Read this first…
Wow, scary huh? And kinda true and a bit above my pay grade in parts. Occasionally so true I laughed out loud. Bit scare-mongery dare I say it? But it’s made me think. I mean, I enjoyed school, first public/state school then a private girls school via scholarship. I was a bit homeschooled in that most of my strengths were established OUTSIDE of school e.g;
- how to read/write
- how to sight-read music
- to recite, appreciate and create my own poetry
- to be a journalist
- to write my own stories
- how to perform (drama)
- practical tasks via Brownies and Guides
- religious studies via church
Just to put things in perspective. I wrote my first book of poetry aged 6 called ‘The Earth’ which was full of poems about how wonderful the planet is. At 8 I wrote and printed my own kids paper which I sold at school for 2p per copy. By 9 I’d ‘written’ my first play which was staged before the class. At 10 I was on some televisions shows – can’t remember the names now, being a precocious kid. I then got a scholarship (via a government scheme) to a private school at 11. Around this time I also took part in my first public theatre performance. Aged 14 I made a rap video with a friend which included singing and dancing. This was shown on a Channel4 Documentary called Roots of Rap. At 16 I wrote my first novel which was published aged 18. I then wrote a second one published just after graduating from a prestigious university with an LLB in Law and French Law (I hated law – quite liked the French though and worked in Paris on and off). I then went on to write and see several plays staged (we’re not talking Broadway), I appeared on televisions and radio a lot as a social commentator and wrote for the media extensively, writing a third creative collection published in my late 20s.
Did I mention I was raised by a single mum (a real single mum, not the kind where daddy turns up to whisk you away to Pizza Hut every other Saturday) who did not have that much of an education herself? She only got her degree when I was about 11. I was the only one at her graduation.
Looking back, the things I was good at were pretty much those things I was taught outside of school although school definitely gave me opportunities to share and improve my talents. I loved school and never had any real negativity at school despite often being the only black girl or only ‘deprived’ child in my class. It’s just interesting. Those things I was struggling with before I ever went to school e.g. maths, art, science (my mum never helped me with and neither did school) I still struggle with today. Hmmm.
It’s amazing to be in a position to do for my sons what my mum tried to do for me in her spare time. I always need to have that at the forefront of my mind. It’s so true that when you have kids and you see the effort that needs to go into raising them, you know then how much you yourself were/are loved.