Now being a Stepfather I am supposed to be a role model for two young people: a 12 year-old boy and a 15 year-old girl. Luckily for me (and them) they have fine parents already so I am just an add on.
It is going to be a bit tricky, I think, particularly where schoolwork is concerned.
Both children are very bright but like most kids at times lack application. So DL and Barry (her ex-husband) are busy cracking the whip and I am there to help in any way that I can. Or can I?
When I arrived at my Father’s house he handed me this:
"I was clearing out the attic the other day and found this," he said, giving me a bit of a look.
I make no secret of the fact that I was a rather poor student and spent far too much time looking out of the window and not enough time hitting the books.
However, upon opening the report from my time at school between the ages of 8 and 13, the full horror of what I did (or didn't do) and the impact it had on my poor long-suffering parents became horribly apparent.
Autumn Term, 1964. Weight 3st-11. Height 3ft 11
English: Writing very weak indeed. Reading and spelling quite good
History: Fairly good. Written work spoilt by untidy writing.
Headmaster’s report: Writing will upset his chances later on if he doesn't correct his faults now before his hand is formed. Cheerful and stands up for himself very well.
Dad: This seems a pretty good start to us. We agree about his writing and he has had some writing practice in the holiday.
Things, however, didn't carry on like this once the original excitement of a new school wore off!
Summer Term, 1965
English: Writing terrible!
Divinity: Very good
Headmaster: He really needs someone to laugh at him, as I think this would do him good.
Dad: We both think that his first year has done him a great deal of good.
Autumn Term, 1965. Weight 4 st Height 4 ft
English: An average performer. His composition work is rather too far fetched, often silly.
Divinity Exam result 76% Good.
Headmaster: Lazy, uncooperative and stubborn, both in class and socially.
Dad: This is dreadful. I think he is ashamed of his performance this term. Steps will be taken during the holidays to improve his writing and to send him back in a better frame of mind next term.
English: Disappointing. Works just hard enough to avoid trouble.
Divinity: Good. exam mark 65%
Headmaster: Glib and eager to find excuses.
Dad: It is quite obvious he will only work under pressure. Can this be increased at all?
Autumn Term, 1966. Weight 4st 8lbs. Height 4ft 3"
English: Started well but his work has gone off recently. Rather skimped and carelessly done.
Divinity: Exam mark 52%. Fairly good.
Headmaster: A good term in which he has responded well. We are trying him in 3A next term.
Dad: We are adopting the attitude that he has merely regained lost ground and must keep up his efforts in 3A.
So how did the next couple of years pan out? Did I ever make anything of myself and what career options are open to a terminally lazy boy with appalling handwriting? The only subject he seems to excel in is…er…Divinity!