My gorgeous eldest daughter was born in February 1995 and I remember those sleepless nights and equally long days of coping with a new born. Stumbling from nappy change to feed, to nappy change, hoping I had got them in the right order. In all honesty not having the foggiest what I was doing, making it up as I went along. Spending hours gazing at our small bundle of innocence in her cot praying “Lord, wherever else I may fail, don’t let it be here!”
Now, sixteen years later it is GCSE time in our household. Molly is taking 14 GSCEs. Her predicted grades are As and A*s; that’s a big ask for a small person and we are really proud of her and how hard she has worked to hopefully achieve those grades. However, I do have to remind myself that we too have worked hard and played in part in her success, encouraging her in her education by helping her with homework, by attending parents’ evenings, by making sure she has been in school each day, that she has been equipped with all she needs for school, that she has full school uniform and cheered her on in all her educational endeavours. The part we play in our children’s education is just as important as the part they play. As a result of our input Molly has worked to the best of her ability during her school career, especially in the last two years of GCSE study. She has her own aspirations to become a doctor and so has set herself goals of what she would like to achieve. Therefore, her recent study leave and revision time has been just that. She has learnt everything she needed to learn over the last two years and this time is truly a time for revision/reminding herself of her knowledge rather than trying to learn it from scratch. We are very proud of her.
How our children turn out says more about our parenting skills than about their genes. God has put awesome power into our hands – the power to shape the next generation – and it takes a lot of commitment. We need to be part of their spiritual, emotional and educational challenges even when we are exhausted ourselves. We need to accept them unconditionally, even when they don’t want what we hope for them. Finally we need to be unfailing in our encouragement. Whether they win or lose, are right or wrong, make us look good or embarrass us; we need to understand, console and encourage them nevertheless. They need to know that we would never reject them, no matter what happens.
Each day when Molly goes off to sit an exam I joke with her. I say “I love you so much, if you just wrote your name on the test paper and that was all you did I would still love you!” I wrote my name on her life the day she was born and committed to see the ‘test’ through to the end, no matter what. It has been very testing at times, but as with everything in life you get out of it what you put in.