The end of the beginning

Somewhere about 15, 16 years ago I walked my daughter into Reception for the first time, setting her on the path that would see her through Primary school, 2 Secondary schools, and on into Warsash Maritime Academy heading for the Merchant Navy. When we made those first steps I had no idea where she would end up, but I am so proud of where she is – and who she is.

Today I walked my youngest son to school for the last day of Year 6, his final day in Primary school. Where his journey will end, I have no idea, but you can bet I’ll be proud of who he is, wherever he ends up. Hopefully! Come September he’ll start at Secondary school. He’ll be the first one to attend this particular school, but he’s going there with the friends he’s made throughout his time at Primary school. And he’s ready for it. We’ve got whole new systems of homework setting, parents’ evenings, the endless bombardment of school contact emails to learn and understand. And a head who’s very big on pastoral care – and who pronounces it correctly, none of this past-oral business!

His primary school have been amazing. They’ve seen 4 of my 5 kids through from an assortment of entry points, but my youngest has had the full 7 year experience. And it’s been wonderful, even with lockdown and all of the pandemic weirdness thrown in.

Robin Williams once said “You have two dreams about your kids. In one, they’re thanking the Nobel commission for awarding them this honour. In the other they’re asking you life’s eternal question – do you want fries with that?” I paraphrase, he tells it far better than I do. I talked to my lad about where he wants to be on our walk this morning. He wants to earn enough money to be happy. Not too much, because he wouldn’t know what to do with it. Enough to be happy.

So. To everyone who’s finishing Primary school today, who knows where your journeys will end? Enjoy today, look forward to September where you’ll find excitement, adventure, and really wild things at Secondary school. And if it’s your last kid finishing today, this is just the end of the beginning. The end of the prologue. The main characters have been introduced, the scene has been set, the seeds of the story planted. But now, now the real fun begins.

By John Clayton

Father of 5, husband to a wonderful wife, cook, geek. Software gardener in the wilds of Lincolnshire. Coder, Ninja Poet (apparently).

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