In our first twenty years of life there are up to thirteen annual occasions in September when, after a glorious six week summer holiday we have to go back to School.
Cast your mind back now and see if you can actually remember what that felt like……was it anxiety or happy anticipation, excitement or fear, relief or anger?
I remember on the morning of one first day back to school trying to convince my mother that I was too sick to go because of a combined fever, diarrhoea, stomach upset and headache. As usual it cut no ice with her and off I was sent, a quivering little jelly……
But why? What are the root causes of ‘reluctance’…here are a few:
The unwelcome change of routine, getting up early, the demands of class work, homework, spelling and other tests, physically violent bullies (other children and sometimes teachers) cyber bullying and for many, the additional stress associated with having to sit still and listen to generally boring lessons for a whole 45 minutes or the dreaded double period of anything with the possible exception of PE (and even here with the highly probable exception of those we referred to as the “Lardy arsed salad dodgers”)
So….how can we help our little dears to deal with all this trauma?
Let’s begin with a brief history of how we survived it and not only us but also our own parents and their parents before them.
Now to be fair none of us had to cope with cyber bullying on social media, mobile smart phones, computers, laptops, tablets, Google, Youtube or Wikipedia (to do our homework for us) We were also unhindered by calculators, instead we needed slide rules and logarithm tables to work out the trigonometry questions never forgetting or mixing up SOH CAH TOA ( which attracted a playtime detention)
Indeed, there was an ever present threat of being beaten with either plimsoles or canes or the occasional cricket bat if you were late to class, or arrived without the due homework or for talking or making your mates laugh or just because the teacher was in a bad mood. Also, hard wooden blackboard rubbers and chalk missiles were regularly launched at and hit us on the head, ear, nose or throat…..and rarely missed.
So, how did we survive?
The trick lay in the fact that there was no sense of ‘entitlement’ to fair treatment, little questioning of ‘authority’ the acceptance that rule breaking carried consequences and not being easily offended by what we considered at the time to be ‘banter’.
If you were in trouble at School then you had better not mention it at home or you were in trouble there as well! It was also a given that you NEVER told a teacher if you got bullied, there were only two choices; sort it out or suck it up….and the ultimate solution was either having a group of mates or delivering a well timed punch up the throat (my father’s advice).
So, what can I possibly suggest…..I guess a modern, politically correct approach is best..for example; talk to your child about the lovely times they had at school last year, change their home routines gradually, getting up earlier, reading together more often, exploring simultaneous equations together etc etc.
Ultimately, when the first morning back to School rolls around just tell the quivering little jellies to suit up, boot up and shut up….and that Schooldays are the best days of their life…….you won’t be lying.