The quiet house today, Sunday, has made me appreciate how busy everyone in our family keep themselves. This year is a big year for each of my four children, and I salute their energy, their determination and their sticking power. Each has thrown him or herself whole heartedly into the challenges facing them this year, at university, on a gap year, at high school and at school.
We can encourage, support and boost them but only they can decide to buckle down and go for it.
I am grateful to have a husband who sets them a fine example, and that he and I both come from families who taught us the importance of close family support and love.
I've said it here before, but I feel for this coming generation. They face a future that can look bleak and discouraging. They are often criticised, they need more praise, more optimism, more good reasons to hope and plan and hold onto ambitions.
Let us never forget the importance of a pat on the back and a friendly word of encouragement.