I have just had a tiny glimpse of the grown ups that my children are going to become.
I find this a remarkable sentence to write.
As a parent I find that I get so bogged down in the everyday trivia, nagging and general tedium that I rarely find a moment for reflection. However today, I feel as if the murky clouds of the future swirled into something clear and tangible.
Like most remarkable events they took place in a very unremarkable situation. We were in the car and were chatting about all the moves we’ve done, the places we have been, what we’d enjoyed, and what we hadn’t. There was a moment where my children were talking and reasoning together. Without my input. They were making cohesive arguments for their points. They were articulate and intelligent. They are 7 and 6 years respectively and yet the discussion they were having could just have easily been taking place between a middle-aged group of people. It made me stop in my tracks and it hit me; these are interesting, independent people. Yet, these are my children.
Writing this it may not sound particularly noteworthy but, for me, it really is. As I listened to their conversation I realised that I have invested the last 7 years of my waking life into feeding, bathing, dressing, disciplining, nurturing and loving these little people with no real thought about who they might actually be or become. I have, however, considered what career they might have (prime minister, golfer, engineer, cricketeer) but not what their characters will be, what opinions they might hold, what methods they’ll use to get what they want (persuade, negotiate, dictate). Then I got to thinking about whether any parent really thinks about this? Have you?
Do parents just go through the motions of child rearing in an instinctive haze of sleep deprived robotics? How many of us really sit and ponder on whether our children are turning into people that we would like to be around? I think I have written in the past that I actually quite like the children (in my post about ‘Leaving Home’). They make me laugh and cry, challenge me on the simplest of issues and make me question myself as a person. I have idly wondered if my children will end up liking me, but I haven’t particularly thought about who they really are.
Perhaps this is a massive oversight of my own and every other parent out there is screaming: “what are you talking about? Of course we have PI tested our children, we know exactly who they are.” I am beginning to wonder if, along with SATs and other random testing that takes place at school, personality testing will be initiated by some future government tinkering with the education syllabus. I can hear the arguments for it now… “As a consequence of this regular testing we will be able to guide our children to the subjects, training and careers most suited them. They will not waste their time on an educational path that they will not succeed in.” Blimey, can you imagine it?
However at present we haven’t the (dis)advantage(?) of age relevant PI testing and so epiphanies the like of mine today will come to every parent at some point along this crazy path we are travelling. If you haven’t yet had it – this is your warning bell.
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