As you may have seen from my Facebook page, Ben is being given a couple of awards at the school Prize Day (to be held at the end of the month). One is the 'Extended Project Qualification Prize'. Okay, that's brilliant. But the other is the 'D---- H----- Prize for Overcoming Physical Difficulties'. Now, I can't quite decide whether that's really great or whether it's just kind of weird...
I know the school means well. It's always positioned itself as a school that nurtures 'the whole child', not just focusing on academic achievement. It encourages and rewards a whole load of other things, too, one of which - in the case of this award - is obviously the courage and determination to overcome physical difficulties.
If he'd fought to overcome something like cancer or was disabled or something, then fine, that would be OK.
But there's still a shedload of stigma attached to eating disorders (and, anyway, you and I know anorexia isn't a 'physical difficulty'...)
Yes I know that pretty much all his peers know he has had anorexia, but the rest of the school probably don't. Nor the parents.
Which begs the question: will people ask him or us what the 'physical difficulties' he's overcome actually are?
Not that I mind at all. But I'm not sure how Ben thinks about it. He hasn't said, and I haven't raised the question. The reason I haven't raised the question is that, if Ben's completely cool about it, I don't want to put any negative thoughts into his head.
So I can't decide whether it's really great that his efforts are being publicly recognised - or really crass.
I know they mean well. They mean very well. In fact, over the past 2.5 years, the school has bent over backwards to help Ben and me in every possible way they can. Last week I took a big bunch of flowers to the Assistant Head for all the hard work she's done, going way beyond the call of duty.
And it's not just her. All the senior staff have been concerned. The other day I bumped into the Deputy Head who spent quite a long time chatting to me about Ben. I also touched base with the school nurse the other week who has been brilliant over the past couple of years. Plus, Ben's subject tutors have also been superb.
Maybe I should be giving them an award for the 'Most Caring Secondary School'!
Just not sure about this particular award...