My youngest daughter has just gone off to her new 6th form. She is excited, and understandably a little nervous as well with the whole business of making new friends in a new place; getting to know new teachers, and her way around a new building. I’m very proud of her – for who she is more than for her achievements; although I can’t deny being proud of those as well.
Aparently I am not alone; in a recent survey published by Persil the most common ‘proudest moment’ for parents is ‘walking through the school gates with their child for the very first time’. This refers not to 6th form beginnings – I don’t think my daughter would have wanted me to accompany her today! – but to the start of infant / Primary school. I remember the pride I felt with my eldest daughter on her first day at school. I also have very vivid memories of my own first day at Primary School, St. Paul’s, C of E, Hook, Surrey way back in September 1960. I remain convinced that the most important ‘job’ I have had in my life has been to be husband to Rosemary and together being Dad & Mum to our 4 wonderful children, all now beginning to play a larger role in society as young adults. Parenting is an enormous honour – some who would love to do it never have the chance. It is a huge responsibility. It has been, and remains, great fun, very rewarding. Our children have given us so much, from the very outset of their lives. Most of the time they have not realised how much they have given us just by being here. We have given much to them; love, time, tears etc.
So I hope that all parents who have walked with their child into school for the first time this week have done so with immense pride.
I hope too we can as a society recognise more fully the fantastic job that the vast bulk of parents do in raising children for the good of society as a whole. One way of doing so must be to ensure that parents can give children the time they need from their parents through our systems of parental leave, tax credits etc. We must ensure that where a parent wants to be a full-time parent of the youngest they are absolutely free to be able to do so – and applauded for their work not made to feel guilty.