Friday, 3 April 2009


'Neither a borrower nor a lender be' (Hamlet) is OK in principle until you stop to consider that just about everything in life is on loan. I used to feel that I owned the homes I used to live in but in retrospect, I was only borrowing the buildings on those little plots of land and now someone else has them. Like library books, I learned something from each place I 'borrowed'. This meant that I was even more comfortable in the next one.

It's the same with people. I was luckier than some because I borrowed my parents for a longer time than many people get to. Even so, I hadn't finished reading them when they were returned to the spiritual library. How I would love to get them back for a second loan.

As Gibran said, your children are not your children. They are loaned to us and if we are sensible we treat them as we would a first edition of Shakespeare. Remember to learn from them as well as teach them.

When I taught kids with learning difficulties, autism, cerebral palsy etc., I came to realise that in general, they were fascinating characters stuck in damaged bodies. As their teacher, they taught me a lot.

I also worked with their parents - I was the professional but they were the experts. After the shock of discovering that the child they had awaited with such hopes and expectations was handicapped, I like to think that I helped them to realise that even if the cover was damaged, they still had a first edition. All they needed to do was to start turning the pages.

1 comment:

  1. what a wonderful piece of writing thank you for restoring some of my faith in humanity x