GiftsCurrently feeling very proud of our Zenita. She has been selected with
one other kid from her class to do a two-day workshop for gifted
In some ways Zenita is overshadowed by my other two children. Zenella
is a complicated character, sensitive, occasionally tempestuous, with
a fine sense of justice that can easily be upset, leaving her sullen.
She wears her cleverness on her sleeve, by which I mean, she's the
kind of girl that you meet and think, oh that's an intelligent child.
Naughtyman is a one-off, devoted to making his own way, easily
distracted and unkeen on authority. Sometimes he can be disengaged
from the world because he doesn't see the point of what it demands of
Not that they aren't great kids. They are both gentle and loving,
generous and decent. I know we all think our kids are wonderful, but
mine really are.
But they both indulge in attention-seeking behaviour, and will
manipulate adults both to get that attention and to get what they
want. Not that that's a particular hardship: I mostly want them to get
what they want.
But Zenita seeks attention by aiming to please. She is a quiet, lovely
child, adored by her teachers, friendly, goodhearted and sharing. In a
word, she is pleasant, and we all know we live in a world where that
can be taken for granted.
Last year, she worked her grades up so that by year end they matched
Zenella's. She saw the fuss we made of Zenella's great grades, and
instead of playacting to gain the same attention, as some kids will,
she got them for herself. By any measure, that's a great achievement,
done the right way.
You don't get everything you want in life, and it's easy to forget
your blessings. But I know and never doubt that my children are an
enormous and unalloyed blessing in my life. I am not a great dad, and
I don't take any credit for their achievements, except that I let them
know I feel that and that I love them. It will always be my view that
all truly good things in life begin with being loved and if I do
nothing else, I will never let them feel that they are not.