Friday, 15 October 2010

Academic Schmacademic

I've always believed you should try your hardest at school, work for your exams, go to college, work hard again, go to university and be as academic as you possibly can be. (I'm a bit more "do as I say, not as I do" than I care to face up to, but no matter). Of course, I want my son to be happy, well rounded and popular, but it would really please me no end if he was clever as well. I know that by the time he gets to university age, it will be compulsory for him to be in full time education until he's 43, and it will cost me £65,000 per year for the privilege but needs must when the competitive mummy drives.

Similarly, I've held a disregard for what I consider to be "soft" subjects at universities, not quite proper subjects - English, yes, History, yes, The Beatles, no, and a similar no to anything relating to Coronation Street. I see more and more schools offering vocational subjects, media studies and apprenticeships and I applaud them, I really do, but also part of me thinks "where are the proper subjects?" Why don't children have to remember things any more? Why don't they have to learn stuff by rote? Why don't they just do exams? Why don't they write on slates any more? (I jest, but not too much.)

And yet this week my entire belief system was turned on its head. When I couldn't turn the tap off, when I couldn't turn the water off, when I fetched one neighbour after another, when a neigbour turned the water off, when the same neighbour tried to fit a new tap, when the same neighbour smashed my wash basin in half, and when I viewed the wreckage of what had previously been a well functioning downstairs toilet, I caught myself thinking "I hope my son grows up to be a plumber".

Of course, he'll have done a degree first, and he'll be incredibly clever. And when he can explain to you why he's just smashed your wash basin very politely and possibly in 3 different languages while he gives you a brief history of plumbing through the ages, you'll know I was right all along.


  1. I still firmly believe it's great for kids to get a degree - it expands their horizons, etc. But two men I know have done incredibly well without one - in fact, they're doing better than many graduates I know! I'm totally with you on the practical thing, too. I wish we had a system like the US where they teach kids 'shop' - which I think is to do with cars, and stuff. Boy stuff. *shuffles feet*

  2. Ooh if they started shop, I think I'd be tempted to go back to school myself. And don't worry - I shuffle my feet too when it's boy stuff...

    Thx for coming!