A Child Spreading His or Her Wings

Author Trevor Nelmes

I am not young (fast approaching 60), but I still remember the phone call I took when I had gotten home after school that day, from a classmate whose 16th birthday it was. He had gotten home (about 3 miles from my house) to find his mother had packed his things and they were on the doorstep.

She was blunt with him. Get a job, now, or an offer of one starting after this semester, and pay rent, or don’t come back. He was due to take his examinations in a few weeks’ time, and had a school place sorted for next year in a very good school (as had I).

This was before many folks had cars, but moms were still stay at home moms. My mom and I drove over to pick him up and brought him back to our house. She then called my dad. He stopped by at my friend’s house and, by all accounts, had a furious argument with his parents. They would not relent.

My dad came home more than a little upset. He made some calls to colleagues early that evening and sorted my friend an apprentice position starting in September, with funded evening school at a local community college, and a temporary job for the June to August summer period.

My friend’s parents took him back that night. He lost out on an excellent school place, and the likely opportunity to go further. He moved out as soon as he was 18, old enough to get his own home. He has not spoken to his parents since. They have never seen his family, they were not invited to his wedding, and they have never met their grand children or great grand children.

I learnt a lesson that day, on my friend’s 16th birthday. Children are not a burden to be moulded into what we want them to be. They are to be loved and nurtured.


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