxious and a worrier. However, my son is, in fact, secretly much of what his friend is too, he has just learnt to manage it, cover it up and put on the bravado, but then with E, he doesn’t need to do this, I think, and E has found someone who accepts him exactly as he is. They make an interesting pair, they make a good team.
So back to parents evening and it’s all going swimmingly and the teacher is saying that G is helpful and kind and in the main part well behaved……sounds good so far right? Then she says, G’s has really settled in very well and has been a great addition to the class, and he has such a great friendship with E. Then she turns to my son and says…… “G, you do know that you have really changed E’s life for the better don’t you? Before you came along he was a lonely and unhappy at school, you have completely changed that for him and that, young man, is no small thing.” For a moment there is silence as G and I sit and absorb what she has just said to us. I can see his eyes water and I know that not only has my son changed someone’s life but that on hearing that, he has he understands the enormity of it and he is humbled by those words.
I thank the teacher and we leave, and walk home and when we get there I take him aside and I tell him how very proud I am of him and that yes, I am pleased he is working hard and behaving well and making progress but that to know my son has changed someone’s life, that by being E’s friend he has made him happier, means more to me than all the school work he will ever do put together. I tell him that, the friend that we are to others, the people we reach out too, the lives that we touch as we go about our own lives, it is these things that are truly important, that I am truly proud of him for…..and just for a brief moment I am proud of myself too for raising such a boy……
Ps….There will be one or two of you who will read this and know that I am constantly filled with self doubt about my Mothering…..I can hear you both now, saying I told you so……