Dear teens (small girl you’ve not really met pushy mum yet-she pops up around high school time!)
I know I’m a pushy mum. I try to rein it in I promise but that pushy bossy control freak in me just slips out from time to time.
Especially with school. You all doing well at school has been the focus of my parenting since forever. You doing well at school has been a priority, I’ve focused on it hard. School is a privilege, I tell you that all the time don’t I? Never again in your life will so many people put so much effort into ensuring you do the best you can.
I still believe this.
I still want you to do well.
I will still push you.
Recently though ,in the days of a post referendum UK, in a where I’ve read so much bile and vileness from all sides on social media. In a world where we terrifyingly have a President Trump who stands for everything I teach you is abhorrent I feel like my own priorities as a mum have been laid bare in front of me. They’re all wrong.
In the past few months of uncertain days when it feels as though hatred and nastiness is breeding and growing my thinking has been shaken up. Education is important, of course it is. A good solid education will give you choices, open doors.
That all counts for very little though if you can’t be a decent human being. I’m aware that some of the most successful people in the world are utter knobs. I didn’t raise them though.
As a single mum of four I am judged. There’s no point pretending any other way. I am judged and I feel judged. In my delusional head I always thought if we could just get through school and you all did well then I could prove to the judgers that I am an OK mum. That I didn’t ruin your lives by making us a single parent family.
That’s utter nonsense
I’ve been an idiot
I got it wrong
If you guys become adults who don’t care, who are unable to empathise, who look down on others, who refuse to listen to another persons point of view. That’s when I’ll have failed.
Our country feels a negative place right now. The referendum has brought so much anger to the forefront of our psyche as a nation. I’ve seen the words stupid and racist bandied about as though they are OK, casual words to use. I’ve read the concerns of terrified people dismissed as being a ‘sore loser’. In a post Trump world there is a lot of fear about what could happen next. None of it reflects very well on us adults.
So you four. Your generation has to do better. I believe you will. I’ve heard you chat about the aftermath of Brexit with more thought and clarity than many people who are old enough to vote.Even small girl will pass comment on Trump whilst watching Newsround and not at all favourably. You guys can see.
So the important thing is this.
Be compassionate, always.
Be understanding of differing points of view, you don’t have to agree but you should listen.
Stand up and give a voice to those who don’t have one. That’s so important.
Those are the things that will continue to make me as proud as I already am of you, for you already possess these qualities, I’ve seen them in action. Don’t let adulthood knock these things out of you, don’t let hate and negativity creep in.
Kindness and empathy and tolerance are way more important than an A in GCSE Geography.
I’m sorry it’s taken so long for that to get through to my pushy mother brain.
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