Rob Campbell on A levels
We came out of the A-level results quite well. We got the grades. When I say we, it was my daughter who actually took them but she was using her parents' genes so the grades are as much ours as hers.
We're now thinking about university, careers etc, and will keep you posted. The only thing to remember is for us to ask her about it from time to time!
I hope, in reality, I did not behave that badly, but I overheard some parents who did. The temptation is there, just as your children hit one of those milestones that happen around 18, whether driving tests or A levels or joining the Army, to cling on to the idea that their successes are all down to you.
In our case is it gets quite competitive as we clay claim to anything good done by our teenager who is of course just a vessel filled by our DNA and our expert parenting.
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I claim credit, for example, for the fact that our daughter can spell, but concede that she gets her ability to draw from my wife. That's one-all, then, although I argue that spelling's more useful than drawing so should have two points. No chance.
Next, she's better at languages than either of us, which is a problem, but I quickly recall an aunt on my side who speaks Armenian (OK, she is Armenian but I still think it's clever) so that's in my genes and I'm two-one up now.
Our girl can hand work in on time but we can't, so there's another problem until my wife comes up with a great grandfather who once worked in a clock factory – timekeeping is in her bloodline, so it's two-all.
It gets desperate: I claim her ears and my wife her nose; her hair is from one of my cousins and her toes from the wife's dad. Her part-time job serving tea is attributed to my mum who did that once in 1948, and the fact that she likes fruit is because my dad did, so that's two to my genes and I'm in the lead again. She gets a taste for bacon from the wife's side, but it's not one of your five a day so doesn't have any points.
The only thing we don't do is to draw up a list of whose to blame for any of her failings and negative characteristics. But we're not alone in being so selective. I don't recall anyone going out of their way to say oh, yes, he failed maths again and he gets that from me because I'm an idiot. I made this child, we say, but only the good bits.
If that was me last week – if I, in public, fought for the limelight which should have been my child' – then I'm sorry. But don't blame me – I had an uncle who was a terrible show-off and I've clearly inherited it, so it's all his fault.