I never knew that parenting would teach me so many things. Being a Mum means learning constantly - every day, week and month. I don’t think anyone ever knows how much you learn about yourself, about your child, about those around you and about life in general, just through the shift in perspective as you become a parent. And never before has it been more prominent than when you watch your child complete their first year at school.
I am overwhelmed with pride about how well my son has done this past year. How much he’s achieved has more than amazed me - it’s floored me. Watching a brain truly come alive - soaking up knowledge like a sponge...it’s beautiful. Yes, children learn so much in those precious early years, but when they start school they’re learning with more purpose, drive and determination. Suddenly there are goal posts and targets, and there’s self motivation to achieve them all. What’s more, is that it’s without any of the pressure that comes with age and life experience that accompanies a goal post, aim or target as an adult. School creates a hunger in their little brains, and watching it develop has been such a hugely proud moment as a parent. But as a person, it’s been massively inspiring.
Watching my son see the things that he wants (knowledge, praise for his work, friends to play with etc.) has motivated him to reach out and take what’s waiting for him. Nothing has held him back. Innocent perspective has meant that when he’s struggled, he’s got right back up and carried on again until he’s achieved what he wanted. Yes, it might only be that he wants to write his name, or colour within the lines - but the sentiment has not been lost on me... As adults, when did we lose that simplicity? When did we start to over complicate the process by which we work harder for the things we want, without ever giving up? When did we start talking ourselves out of learning a new skill? Why should we be afraid of stumbling in the quest to better ourselves, or make changes for the better in our lives?
Watching a classroom full of children go through the scariest moment of their lives as they started their first days at school - well, that was scary as a parent. I worried for him. I spent sleepless nights wondering if he’d make friends, if he’d be included, or if he’d be treated any differently. But he and every one of his peers sailed through. Not only did they sail through, they absolutely dominated their first year. They took every lesson, every expectation, every goal - and owned it. They didn’t just do it because they should - but rather, because they could. And why shouldn’t they? Their motivation is as simple as seeing each opportunity for what it is - and actually reaching out and taking it.
So as a parent I’m proud. But as a person, I’m inspired and touched by the life lessons I’ve been witness to, that a classroom full of five year olds has taught me. Like I said: parenting teaches you many things. The most poignant recently being that watching your child learn can actually teach you the most valuable life lessons about never giving up, persistently trying, and ultimately about not letting anything hold you back.