Recently I met up with someone I only see every few months and we had one of those gloriously happy, chatty lunches out. We exchanged the usual gossip about our offspring, and these days, their offspring. It’s fascinating to catch up with these bits of news – watching the youngsters going their separate ways, this one doing rather well after a sluggish few years at school and the one not doing as brilliantly as hoped . . . . The children all went to the same village schools and then the best upper school available. So their education started the same. One particular candidate for gossip really went off the rails for a few years but with the help of e-learning and much encouragement from a mentor, has really turned his life around and can see light at the end of his tunnel. He’s training to be an accountant and is taking part in a company online training programme that tracks his ‘homework’. He’s not actually employed but is being sponsored by them and if he completes all the course plus some additional of his own volition, it looks as though he’s got a very good chance to secure a post. It goes to show that for all the parental planning and organising during those latter years, the youngster themselves governs their own destiny!