This is the first guest post on my blog, and I have been hoping to get this person to break his silence on the blogosphere for some time.
It is none other than my dearest hubby, Keith. Keith has a knack for expressing situations alot better than I can, providing his personal insights. As a couple, we share many similar views in bringing up children, here’s his take on education on bringing up Kyle.
“Now cannot study, next time drive taxi lor…” When these words escape our lips, they are often dismissed as a corny remark along with a spate of nervous laughter. That reaction, of course, is natural. Now, do not get the wrong idea, being a taxi driver is a perfectly honest way to make a living and I personally have 2 family members belonging to that profession. However, in the context of this post, which parent can claim to envision marshalling a taxi to be the eventually choice of making a living for their child?
Photo from http://thecitizenobserver.wordpress.com/
“Mummy ~ Daddy, I score the highest in class!” Now, that is a statement we mentally envision our child saying one day, perhaps in front of audience consisting of family, friends or both, where we will then have an opportunity to avoid exploding with pride and exercise our self-control while we put on a straight face and respond modestly, probably mumbling something along the lines of keeping it up and not getting too complacent along the way….
Now come the questions I want to table. What are our expectations for our child? How successful do we envision helping our child to be? How do we plan on executing that vision? My personal opinion is strongly tied-in with an examination of this society we co-exist in, children are constantly being pressured to perform against an academic counter.
In the course of their schooling career, character building, health focus and mental balance (amongst other things) often play second fiddle to academic achievement. That is very understandable, after all, is it not untrue that getting a place in the primary school near home is no longer adequate. It is no longer just getting a place in school but also it is excruciatingly crucial to land a spot in a branded highly ranked primary school to give your child the best start in life possible. (not even going to start on the recent trend of branded pre and prep schools)
So, does the success my wife and I envision for our son, Kyle, primarily involve only programming the ability to beat down the competition in school into him? It is of course the desire of this parent that I would prefer my child to be astute in all aspects of his life. Unfortunately, in reality, we humans, though top of our food chain, have our limitations too. Not everyone can be a genius, a savant or a MP…
As parents, we frequently ponder what we should emphasize more of, how we can teach and guide him more effectively to succeed in life. Should we consider tuition, home-schooling, etc? We worry about how Kyle will grow up to handle an increasingly challenging world out there? Will he be adequately equipped? Are we guiding him correctly? So many more questions arise.
We then realize that we need only look at our own day to day lives to find the answer. As we face our own challenges, some seemingly insurmountable, we find that as long as we trust in God, we can survive even the meanest of situations thrown at us. So as the teachers of our child, Rachel and I have a rather laid-back style of teaching Kyle, preferring more to encourage his knowledge and dependence on God.
So what if this non-academic approach backfires? Rachel and I often get opportunities to observe Kyle’s successes and failures. There were times when we thanked God as he displayed intelligence, picking up pretty quickly on certain things, or the times when we exchange mortified looks as he struggled with basic homework (we have even discovered IQ tests being snuck in here and there). Unavoidably, we undoubtedly feel the apprehension that follows the realization that our child has his limitations in some areas.
However, compared to drilling Kyle academically, Rachel and I know that if we can instill in him trust God, he will then be much better equipped to manage difficult situations in his life down the road. As we concentrate on guiding his young walk with God, Rachel and I worry much less about how he stacks up against others in his age group but instead find joy in teaching him how to take his weaknesses and failures in his stride. Dependence on God and having a full spirit will counter any of the many bankruptcies life can throw at a person.
As Kyle grows too quickly day by day not unlike a mutant mushroom on steroids, we are fully aware that he may not end up being the next big thing. He may even have to struggle with the various challenges that life throws at him like other average Joes. But I think with emphasis on our walk with God as a family, the 3 of us will be alright.
So sometimes when the kiasu side of us surfaces and Rachel asks me what we can do about his struggles with certain academic aspects, I look at her and say: “Now cannot study, next time drive taxi lor!”