Friday, January 20, 2012

Have you read this? Alright, i am a little delayed, i've only had the time now to keep up with all the other blogs.

I agree with her every point, paragraph, words- right down to her punctuation marks! I may not be a parent of a school going kid YET, but i can certainly imagine the pain of being one! The point she raised that it closest to my heart is this:

"The backlash is that our children’s self-worth and perception have become intrinsically linked to their academic grades. Teachers, peers and possibly parents judge the value of students according to their academic ability. I know children whose self-esteem is low simply because they don’t do as well in school as their classmates. In the “branded” schools, it also breeds elitism because these students deem others less academically-inclined as somehow inferior"

It's true, the way us parents are driving our kids to achieve academic success may be damaging to their self esteem. The danger is that they link their self worth directly to their academic results. So children who don't score well, or even very well for that matter, may think they are value-less when they don't meet up to academic expectations. But the truth this, we are not our academic success, heck, our jobs don't make us, us!

Coincidentally, the book that i recently shared, made the same point. The 'i will reward you with this if you score well for the test or if you win the race' type of parenting sends a very subtle yet deep message to our children. That is, mummy and daddy values, appeciates you only when you top your studies or competition. Of course, as parents we know in our hearts that we will always love our child despite, but our children may not know that unless we show and tell them. I like what the author did. Once, he gave a set of ice-cream vouchers to his son's baseball (i think) coach. He specifically told the coach treat the team ice cream NOT on their first win but on their first lost. He wanted the kids to know that even when they loose a game, when they failed, they are still being appreciated and valued. How often do we do that?

Long before i read the book and the blog, i asked my then 3 year old son this. When mummy is angry at you, does mummy still love you? Interestingly, he said 'no'. I wasn't expecting a different answer but still i was hit by how a mere 3 year old can make that deduction! What more about school going children? What kind of conclusions will they draw on seeing their parents disappointed, angry faces when they fail to achieve academic expectations?

Straight away, i corrected him. I told him that even when mummy is mad at you, mummy still loves you. These days, i make a more direct point. I specifically tell him even when he can't say add or spell or anything that he feels like he can't do, i still love him. For this is what i want him to know, even if he fails in something, or do well in something, i love him regardless. I want him to feel secure in our love for him, and valued no matter what.

That is why when it comes to academics especially i do my best not show my impatience, annoyance or disappointment when he cannot seem to get an answer or concept correct (though it is hard to do at times). I do not want him to feel less of himself just because he fails at something be it academics or not. Instead, i take the chance to remind him that it is okay mummy still loves you, we can try again later.

I do not want to fall into the trap of making my children feel their worth is in their studies nor do i want to blindly join the rat race. I told my husband that we should remind each other that it is not about sonshine's academic results. But it is his attitude towards a given task, responsibility or work-that's it. Its not the end but the process that counts.

I will always remember what that author did and have kept a mental note to myself. If the day comes when sonshine fails- be it a test or a competition, i'll go buy him (and myself) an ice-cream and tell him that even if he fails- mummy & daddy still love him!

1 comment:

  1. In my time (I'm sure it is still happening), you had to get high grades for all subjects before you get into express stream, followed by good O-Level results before you go to college, etc. Because we're Eurasians and we do not speak the language at home nor did our parents understand how important language played a part in determining which stream to go to, I failed Mandarin. I had an F in my PSLE and an F9 for O-levels but had excellent grades for everything else. As such, there was no where to go except head to Normal stream and then after O Levels, I didn't know where to go.

    I was lost.

    Today, many Eurasian parents who have been through what we have realised how important Mandarin is and how it really does affect your grades, though we do not speak the language at home. Whilst the government tries to promote mother tongue in the curriculum, Eurasians mother tongue is Kristang. Kristang is not even in the curriculum. Mandarin is not our mother tongue.

    Being brought up as Others, I feel that the government had failed miserably in the education system and made it so rigid (it's either my way or no way out) when I was in school in the 80s.

    ps. fyi, this is just my opinion. And I'd wish I was given an ice cream by my Mandarin teacher and who would have given us more encouragement instead of telling us Eurasians in school who did badly in Mandarin not to sit for Mandarin exams for our O-Levels, so as not to bring down the school's overall results. *fuming still*


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