Round robins of the unbearably gifted
Monday 29 December 1997
You would tell me, wouldn't you, if this column was starting to sound like a round robin? Every Christmas my parents receive one from the daughter of an old friend and it never fails to throw us all in to a parenting inadequacy crisis. I could simply reprint it here and you would think I was doing a rather brilliant parody of the genre, but then I would feel morally obliged to give Mother Robin the fee which she would doubtless spend on adding to her offspring's talents, making next year's newsletter even more difficult to stomach. So instead I offer you unedited highlights and the chance to enter a competition. A year's supply of tap dancing, choral singing and floral artistry lessons for the oldest child of the reader who can rival this with a round robin from a more highly achieving family.
Let's begin with the youngest child, who has just started secondary school. "He enjoys most sports, especially tennis. However, his singing and music making continue to dominate his after school schedule, adding trombone to keyboard earlier this year (very successful source of sisterly irritation!) He had a great time with the County Boys Choir in July in a joint concert with a visiting Eisteddfod choir ... He has also just had a second audition for the National Youth Music Theatre in London - all great experience". (The seemingly casual asides in round robins are an art in themselves - without being too explicit, and thereby bringing down the unassailably positive tone, you can read in them the down side of Perfect Family Life. In other words: young Robert didn't get in. Yesss!)
But onwards and upwards. After a long list of the family's theatrical triumphs we get to middle daughter's accomplishments. "Clare, like Andrea, sings in two school choirs and church choir. She also plays her clarinet in the school band and youth music group. She likes gym, especially trampolining, and tennis and swimming." Andrea, meanwhile, "probably has too many interests and persuading her to cut back in her GCSE year is proving equally challenging. She has become a school prefect this year and been awarded her choir colours. Her great relaxation is the piano and she hopes to do Grade 6 at Easter. She is taking 10 GCSEs..."
I shall spare you the husband's triumphs but suffice to say (in round robin speak that means I'm going to tell you anyway), they involve hot air ballooning, scaling Monroes and chairmanship of the local tennis club...
Entries, please, to Unbearably Talented Robins Competition, The judges - me and my nephew Joel who "probably has too few interests" (his mother found persuading him to get out of bed in his GCSE year particularly challenging) - reserve the right to withhold the prize in the interests of your child's development.
Life & Style blogs
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
- 1 End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
- 2 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 3 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...
£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...