Saturday, 20 June 2015


There is no escaping the truth that Oisin is 14. And what kind of 14 year old is he? Despite pur best efforts he has turned out to be incredibly caring and kind, very thoughtful, loves to pun and is also highly dependable and very able. Oisin is not afraid of life. He never is afraid to try anything. I'll give that a go he will say and if it works it works and if it doesn't and he wants to work at it well... there you go.

Since he was 7 he has been at circus school. Oisin can get his body to do things which most people cannot. He is getting a set of fire clubs for his 14th birthday. I thought dad said you could not. Well he said, i did 300 catches without dropping, so i am getting those clubs. Great Oisin. Do you remember when you first started doing clubs and you were so bad at it? And then you worked at it and now look at you. I know, he said, i don't understand how people cannot do clubs, he said. It is so simple.

We had dinner at the Dirty Duck, as a family. It was a beautiful evening in Holywood. The skies were darkening and the boys went out to run on the breakers. They can actually run on them. The boulders. I think this may be another side effect of circus school.

They are completely comfortable with the outdoors. It is funny, you know. Parents place so much store by how well their children perform in school and if they win awards and certificates. For me, i am happy when they do great work in school, that they have tried their best, that they get their music exams, and all of that, but nothing makes me happier than when i see them playing and being comfortable in their bodies, comfortable outside, messing around in the great outdoors, running on boulders - being free.

I know also that parents are so worried about their children's literacy and numeracy. So i think we have to ask ourselves, how good do they have to be at reading, writing and maths. Now that i am teacher, this is my honest opinion on this. By 12 children will read and write and spell tolerably well. If i do my job well. I think so anyway. Half of my class can already read and write quite well - ok i have a very small class - and the other half are in stages. For those who have managed to understand literacy, really, all that happens now is that the sentences get longer and the words more complicated. And that's about it. For the others, we are still learning, and learning hard.

Maths is something which we will grow with. The foundations have been laid and logic will now come into it more. I have every confidence that my class will be ok, if not really great, in maths. It is an adventure which i am so excited about taking with them.

After this, there is what the child wants to do. Sometimes i wonder if we as adults remember how we felt as children. I remember because i have been allowed or i also made sure that i followed that call from childhood all my life. OK i did not become a first rate novelist, or a photojournalist, but I blog and take photographs and in many ways, i think my life is pretty rich. But i remember that wish to see other countries, travel, to just face the sea and feel the wind in my hair... i remember that. That call from childhood. All children have this calling. And it is really important that it resounds through our lives because i think this is what keeps us alive, this is what helps us embrace life. To overcome moments of despair, recover from disappointment, fall in love, be in love - to love no matter what.

The world is not a place to be conquered, but to be loved, nourished, cherished, lived in and lived with. It is not a place to be smothered and abused. To be exploited and enslaved. It is not a trophy to be put on display.

To Oisin and Ghin... i always think - i must do my best with them now because one day, they will be grown up and then they are their own. And when this happens, whatever befalls them, i can at least say, i did my best. I tried my best with them. And that is all that matters.

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