Faith Focus: Value your teenagers – and yourself

John Truscott.

John Truscott. - Credit: Archant

We’ve had results for A-Levels and BTec. This week it’s GCSEs. There will be young people in your St Albans or Harpenden street waiting in nervous stress.

This year I enter my third generation of exam result anxiety.

First it was my own grades. I still have the occasional nightmare of turning over the exam paper in a school hall and realising I have not revised anything that I now need.

Then it was my own children. That was almost worse. As a natural controller I had no power to change the situation.

This week my oldest grandchild receives his GCSE results and so I shall be back into the annual tension for the next few years.

Except that this year is different.

How do you assess academic ability when there is no official test of it?

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Not only is there the issue of whether exams are a fair way to mark anyone, there is this year the added layer of uncertainty based on whether it should be teacher assessment, school performance or now, it seems, mocks.

The cries of “unfair” ring out from teachers, parents and students. So politicians make hasty, unthought-through decisions about issues they know little about and which will impact our teens for the rest of their lives.

How do you value a human being?

We too easily do this by status, by salary, by property and possessions. All of which puts most of us in Hertfordshire well ahead of migrants crossing the Channel.

Or do you measure it by exam results and CVs? These things measure something, but is it human value?

Jesus Christ died for all. Born in squalid conditions, with rumours of illegitimacy, he mixed with despised people.

Most of those who accepted him in his time on earth would have struggled with GCSEs. It was, on the whole, the privileged academics who opposed him.

He values us for who we are. He died for us, whoever we are.

Perhaps we need to learn to value our teens, and ourselves, in the same way.

John Truscott has lived in St Albans for over 40 years and is a member of Christ Church, High Oaks. He works nationally as a church consultant and trainer specialising in organisation.