Education is, people tell us, the magic bullet for curing all society’s ills. Given what my son seems to be learning, I’m not so sure.

My son, in key areas, is already better educated than I am. His reading and writing has come on in leaps and bounds. Last year it took him forever to write his name, and it looked like Strava tracking a cat. This year you can read what he writes, it actually looks pretty good. And he’s started reading to his baby brother, something which triggers so many parental emotions in me I can barely be in the same room without blubbing with happiness.

It’s not really what he’s learning from the teachers that causes me… consternation. It’s what he is learning from the real teachers. The real teachers are not the teachers. The real teachers are not even me and his mother. The real teachers are the other school kids.


“No! Don’t say it. I’ve told you. I don’t like it.”


“I… just don’t say it.”

Of course, as soon as my son knows that there is something he can say which causes me consternation, he wants nothing more than to say it repeatedly. It’s like giving him verbal bullets to shoot me with.

“Buuuu-”. “No!”. “Buuuut Snaaa-”. “Don’t! I will catapult you into the heart of the sun!”. “But Sna-”. “I do not like it! Do not say it!”

He grins at me. I layer threat upon threat. He continues grinning. I know he’s going to say it. “But Snack!” He cackles gleefully.

“Right! That’s it!”

“What? What’s wrong with But Snack?” He is crying with laughter now.

Truth is I don’t really know what’s wrong with it. I’m not well educated enough. And, by god, I never will be.

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