Monthly Archives: February 2018

A Hospital Virgin


One can just see the attic window at the top of this building (Google Streetview)

I have spent the last 67 and half years trying my utmost to stay out of hospitals. I was born in an attic 4 floors up (home/attic births were all the rage in 1950) and apart from visiting people, I have been able to escape the hospital’s welcome all these years. However, all being well, that record will finish next week. I say “all being well” because, ironically, one needs to be healthy to have a ‘procedure’.

Last year I had an ultrasound and it was discovered that I was pregnant … with bouncing baby(or not so baby) gallstones.

So there are a couple of things for me to reflect on. One has been the rare privilege of not having had to use these facilities up to now when many, from a young age, have known hospital as a second home. I need to thank God for that. Another is that I live in a country that when it is needed these facilities are available. I or my family do not live in Syria where they become a special target for the enemy.

There is another reflection. I don’t like drunkenness or liked things like hypnotism as I argued that it was a poor choice as a Christian to have one’s body under the control of another person or substance. Next week I will be put under so someone else and can cut into me. What do I think about that? The way my gut feels at present it is cheering, “Bring it on!”

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Parents and Education

I originally wrote this 5 years ago but as I reflect on another parent/teacher interview day, it is still relevant.

Yesterday we had our first Parent Teacher interviews for the year. One of the outstanding characteristics of these interviews is that these parents are passionately concerned about their children’s success. They want to partner with the teachers to enable their son or daughter to achieve their best.

That school/family partnership is a crucial element for a child’s success. This liaison enables the discovery of learning styles and intelligence areas. Weaknesses can be worked on and strengths developed. For the student he or she is aware that there is a solid support team upholding their education.

The examples parents set for their children is also important. Do children see their parents as life long learners? Do they see mum and dad expanding their horizons through the books read, films watched and courses taken? Does this “learning” inform the family and meal time conversations? The family atmosphere can have a huge impact on whether a child has a positive or negative view of learning.

When I was teaching in the UK I came across the phrase, “Second generation disaffection with school.” It refers to parents who had a poor experience of school which in turn impacts  their lack of encouragement or negativity with regard to their own children’s education. For the teacher the consequences are obvious – unmotivated students who disrupt classes and the education of their peers. It can become a disastrous downward spiral.

The most prominent influence I have observed over the years is a dad’s influence on his son(s). As a general rule, if the dad doesn’t read, his son will not read. Or to put it positively, a dad who reads, gives his son(s) a powerful example that will radically influence his child’s education. All the encouragement from mum can be outweighed by dad’s attitude – positive or negative.

Our children are no longer competing for jobs with their peers in a school (I must stress that education is not just about jobs!), but in the global economy, with students in schools all across the world. The support, encouragement and example of parents is, consequently, also important. Many of the jobs that our children will enter into have not even been invented yet. So the best example a parent can give is an attitude of life long, on going learning. Personal growth becomes an attribute of how we live life.

This attitude also mitigates against boredom and complacency. It make life exciting and positive.  Learning and discovery becomes part of who we are as complete people.  It will also stop us from being passive consumers of entertainment, but that is a topic for another day.

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