Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief,
Doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief.
No, don’t worry, I’m not breaking out into ditties again this time. This is the counting out song I used when eating banana custard. CLEVER mother of mine! Cheapest dessert, happiest children. Each slice counts for a “career” in the rhyme, so you hopefully had the right amount of slices, or you would give them to siblings to avoid being a beggar man. Or ironically, beg for slices from them to get to doctor or lawyer. Call it olden day diagnostic testing / occupational therapy. Much cheaper and easier than today. And I would know. I have a child who is 18 and embarking on the rest of his life, and a 15 year old who is deciding what subjects to do next year, and thus determine his life’s outcome. At least that’s how seriously it’s put across by the schools here. There’s even thunder and lightning whenever they have their special assemblies to talk about it. The level of decisions in our lives recently are way more intense than what I experienced over my childhood banana custard.
Joshua is lawyer, leader, jumper, reader,
Trainer, teacher, business man, grad.
Advocate, business man, bloody good lad.
Sorry, sometimes I can’t help myself.
His job shadowing in Grade 11 last year was with a wealth management company as he was leaning towards business something or other. He loved his time there, and they all loved him. Earlier this year, he went to a school to job shadow for a day, as he enjoys mentoring young people and so was considering teaching, and he loved it there, and they all loved him. Then Heath met a dude at the gym who is a junior lawyer, and he offered to have Joshua tag along to court, and see what they do, as Joshua’s main consideration was Law as he loves to read and argue. And he loved it! And would you believe it, they loved him! This however, does not narrow our decision making down, as he loves everything (and everybody loves him), and would actually be pretty good at everything. So…results. At the end of Grade 11, one year before graduation, students apply to Universities with their end of year results. One year of Core Maths nearly killed Joshua, despite extra lessons, as he did not have the foundation from Grade 8 to 10. Core, by the way, stands for Completely Obscure Reasoning & Evaluating 😉
When we immigrated, we were not advised that there was also Maths Lit. as an option. (Lit. stands for Legit Initial Theories. No- obviously it’s Literacy, but it’s much easier, and more relevant to everyday life.) So Josh has persevered, and tried to get his Maths results to Uni application level. Anyway, he applied with his Grade 11 results to Stellenbosch Uni, accompanied by a very informative and persuasive letter from us detailing the background of our immigration, the challenges of a new curriculum and school system. I tell you, it was like a back-story from America’s Got Talent; you would truly weep. But he got his first rejection. He was very very sad, and wandered about the house for a while. I had Christian radio on at the time, and he would come into the kitchen, hear a song about how God’s got you / He won’t let you down / trust in Him; and he would cry on my shoulder and go out again, poor thing.
He has since been accepted for the 4 year teaching program at a group of schools in the Southern suburbs, about 1 ½ hours drive away, where he would get a teaching degree through UNISA online, and teach at the same time. Then he can probably tag on a Law degree at the end, if he still feels like arguing with everybody. It’s an awesome opportunity. The application is in at UNISA, and that was a process in itself. Joshua was using my computer to do the application, Aiden was lying on the bed. It was a comedy half-hour.
Joshua, reading the questions out aloud: Occupation? Aiden: Servant! Slave!
Joshua: Are you a prisoner? Peals of laughter.
Joshua: Do you have a twin sibling? They look at each other and burst out laughing. I can’t even tell you what they were thinking, but that’s a dangerous question.
So the application’s in, now finding accommodation down there, teaching the child to shop, cook, budget and survive are all a work in progress.
Aiden needs to job shadow Bear Grylls, excluding the drinking his own pee. Or a pilot. And maybe engineering. He really wants to be FBI, with a gun. And perps to catch, but anyway. And then his diagnostic tests came back with a surprisingly high ARTISTIC bent, completely unrecognised by his parents. What? Who is this child? Here, have some banana custard, for goodness’ sake. AND he would like to get through school without having to learn too much, because it’s tiring, so he’s avoiding the high content subjects like Geography and History. And he gets queasy at blood/dissection/bodies, so he’s avoiding the Sciences. And he’s exempt from Afrikaans (as he joined SA schooling in Grade 7), so he has to choose an extra subject as an alternative. Problem is, this child is naturally smart, and the second problem is, this naturally smart child hates making decisions. So we have had many long quiet moments in our discussions with him where we look at all the options together, and then he has to respond, and Heath and I are screaming in our heads, “Physics! Just say Physics! Then History!” And Aiden is probably screaming in his head, “Just say I don’t have to decide, I can work the land and live off that! No more decisions, please!”
But we got there, and peacefully too. Aiden has to work hard at his Maths until the end of the year- yes, Core Maths- and then his considerations are open for Pilot, Engineery-type things, and if he emigrates to America, he’ll be a cop. Thanks, Voight.
Aiden is rider, joller*, gamer, baller,
Comedian, DJ, outdoor thriver.
Engineer, hiker, airplane driver.
*joller (jaw-ler…see, it does rhyme now) n- a person who enjoys himself or herself
But in all this of course, we hear the scriptures ringing through our heads that we’ve heard quoted over and over again, but it becomes very real when you need your child to now grasp them. Panic. Then you realise, they’re not really your kids, they’re God’s, and He’s got some promises lined up for them that keep them safe. Peace. But what if they DON’T hear Him, and they choose the wrong path? Panic. He works everything out for their good, because they love Him, and they’re called according to His purpose. Peace. And that’s what goes on in my head, times a thousand. It’s like a court of law. My panic being defended by God’s promises. I’ve just got to learn to shut up and surrender, and trust. My mind can be the loudest thing sometimes. But it’s no longer up to me. It’s up to them to find their own faith, which leads them to their own path, which will bring their own mistakes, challenges, lessons and so… growth. And hopefully in all that, God will be glorified in their lives, because that’s what it’s really about.
There is an old song by Mark Harris, called Find Your Wings. It’s a great song, with some great lyrics:
It’s only for a moment you are mine to hold
The plans that heaven has for you
Will all too soon unfold
So many different prayers I’ll pray
For all that you might do
But most of all I’ll want to know
You’re walking in the truth…
I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things…
It’s not living if you don’t reach for the sky
I’ll have tears as you take off
But I’ll cheer as you fly
Aargh, seriously, that last paragraph chokes me up.
Note to self: Dessert day this week is banana custard.
May the lessons learned in the quiet or the chaos lead you closer to Him.
Lots of love,