Thursday, 21 October 2010

Silk Purse from a Sow's Ear

Continuing the family saga catch-up.... 29th January 2008

Forgive my obsession with idioms for the moment: I have become possessed with the need to keep up the colourful traditions of my youth - both my parents peppered their conversations with idiom and I am sad to see them go in today’s parlance, other than in the speeches of black politicians here who want to show off the fact that they have been to good schools. One of my parents’ favourites - they both often accused each other and also my brother and myself - of “the pot calling the kettle black!” - which also typifies the type of daily interaction in our nuclear family …. Anyway, the silk purse at the moment in question is the desired result of a good mark in Matric Maths Higher Grade. The sow’s ear in question: small son’s lack of ability. Like many parents, we have tortured ourselves in today’s South Africa with the thought: “should we or shouldn’t we have sent him to a Private School”? We didn’t and have had woeful Matric results. His (much) older brother and sister, attending the same government High school, had much better results. Bottom line: our thinking was “government schools were good enough for us, they will do for our children.” But the standard of teaching has definitely declined. Now, everyone says, “you should have sent him to a cram college - they guarantee good results.” According to my daughter, her husband did badly in Matric, redid it at one of these and got As in everything! (She is still in love you understand, so I cannot vouch for the veracity of this). Still. My husband tells me that at his work, all the (ambitious) coloured and black workers send their children to private schools - and they, as parents are only earning R6000 (about $750) a month! So important is a good education to them. I am humbled. We now feel we have done the right thing (if a little late,) and our son is now repeating 3 subjects, enrolled at Abbotts College for 17 Saturday lessons at R1350 (about $168)per subject. That’s it. We can’t do more. Now its up to him. Of course, it’s entirely possible that we’ve made him take the wrong subjects. Uncomfortable thought. Square peg in a round hole?

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