Family: Janet Christie's Mum's the Word

Middle passes '¨on some life lessons to Youngest



Youngest is pleased with her exam results.

“I’m soooooo happy. I thought I was going to fail them all...” she says.

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“‘Course not,” I say.

“... but I did waaaaay better than I thought I would after the prelims, that was sooooooo terrible.”

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“You did. But I’d have been proud of you if you’d failed them all, ‘cos I know you worked hard. They’re only exams. School’s only part of your life.”

“Mmmmm.” She’s washing up, so doesn’t move away, although she’s heard this before, my whole ‘education is a rat race’ rant. But I say it anyway...

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“Education has become a travesty, a pointless scarring of the self-esteem for the 85 per cent who don’t have the particular skill set that exams measure and reward.”

“Mmmm.” Splash, splash.

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“And grade inflation makes it all meaningless anyway but all of the institutions buy into it because education’s been monetised and it’s all about status and snobbery and elitism, and learning for its own sake has gone out of the…” I’ve lost her.

“You know what Middle said before he went to Oz?” I say, remembering that maybe not all of education is a lost cause.

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“No, what?”

“Well, we just opened his exam results from college and he’d been given qualifications in problem solving and people skills, and he was so chuffed and said ‘I didn’t even know that was part of my course, along with the climbing and water sports stuff. I was just lying in bed thinking ‘what am I good at? Stuff you don’t 
get exams in!’, and now I’ve got this certificate with stuff I can use to get jobs I like doing.’ 
Nice one.”

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“Mmmmm,” says Youngest. “Yeah, he said to me he wished he’d paid more attention at school and I should learn from his mistakes.”

Aw. People skills, problem solving… And it’s sibling age gap payback time – advice from him being much more palatable than from me.

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“Anyway, you’ve done well,” I say, “so you know that amazing bag we saw in the sales...?”

“No. I don’t want a bag, or anything, for doing well. Or money. It’s not about that. Just the results are what matters. None of my friends is getting stuff either, their parents just go, ‘oh good, well done.’

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Oh good.

I mean, “Oh good. Well done.” n