Parents’ evening: The architect, the engineer and the wrecking ball

It seems like only five minutes since the start of the new school year but yesterday was parents’ evening once again.

Now this twice-yearly set of appointments doesn’t fill us with dread the way it does for some parents. Our kids are well-behaved at school – if only they were the same at home! – and strong academically. (All three of them won awards at the end of the last school year.) So the feedback we receive on all three of them is positively glowing. I am in no way going to complain about that – but it does make for a somewhat mundane evening as their teachers pour fulsome praise on them.

This does mean I get to reflect on the big picture rather than worrying about troublesome details, though.

In some ways our children are all quite similar. For instance, they all have a love of writing. I have no idea where the children of a blogger get that from …

In other ways, they are quite different. Isaac and Kara tend to find it easy to motivate themselves for anything. Toby, however, is more binary. He either throws himself into something he loves obsessively – such as his detailed map of France above (Dijon is the home of mustard, you know) – or he simply cannot be bothered and has to be cajoled kicking and screaming to grudgingly complete work to the most basic of levels.

Isaac is definitely the logical one of our three: calculating, deliberate, methodical. Toby is the creative one: bursting with ideas but sometimes flighty and lacking follow-through. Kara is a whirlwind of energy: she hurls herself headlong into anything without a moment’s hesitation or fear and wills the world to bow before her.

Or, to put it another way, Toby is the architect who will dream up a new building. Isaac is the engineer who will work out how to build it. And Kara is the wrecking ball who will demolish it.

They’re quite a combination, really.


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