Opinion with Matthew Munson: The end of half term and a stretching of independence

Matthew and Bryan

Half term is done, and school is back tomorrow. Bryan really enjoys school; I’m so glad he has a love of learning which means I’ve never had to push him to go to school.

I remember enjoying school myself but know that not everyone feels the same; Bryan sometimes tells me how some of his classmates feel about school, and it’s so sad that it’s not a positive experience for them. I never liked PE (sorry, Mr Grimes), and I struggled with maths, but other than that, the subjects were good enough to keep me engaged and wanting more.

I’ve found that I’ve learnt a lot from Bryan going to school; teaching methods are always evolving, and some things are different than thirty years ago when I went (Thirty years? I don’t know if I’m ready to cope with that time scale); there’s more technology in the classroom, and I’m glad that Bryan’s learning about it all – tech is embedded in all of our lives, at home and out in the wider world – so he needs to know about it, and how to use the internet safely.

Bryan now has a mobile phone, as he’s starting to stretch his independence; he might cross the road to our local shop every now and then, for example, and having his phone with him gives him and me that extra peace of mind as he starts to stretch his confidence and his ability to look for risks.

I am fascinated by Bryan’s personality; he is kind and loving and interesting. He is really working out his likes and dislikes and finding out how to communicate them as well as his emotions. I have always wanted to really help him understand how to respond to what he’s feeling, especially if he’s responding to someone saying “no” – that can, of course, be hard to hear! He is my son and I love him: it’s a privilege to be able to guide him on healthy ways of dealing with his emotions by setting boundaries and learning from my own mistakes! Being emotionally intelligent is something I really want for Bryan; it’s good to be curious about the world, but it’s also important to be curious about yourself.

We were really fortunate this weekend to spend some time with his siblings. It had been planned for a while, but then Storm Eunice came onto the scene and – despite moving Heaven and Earth to try and get to them – everything was against us. Thankfully, a Plan B was arranged in double quick time that allowed the three of them to spend a very precious afternoon together; it was amazing to see them enjoy each other’s company as they always do, and what a wonderful way to end the half term.

You know, if you had asked me when I was 20 (half of my life ago – gulp) if I could imagine ever being a father, I would have said, “No, definitely not.” It simply wasn’t in my future back then; but now, at 40, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life. Bryan will grow up and become more independent with time, but I will always be a dad – these years right now are always the ones I will look back on in years to come and think, “What a joy it was to be a parent to a child.” I couldn’t ever have imagined that in my twenties, but I’m so glad I can do it now. Bryan is a very precious young man, and I couldn’t be prouder.

1 Comment

  1. It is a privilege to be able to bring up another persons son and you are reaping the rewards doing this with Bryan. Being a legal family and a warm home with love and consistency you are holding Bryan’s life together. He is a happy and intelligent young man without too many worries. He knows you will be there waiting for him when he comes home. What more do you or he need? Keep doing what you are doing. For someone who is learning on the job, I think I can say that you are doing a damn good one.

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