What are you most proud of? And what would your kids’ be most proud of if you asked them the same question?
We suspect your kids might say they’re proud that they learned to ride a bike, that they got an A on their end of year history exam, that they can do their own hair before school.
But today we want to tell you about what some other children would say. They would say that they’re proud that they managed to go to school for the bulk of the days that week, they’re proud that they can get their toddler sibling (only a few years their junior) to eat her dinner, they’re proud that mum is doing a little bit better and hasn’t been drinking…
Wendy Field writes:
Only a few weeks ago, I was reading the responses to our annual Smith Family student writing competition – which had posed the same question. What are you proud of? Each year we love reading what the kids write as part of this, and this year’s entries with this topic, were particularly moving.
I got to thinking about what my own child is proud of, and contrast that with what some of the “Smith Family” kids had written about. I realised that at the age of 11, despite the differences in social backgrounds, what the kids put up high as achievements, were not too dissimilar from my son and his friends.
But there was one absolutely stark difference. The children we support wrote of lives where the absence of what you might expect in a family home, made all the difference to the way they wrote about their experiences.
As a mother I understand the great responsibility I have in helping my child to create opportunities for himself. I can’t live his life for him, but I can help him grow up to be resilient and courageous. After all, it’s not perhaps his life journey that is so important, but how he handles the bumps along the way.
I mentioned the student writing competition we ran at work this year. When I read one of the entries from a young girl, Kirsten*, I was astounded by the adult, matter-of-fact way she told her story. Just 15, Kirsten has had more than her fair share of life’s knocks to deal with.
She speaks like an adult because in many ways, she is living like one now. She writes that she is most proud of herself, because she takes care of her mum and still goes to school.
“Before I go to school each morning, I have to shower, wash and dress my mum and make her breakfast because she is too sick to do it for herself. Sometimes I am late for school but I try hard to make it on time. It’s hard doing both each morning, but my mum is very strong and she wants to be there for me as long as she can, so I am proud of my mum for all the pain she puts up with for me.
I have a lot on my mind and I worry about my mum so it gets hard some days trying to focus on school work. I’m happy that I have made lots of new friends at this school and that I can still manage to keep going to school.”