We were sent a text by Rogan’s high school today to let us know he was bringing home his School Report. Presumably this is to counteract the common practice when I was a lad of forging parental signatures to make it appear they had been read and approved, without the parents ever knowing such reports existed. Occasionally one parent or the other might casually comment that when they were young, schools gave out annual reports, but we would shrug and mutter something about the world being different in the Olden Days.
There was no need to remind Rogan we were expecting his school report, however. He’s an honest lad and I can’t remember the last time he got a bad one. Occasionally I fear he might not be underhanded or devious enough to achieve global domination, but the fact that he can bake mouth-watering scones like his mother makes up for it.
But this report… well, this one was scary.
Page after page of glowing comments, top marks and high achievement.
After a while I found myself rebelling against it all. Couldn’t he have set fire to the school or something? Anyone this smart is bound to be the geek of the class – but no, apparently he’s friendly, sociable and well liked too.
Have you any idea just how intimidating it is?
Actually, if you’re a parent, of course you do. It doesn’t matter how academic or otherwise your children are, they are perfect.
You are handed this beautiful, perfect little being, a true miracle of life. How can you possibly get them to adulthood without screwing them up? The responsibility is huge and the task feels impossible. The best you can hope for is a certain amount of damage limitation. With luck I won’t pass on too many of my own neuroses, although in the process I will probably set them up with other personality disorders instead.
Sometimes I’ve felt his intelligence is wasted on us. There are some parents out there who push their kids hard to do well at school. These parents would sell their souls if they thought it would help their kids achieve the grades Rogan appears to gain almost effortlessly.
Personally, I’ve never held much respect for school and academic achievement. At the age of 11 I knew how to read, write and use a pocket calculator; if I’d left school then I would probably have achieved a great deal more with my life.
Once we have the basics, far more important than a few bits of paper saying you sat an exam are drive, passion and empathy. With these characteristics you can achieve anything without having to hurt people on the way. It’s a shame the education system doesn’t value these as highly as memorising a few bits of general knowledge you could have looked up anyway.
Still, this isn’t to say I’m not proud of Rogan. In the end I think the only thing that could have impressed me more was if he faked his report.