The changing role of a parent

Issue 36: 15/9/2023 International Stream From the Principal

I hope that you can forgive some indulgence on my part this week. As proud parents, this summer we celebrated two graduations as both my sons graduated from UK universities after persevering through the COVID years and following on from my daughter completing her degree in 2020. This now means that all three of my children have graduated, and two of them have started on career paths: one to be a lawyer and the other a civil engineer. All three are proud graduates of FIS and retain many friendships with fellow FIS alumni across the globe. These links have been invaluable in helping them settle into their new lives, knowing that their peers are going through the same experiences but just in different parts of the world.

"So what's it like now that you have the house to yourself, and no longer have to fork out thousands of dollars each year to not only pay for their education, but also their accommodation, upkeep and 4 return flights a year back to HK?", I hear you ask. "It must be pretty liberating, no?" Well, yes: to an extent. Halving the cost of going out for meals is nice, for sure. We are very proud of the way all three of them battled through some fairly adverse times to complete their university courses, and know that they have all the tools from that experience to make a life for themselves wherever they may be. So our parenting role changes, and we are still here (be it at a distance) to hold their hands through the next stage of the journey. Should I have driving lessons? Is a credit card a good idea? The support continues, it's just the topics that change.

Over the past fortnight we have had a myriad of ex-FIS students coming into school to visit ahead of their return to university. They enjoy meeting up with their former teachers and staff who helped them to get where they are, sharing stories of their journeys so far and sharing their aspirations for the next stage post graduation. There will be over 100 very successful and happy 2023 graduates from FIS making that trip for the first time this month to great institutions like Ecole Polytechnique & Sciences Po in France, McGill in Canada, Berkeley, NYU and Washington state in the USA, UCL, St Andrews and Bath in the UK as well as some staying in Hong Kong and attending HKU/HKUST. I hope their parents can embrace the changing role they will encounter as their children grow into confident young adults.

Mark Williams
Secondary Principal (International Stream)