Claire Brine learns how Channel 4 is putting parents through the challenges of school
OK, CLASS! It’s time to continue the experiment of seeing how well a bunch of parents can adapt to life in a primary school classroom. Channel 4’s Class of Mum and Dad, in which a group of grown-ups from Bolton are attending the same school as their children, continues on Tuesday (24 April). And if previous episodes are anything to go by, the parents have got their work cut out.
Right from their first day in class 6M at Blackrod Primary School, the adults have been discovering that school isn’t a walk in the park.
As soon as teacher Mrs Mead showed her pupils to the classroom, she laid down the first rule that any jewellery other than a wristwatch was not part of the school uniform (cue sheepish glances among the parents).
And when the first task of the day was to complete a maths test aimed at ten and eleven-year-olds, legal secretary Julia ended up in tears.
‘I feel so stupid,’ she confided to the cameras.
Engineer Mark also felt hot under his (uniform) collar – but his problems came from outside the classroom. He explained that when he was at primary school, he ‘detested sports day with a passion’. Still, he signed up for the class race, hoping to set a positive example to his sons.
As the weeks have gone by, the parents have continued to find out that they could do better. Painter and decorator Jonny decided to push boundaries. Trying to show that he was too cool for school, he didn’t complete his homework and was sent to the head teacher’s office for a chat. Mr Dryburgh tried to set him back on the right path.
The good news for the grown-ups is that when they struggle, their children are on hand to help. The kids try to teach their parents some of the lessons they have learnt about life. And their outlook is often surprising.
‘It doesn’t matter what anyone looks like, just be yourself,’ said one pupil. Another offered: ‘As long as you make friends, that’s good.’
On or off-camera, it seems that children can teach adults a thing or two. At Blackrod Primary, they try to be kind to the people around them. They don’t want anyone to feel lonely. They understand that winning isn’t the most important thing. They want to do their best.
Perhaps these are some of the attitudes that Jesus had in mind when he urged his followers to become more childlike.
He said: ‘Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven’ (Matthew 18:3 New International Version).
To experience the peace, hope and joy that come from knowing our heavenly Father, we need to start seeing the world through the eyes of a child. We need to be straightforward. Excited by the creation around us. Willing to hand God our burdens, trusting that he can take care of us.
When we approach God with an open heart and are sorry for our mistakes and enthusiastic enough to try again, he welcomes us with outstretched arms.
He cares for us. He offers us forgiveness. He is waiting to guide us.
It all adds up.
The War Cry
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