My kids finished their exams, A-levels, and GCSEs respectively a couple of weeks ago. We went on holiday, and they had proms as soon as we returned.

I was so excited for them, remembering the long summers of my youth, but they’re both struggling this week and they tell me their friends feel the same.

Setting aside all the challenges in education for a moment, school has given them structure. Rules and regulations to kick against, walls to bounce off. Achieving has been a source of pride and external validation. I can see them searching to replace these things.

My son, Will has been desperately looking for a job, not for the money he tells me but for a sense of purpose. I asked him if on any morning since exams, he’s congratulated himself for the great work he’s done and told himself he deserves to enjoy this day in whatever way he chooses. No, he hasn’t.

I can rail at society and the constant messages to keep going, onto the next thing, not to sit on your laurels or you’ll get left behind. But I also must admit that they learned certain patterns of behaviour from me. I’ve got an opportunity this summer to give them different messages. To allow them to celebrate their achievements BEFORE results day. To allow them to bask, to drift and dream.

Last night I read Will a very similar post from my lovely friend Dr Susanna Petche. I had the hook that Will and Susanna’s daughter were born on the very same day. He listened politely and I expected the usual “thanks” (‘now please leave my room,’ implied)

He said, “That actually really helps, can you send it to me Mum?”

I’ll leave you with the last paragraph of Susanna’s post.

“When we slow down and allow ourselves to actually feel endings, to allow space to think and notice, we can move through it at our pace. And then we usually end up being much more excited about our future, because rather than being pushed there, we have arrived there.”

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