'My kids go to a swanky private school, I'm so embarrassed'
MY kids go to private school.
A very expensive private school. Like seriously expensive.
They wear blazers and ties and long socks and OMG gaiters … well, I think they're gaiters? Those little elastic band things that hold your socks up right? Gaiters yes? Whatever they're called - they wear them.
They also wear black belts stamped with their school's name and enamel pins declaring they belong not only to this swank-looking school, but a specific 'house' within the school.
They're admonished harshly if their hair even threatens to brush their collars. But … back to the story - which is this.
My boys go to private school and I'm a wee bit embarrassed about it.
I was a public school kid through and through
I wore a blue sleeveless uniform and my hair however the hell I wanted to.
I ate sandwiches wrapped in greaseproof paper and if I was lucky, an apple and a slice of cake or a biscuit or two. I never, not even once, was given money to spend at the canteen.
There was a private school not too far away and my friends and I occasionally crossed paths with the kids who attended it.
When we did we exchanged glares and nasty looks combined with a muttered insult or two under our collective breath.
Why? Well private school kids were stuck-up wankers of course
We knew this deep in our bones. Knew it like we knew the sky was blue and our town had a better surf break than yours.
But unlike our knowledge of the sky which was based on being able to see it and our pride in our point break, which was measured regularly and was legitimately awesome, our thoughts on our private school kin were based on pretty much, well, nothing.
We didn't know any private school kids. Not really.
What we did know is the ones we saw from a distance didn't look or sound like us and therefore, weren't good people.
As an adult I can see just how stupid that attitude was
And I can also see just how stupid it is that occasionally I feel embarrassed about my own kids and their up-market uniforms and private school vibe.
And I'm not the only one who is looking at their uniforms and making a baseless judgement.
The truth is, I see you on the train
I see you in the shopping arcade. At the mall. I see you casting sideways glances at my beautiful boys and making assumptions.
I see you gritting your teeth and assuming they're rude and spoiled and overserviced. But know that I when I see you that at first I'm on your side. And that at first, my instinct is to also assume that private school kids are jerks who don't know how to behave well.
But the fact of the matter is, my boys are sweet-natured. They're generous of spirit and even at 12 and 14 they have a good handle on the premise that all people are equal and that money makes no difference when it comes to kindness, sense of humour, bravery, generosity or heart.
Given they know that it's about time I learned to do the same.
Without sounding rude, it's time for the rest of you grown-ups to do so too
A uniform indicates absolutely nothing. It didn't back then and it doesn't now. And if we want our kids to grasp that fact then we need to show them how.
This originally appeared on Kidspot and has been republished with permission.