Our Fourteen Children go to University!
Angela is the youngest of our fourteen children. Today she got her A level results, two A stars and two As and shares top of her year in Assumption Grammar, Ballynahinch, Northern Ireland. Angela is going to Edinburgh university to study Neuroscience. Now I can say all our fourteen children have succeeded in going on to university, two went to Aberdeen, Abertay Dundee, Edinburgh, Liverpool, L S E London, Oxford Brookes, Peterhouse Cambridge, three went to Queen’s Belfast, Strathclyde Glasgow, St Andrew’s, and Ulster University.
In Northern Ireland we have an excellent education system which is free up to the age of eighteen. Our children attended various schools, Coleraine Inst, Loreto College Coleraine, Dominican Portstewart, Coleraine High, St Patrick’s Downpatrick and Assumption, Ballynahinch. They achieved good results at A level. Thanks to all the teachers out there in all the schools our children attended. Thanks also to friends of our children and their parents who welcomed them into their homes, helped with lifts and encouraged them. Thanks also to the praying community we are in touch with at home and abroad. We would not have succeeded without you.
There is a song which goes “Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Let them be lawyers and doctors and such”, sung by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. My husband Brendan and I did not plan to have a big family. We were open to have children and God blessed us with fourteen! It would have be too daunting task if we had know beforehand. Each addition to the family fitted in and the other children helped with the younger ones. Our children, who have left university, work in various fields. We have a doctor, a lawyer, a midwife, community child nurse, an artist, a design engineer, managers in tourism and commerce and volunteers in the third world.
We laid down rules for our children and expected them to kept. They enjoyed school and flourished at reading, writing and arithmetic. Raising the younger half of the family has been a challenge as they have grown up in the world of computers and access to the internet. Knowledge has increased and we have access to it through the media giving our young people many choices. Brendan and I hope we have helped our children to make the right choices.
It was not always work and no play for our girls and boys. They were never alone and could easily play together. Our children were involved in various sports and music. I said, “You can attend as long as I do not have to give you a lift.” Thankfully they could walto the rugby, soccer or gaelic playing fields. Many trustworthy young men worked voluntarily as coaches in these sports. Some of my children liked music. They got a bus to orchestra practice or they could go rowing on the river nearby. Some American friends introduced us to skateboarding and rollerblading so our boys really enjoyed those activities. There was a swimming pool nearby where they all learned to swim.
When I was in India I saw how mothers had someone to help with their children, as well as extended family at hand. When I told our friends there, that Brendan and I worked with our children ourselves, they could not believe it. In India, ordinary people have servants for cleaning, cooking and helping with children. They do not have to be excessively rich either.
We are not perfect parents, our children will vouch for that. All children need to forgive parents and also I have learnt parents need to forgive their children. Brendan and I hope for the goodness of God in the land of the living. We have been through many troubles but God has been with us when we were weak. I am glad to be alive today to celebrate my daughter’s success.