This poem brought a little lump to my throat, but a big smile to my face when I found it recently:
WHOSE CHILD IS THIS?
“Whose child is this?” I asked one day
Seeing a little one out at play
“Mine”, said the parent with a tender smile
“Mine to keep a little while
To bathe his hands and comb his hair
To tell him what he is to wear
To prepare him that he may always be good
And each day do the things he should”
“Whose child is this?” I asked again
As the door opened and someone came in
“Mine”, said the teacher with the same tender smile
“Mine, to keep just for a little while
To teach him how to be gentle and kind
To train and direct his dear little mind
To help him live by every rule
And get the best he can from school”
“Whose child is this?” I ask once more
Just as the little one entered the door
“Ours” said the parent and the teacher as they smiled
And each took the hand of the little child
“Ours to love and train together
Ours this blessed task forever.”
The start of a new school term – a new year, and often a new phase in our children’s life – is a time for parents in particular to reflect on what school is for, and why we think it is important for our children to be educated. As parents we want the very best for our children, but this does not always make it easy for us to share their upbringing with others, and – ultimately – to allow them to leave our homes and make their own, independent path through life. For any parent who is finding it hard to think of their child growing up and moving a step closer to adulthood this autumn, then take heart from this anonymous poem. Our children will always need us to help guide them through the journey that lies ahead. They need their parents, their teachers, their friends, and with all of our help, they will be best placed to make the very most of their lives.
Our task as parents is to keep our children for a little while; our task as teachers is to keep them for a little while too; our task together is to enable them to live healthy, happy, fulfilled lives in which they will make a difference in the world around them. It is a lifelong role and an eternal relationship.
Take heart from this, this week.