Wednesday, 3 October 2012


3 October 2012

I would really like my children to be bright - as in clever.  Not abnormally so, as to be freaky and unable to function with normal averagely intelligent folks.  But rather delightfully clever.  As to be erudite, charming and able to virtually sail through school.  And whichever tertiary education route they would like to follow, in order to qualify them for their future careers one day.
But some days, I despair of my wish becoming true.  Luke, is a teenager – so enough said.  He doesn’t do meaningful conversation.  In fact he grunts and makes noises most of the time.  The fact that I understand him, is a testament to my multi-lingual abilities.  His voice is also exceptionally deep, so it is near impossible to hear anything beyond a vague rumbling sound.  And no, he doesn’t speak loudly at all.  We all seem to spend loads of time saying “sorry, Luke, what did you say” or variations on this theme.  He seems to take a personal affront to this and his motto seems to be “if you didn’t hear me the first time, you obviously didn’t want to”.  Teenagers!!!

Amber is a little tween girl – so her vocal range incorporates an excessive amount of squealing.  She is not all that logical at times, and though extremely sharp with her tongue (she can flay you on the spot with one of her razor sharp come-backs), there are clear gaps in reasoning ability.  If conversations don’t pertain to Justin Bieber, fashion and nailpolish, I think she simply tunes it out.

Cole is, well Cole.  He can’t stay still for long enough to do anything of vast intellectual ability.  That does however not mean that he is incapable of doing so.  He is extremely clever and bright and of this I am sure.  He is intelligent, yet he can be so ridiculously illogical at times, it blows my mind.

So, perhaps it’s time for me to lower the bar a bit.  I am hardly an intellectual giant.  In fact far from it.  And all three of my kids are by far exceeding my very limited scholastic abilities.  I always got by, but there were never any intellectual fireworks for me.  Not a single spark of brilliance.  Nothing I particularly excelled at.  For a while, I thought I might have cornered the family market on musicality with my “marvellous” piano skills, until my dear brother left me in the dust, albeit with his guitar.  So that was not to be either.

Yet, for all of my grumbling about my kids, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are all remarkably clever.  For the most part they do really well at school – particularly if they apply themselves.  And I suppose therein lies the catch.  So how do I know that they’re clever?  Well, all three of them have an excellent sense of humour.  And for humour to exist, you have to understand the finer nuances of wit, satire, irony, sarcasm, etc.  They don’t just get the slap-dash humour thing.  They get all humour – barring the adult kind of course.  Or perhaps they are just “humouring” me in letting me think that they don’t get the adult humour?  They are all capable of witty responses and have quick verbal reflexes.  Alarmingly so at times.

I think, far more important than mere book-intelligence, is emotional intelligence.  And this encapsulates a whole list of things.  Being able to communicate with adults and children alike.  Knowing which responses to give in certain circumstances.  A quest for knowledge that can not only be found in books and are limited to them.  A yearning for experiencing things.  A willingness to explore different ideas.  An ability to be non-judgmental and communicate with people of different sexes, races, religions, ethnicity, ages, economic standing and physical ability.

So, I would dearly, wishfully and hopefully like to think that my kids are on this path.  That they will be able to do all of the above and evolve in to wonderful, amazing, incredible, kind-hearted whole people.  People who can make a positive contribution to society and can be an example to those around them.  People who can be relied upon.  People who have integrity, loyalty, perseverance, honesty and a sense of fairness.  That they will be good friends to their friends.  That they will be NICE people, that can be depended on.  That they will meet with exceptional success in their relationships with others - both romantic and platonic.

I think so far, so good.  No one is perfect and thank heavens for that.  In fact, perhaps perfection is a very shallow aspiration.  It is our very fallibility that makes us learn and become even better people.

So my revised wish for my children is to be average, but well rounded.  Nah, maybe a bit above average.  To be clever-ish.  To be nice.  To be slightly naughty.  To be good people.   

Perfect little robots would simply not do for me.  I want children after all – not marionettes.  I don’t need all A’s.  I don’t need first teams for sport.  I don’t need prefects.  I don’t need Victor or Victrix Ludorums.  I don’t need Academic awards.  I don’t need gold medals and gold certificates.  I don’t need musical excellence.  I don’t need the best works of art.  I don’t need team captains.  I don’t need top of the class.  I don’t need the cutest, prettiest, most handsome.  It is not a pre-requisite for my love, affection or approval.

So go out there.  Have a good life.  Have chutzpah – and bucket loads of it.  You make me proud anyway – just for being you.


  1. I just LOVE this blog - you are a very wise woman!!

  2. Your kids are very lucky Helene, to have you.

  3. Love the LUKE-part! "...he grunts and makes noises most of the time..." Makes me think of spud the movie - for some odd reason.

    1. Oh yes, that was from Katarina ^^,