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Terrylin Backpackers
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Leave Them Be, Or Not?

08 January 2014, 15:22

We have often heard of parents living their unfulfilled dreams through their children.

Fathers scream from the sidelines, threatening to beat up the ref, while mothers clap loudly from the wings, blaming the instructor if their child does not receive the highest accolade.

These parents spend afternoons and weekends ferrying their children back and forth, sit for hours through inclement weather and spend a fortune determined that there is a future Oscar, Wimbledon, American Open Winner or Olympic Gold Medallist in their dreams.

Someone has to win these and it may be your child. Most likely, not.

These parents are unaware that their child may be anorexic, depressed or even suicidal and after this tragedy they blame each other and refuse to acknowledge the extreme bullying and threats they inflicted on their child.

On a lighter note, one mother I met insisted that the lower her son scored on his report card the more successful he was. She believed that an E meant excellent and boasted to all and sundry.

Another father told me that he had invested in an education policy for his daughter whom he was determined would be a doctor. His application was rejected from all the universities and upon enquiring why was told:

"Your daughter needed to study and obtain good grades in Maths and Science for Grade 11 and not Travel and Tourism."

When six year olds graduate from Grade 0, they step forward and announce that they will be doctors, astronauts, lawyers, pilots, vets or marine biologists.

There are no aspirant grave diggers, garbage collectors or sewer technicians, important as they are.

Then there are parents who are too lazy to guide their children and allow them to wax lyrical in public.

Petty's young son Percy, told me that he was going to be a pilot when he grew up.

"Do you have any other guests arriving tonight?" he asked.

"Four people are arriving later from Amsterdam on the KLM flight," I replied.

"No, no, no." bellowed Percy. "You are so wrong!  KLM is the flight carrier for Belgium."

Petty gave me a 'I dare you look' and so I did.

"The carrier for Belgium is Brussels Airlines," I said.

Percy nearly fell over, laughing: "Brussels! Like in brussel sprouts? You are so funny!"

He then produces his Grade 6 report card, rabbiting on about his results.  31% for Science, 47% for Technology, 39% for maths and O% for geography.

So, if your child does not have a snowballs chance in hell of being a pilot or a doctor, say so.  They'll get over it.  They may even be relieved.

And if they want to be tour operators, electricians or teachers, leave them be.  And encourage their choices.

On a personal note, my brother's Grade 9 report card read - Promoted to Grade 10 (Standard 8 in those days), but unfortunately J will never amount to anything.

He became a urologist.

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