Friday, 5 January 2018

matric results - more than just our own kids


So today the much awaited (or feared) Matric Results for the #Classof2017 were released.  

Now some students would have been waiting with great joy, some with great trepidation, some with great angst, others with complete confidence and others still with utter panic. 

Every student would like to do his or her best. OK, maybe most students. Some have to additionally do their mother or father’s concept of what their “best” is.  Some have had no guidance or family life or had a lack of books and/or stationery and will fail as a result.  Others will have those same restrictions and soar.  The press and social media are full of success stories today.  From all spheres of life, all incomes, all family backgrounds.  I saw and heard and read of kids with distinctions from upmarket schools but I also saw my fair share of kids with that many distinctions from not such upmarket schools or very understaffed and underequipped schools.  I saw stories of kids who studied the entire year by candlelight. Who came from families where there were no parents. Who walked forever to get to school.  And yes, I also saw stories of kids suffering from car accident injuries, serious illnesses, the loss of a parent during the final exams.  These tales of courage are everywhere.  And this goes throughout - does not matter where you went to school, hundreds of kids failed or passed because of or despite of challenges.  Of course there were hundreds of thousands who came from stable homes with great support systems and soared.  But amongst those stable homes and great support systems were also kids who did not quite make the standard and subsequently failed or barely scraped through. On the other hand naturally there will always be those who had the opportunities but squandered them with lack of studying, unnecessary absenteeism, truancy and continual lack of effort. 

Today I am lucky and very very blessed.  Both my kids went to a very good school.  But both of them also took every ounce of talent they were given and every single opportunity they had and worked and put in the extra effort and hours in every single sphere of their school career from academic to sport to cultural.  Their results did not fall in their laps.  And during my son’s mid high school career, something awful was done to us, something that many of our friends and family have never had to experience and probably never will.  However through it all he put his head down, studied, worked hard, played hard.  He steadfastly refused, along with us and his sister, to let life break him, and even though only management and a handful of teachers knew his circumstances, he emerged, with us, on the other side after 2 years, still standing.  Till today I applaud my children for this.  If only people knew. 

So today I salute my young man for his fantastic results.  He did it his way.  In a home of great love and support.  And with great love and support from those who are close to him.  These marks will stand him in good stead.  You are a gentleman of whom I am very proud.  You are also the funniest guy I know. 

But I ask that you spare a thought .... in fact more than a thought, for those that did not pass, whatever the reason, for those for whom passing hangs on supplementary exams.  For those who did not live up to the expectations that others had for them and had subjected them to.  For those that gave their all, and found it not enough. Whatever you got, if you got it giving your all, then pat yourself on the back. You deserve it.

And spare even a more serious thought for those for whom the results are so overwhelmingly devastating that their own lives hang in the balance.  Every year around this time we read of more than one child who ended their lives because they simply felt they were not good enough. 

The pressure is enormous.  

So pray in thanks for those who are celebrating.
But also pray for courage for those who are not. 

Be good to yourselves
c’est la vie 

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