Help - my child is writing matric!
by Myron Rabinowitz
The final school term has arrived again, and so has the time for reflection. In thousands of homes, families are gearing up for the last lap of the twelve-year school journey as one of their children gets ready to walk into the matric examination hall next week. How should you, as parent, support your child?
It is easy for family members, friends and teachers of those that have worked hard throughout the year, to give words of encouragement.
But there is a second group of Grade 12s - those who haven't put in enough effort during the last two years - who will be cramming into the early hours of the morning, leaving the family in a quandary as to what support to give. In some homes, tension will be running high as the anguish becomes reality and nerves fray to the limit. The responsibility is now on the patriarch and/or the matriarch of the family to show leadership and calm the situation with not only wise words, but wise actions as well. Words of encouragement are what is needed, not an analysis of what should have been done during the year. A coffee break with a quiet chat of encouragement and understanding will do the trick in many cases.
The third group of learners, those who know that their pass marks will not allow them to further their academic studies through the traditional channels, have the most difficult task during the final exams. Many of these learners have unbelievable skills in areas such as the arts, the complex IT industry, sports or the great outdoors, which means that they will be entering careers that don't fall within their parents’ frame of reference. Prospects of exciting opportunities in the film industry, delivering a yacht to someone in the Bahamas, working on a cruise ship, getting a private pilot's license or teaching English in a foreign country can mean that their full focus is not on the academic exam they face. Parents' lack of knowledge and understanding of the modern world may be just the wrong medicine. Just encourage them to do the best they can.
Your child has a future, but many of us don't know what the future holds. So let's just support all matriculants for the next six weeks - and during the dreaded wait to see who made it and who didn't.