I bet there aren’t too many children who are looking forward to starting school again in a week or so. The long holidays are almost over and it always used to seem to me that the days went faster the closer to September we got - and I think small daughter feels the same!
It’s going to be a bit different in our house this year as big daughter starts university at the end of September so she still has time off, and the whole experience will be quite unlike being at school. It’s an exciting time, and small daughter – although she still has quite a few years to go before she can leave school – has been caught up in the conversations as if she’s off to university as well.
Although she has picked her degree course, big daughter is still deciding exactly which career route she wants to choose. Small daughter has everything mapped out. She’s going to be the Prime Minister, which she’ll fit in around her New York fashion house and her Parisian restaurant. In her spare time, she’s going to be a competitor at the next Olympic Games (although she can’t quite decide in which sport) and win The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. She sees no reason at all why she can’t do any or all of these things, and although we will help her to steer her ambitions to make them as achievable as possible, who are we to say that she won’t be any or all of those things? The sky is the limit as far as she is concerned, and that’s the joy of children. They can be anything they want to be and although “real life” sometimes gets in the way and their ambitions don’t work out quite as they had planned as they grow up, sometimes it’s enough just to try.
Who gives us the right to decide that they will or won’t be good at anything they put their mind to and to put them off before they’ve even started? Who had the right to tell us that we weren’t any good at the things that we now have hang-ups about? If we were enjoying ourselves, what does it matter if we didn’t get the gold medal or we changed our minds and chose to do something else with our lives?
The end of the summer holidays and the return to school always feels to me like a new year just as much as the “official” one in January. It’s a time to shake the sand off our feet and take up something new as the summer fades and the winter edges closer. It’s an opportunity to fill those dark evenings with new skills and learning, to discover something else about our lives, our planet and ourselves. It’s time to forget those who might have dampened our childhood ambitions and do something that suits us now. The sky is the limit for us as well.