As my boy set off for his new school in his new blazer he looked so smart and handsome and grown up. I wondered what impression he would make.
Because first impressions count. And I remember from my own secondary school (and university) days – those first impressions really are first impressions and they start on day 1.
I had an uncomfortable first year of secondary school, before gradually finding my feet through years 8 and 9 (although we didn’t call it that then) and feeling truly happen from year 10 onwards. For the whole of my first year I was in a mixed-ability group for all my lessons and I was the cleverest by a considerable margin. Two of the ‘naughty boys’ took a dislike to me. A dominant group of girls also took a dislike to me after I shouted at them when I’d heard them bitching – they’d said, and I remember it to this day, ‘She thinks we like her and we don’t’. Well I didn’t think that because I’m not stupid. And I told them so. Possibly not my best move. Here is a list of the ‘crimes’ I committed in those early days at secondary school:
- Having spots
- Having short hair and looking like a boy
- Being clever
- Being ‘posh’ ie my dad was a solicitor
- Standing up to girls bitching about me
I don’t want my boy to go through this. I want to steer him in the right direction away from all this nonsense.
I’m glad he’s had his hair cut. His hair made him stand out. Some people thought he looked cool. But he may have come across people at secondary school who took a dislike to it. I’m glad we will never have to find out. With his shorter hair, he fits in.
My boy has a slightly geeky way about him, but he doesn’t look a geek. I don’t want him to look a geek because I don’t want him to get picked on. If he chooses to look a geek later on, that’s his decision. I want people to look at him and see a beautiful, friendly boy. A boy they want to be friends with.
He’s lucky that he’s been put in a class with four boys from his old school – one of his friends, one of his best friends and two others. (When I started secondary school I was in a class with the two people I hated most from my primary school, which didn’t give me an easy start.) That’s great, but I don’t want him to be tied to them by history for the next five or seven years. I want him to keep his old friends and make some new ones too.
So I bought him a cool school bag. Superdry. Yeah I know, what a waste of money on an 11 year old kid. But I want him to make the right impression. It’s not just that I want the cool kids to like him, it’s that I don’t want anyone to actively DISLIKE him. Because having someone actively dislike you at secondary school is not easy.
So with his own beautiful face and his cool bag, I am setting him on the right path.
It’s a delicate line he (and I) has to tread. Cool kids are often just a stone’s throw from naughty kids. I don’t want his cool bag to set him out as one of THOSE cool kids. I want him to make friends that are on the geeky-nice-cool continuum, not on the cool-naughty continuum.
What do you think? Am I over-thinking this? Am I doing the right thing for him?