It’s a delicate day for everyone. Parents have to deal with stressed children and young students have to deal with their parents and teachers, their results and their peers’ results.
It’s inevitably an emotional rollercoaster for them and however good their results may be, they now also have to deal with moving into a new phase of their lives. Some may be full of anxiety about what the future holds. Going to the university or college of choice can be intimidating and a past success can represent a burden in that it is a standard to be maintained in the future.
A minority of students and parents may even not feel as though celebrations are in order if things didn’t go their way after all the hard work. However, that, ultimately, is the point: the hard work. It is all too easy as a parent to forget that whatever ‘Big Thursday’ brings, it was nothing but sheer hard work which got us all there. It is that work, as much as the actual results, which should be rewarded.
Successful and less than successful students alike should never feel that people’s love for them is in any way conditional on exam performance. They painfully slogged their way to this point in the year, however it went, and it is that slog which should be rewarded. Whether your darling daughter or darling son is ecstatic, ecstatic-yet-terrified about future steps soon to be taken, or distraught about their grades, about leaving school, leaving home, saying goodbye to friends or a mixture of all of the above, what matters is simply that they have worked and they have worked damn hard.
Whatever words are said, whatever gifts or rewards bestowed, whatever spin the media chooses to put on this year’s outcomes, what matters now is what will always matter, sheer hard work. Whatever the mood in the home around this time, that is what should be celebrated. And that is what we as tutors, parents and carers all need to be communicating to young people right now. Celebrating their past effort is the best support we can give for whatever their future may entail.