In my last few weeks at school, I was ordered along with the rest of my peers to write an essay on the theme of “The British Commonwealth” for a competition.
I hated my school. I particularly hated my headmaster. I hated competitions. I had no opinion that the Commonwealth was exclusively a force for good. And I utterly detested being told what to write. So I spent my time in the library, like the others. I read stuff, I have no idea what. I made notes, apparently.
I did not write the essay.
I was called to the headmaster's office and threatened with all sorts of punishments. Then my tiny, ladylike mother asked for a meeting and unsheathed her claws. She pointed out the punishments would only damage the school's reputation. She said she could not encourage me to act against my conscience. We left, punishments not applied.
I left school with no words of goodwill from my headmaster. But I had a whole different perception of my mother.