Guest Post – Our Children next time how?

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?

Screen Shot 2012 05 28 at 11 56 20 AMPhoto 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)

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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.

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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!”

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Comments

  1. What an enjoyable read! Your hubby is quite humorous! :)

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  2. Hi Keith!!

    So glad that you’ve finally been persuaded to write a post. It is refreshing to be privy to things from a father’s perspective.

    Like you and Rachel, Brian and I firmly believe in letting the boy develop at his own pace. Easier said than done, at times… especially since we co-exist in a society whereby a person’s worth is usually measured by his achievements. Very difficult not to compare when news feeds roll by with the exemplary things that parents do to encourage their children’s learning environment.

    Sometimes we feel that we’re ‘lousy parents’ because we believe in exposing our son to things, be it good or (by society’s standards) – bad. We prefer to educate him on the general state of things, rather than simply protecting him from harsh elements in life. Everything is still trial and error for us. Maybe this method will work… maybe it won’t, if it doesn’t, we will then find alternatives. Meanwhile, at least we are doing what we think will be more beneficial in providing the necessary ‘skills’ needed to survive in life.

    We can force him to bury his nose in books but we cannot force him to like reading. We do our part by guiding them to equip them for lessons in school, but I won’t think that his life is over if he doesn’t score more than 90%. There are more important lessons in life, and education as a foundation is the only necessity. Performance is based purely on their ability.

    Once upon a time, I was threatened by almost the same words. ‘Driving a taxi’ probably isn’t as bad as being a beggar carrying a baby on Indonesia’s streets 😀

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    Keith Reply:

    Ability to find contentment by knowing to count your blessings is critical. Otherwise, setbacks will beat you not only down , but out for the count…

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  3. When Sophie turned 2, I told my hubby one day that one of life’s lesson that I will
    teach her is to never let anyone put her down based on her academic performance in future. Sure we live in a kiasu society where all parents want our kids to do well in school. But I often question, at what price? And surely, we are all wired by God to be different, so how can they grow up thinking that academics is the only way to be successful in life? While studies are important as a student, it’s not the be all and end all. I’ll rather let her explore and discover her passion and not just get by with the regis education system we have. We hope that we will bring her up with the right values and be someone who focuses on the bigger things in life :)
    Susan´s last blog post ..Merry Mondays {Linky Party} – Shopping for Hello Kitty Plus a Giveaway!

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  4. I once told my hubby, our boys need not have to be uni gradates in order to be successful. Nor do they have to earn big bucks or drives a continental car to have a fulfilling life. How well we live our days depends on how fruitful each day is. Not by the figures in their report books nor which school or tuition centres they go to. But loving what they are doing, to have passions and dreams. And look forward to each day and challenges that come their way. To be a fighter and survivor. To own a life. Not merely be book smart but street smart.

    So ya, a taxi driver can have a fulfilling life too. Why not? 😉
    Rachel´s last blog post ..Finding Rachel

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  5. My parents were different they would threaten by using” Become a road sweeper” when I was young. Every parents hopes the best for their kid and hope that Kyle will appreciate all that you and Keith have invested in him.
    Dominique@Dominique’s Desk´s last blog post ..10 Words that Describe our Home

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  6. :) reading your post brought me to these verses : “godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”

    both of you are doing good as parents to kyle, keep it up! :)

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  7. Enjoyed reading this post! I fully agree that teaching our kids to walk with God is the most important thing we as parents can do for them. If our kids have the right character, I am sure they can have success any where. Keep up the great job! :)

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  8. Michelle says:

    Extremely well written King! Totally agree & feel the dilemma as budding parents. We can only try our best & the rest is up to the kid, in God’s will. We too struggle with the balance and somehow realize its all within the ‘cutting’ of the kid on their attitude and interest lor… We just go with the flow as the wind changes and continue to hope for the best, his best actually and we are happy. Most importantly the kid must be happy learning and excelling becomes a personal thing, to each individual. To us, Cayden’s happiness is most important in our parenting style. And so far do good ( keep fingers cross) . And I like your taxi driver humour :)

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  9. Hi Keith,
    Nice post here! I enjoy reading parenting thoughts from daddy’s perspective. Men usually covers areas that we, women, sometimes missed out. Hope to see more posts from you soon. Jia You!
    Emily´s last blog post ..Home Trip & Resort Holiday

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  10. Well written! Perhaps like-minded parents should get together more often to encourage each other and reinforce the focus on building up character n spiritual virtues. I would be honest to say that we have succumbed to kiasu-ness often. And friends who told us not to be Kia-, well, we found out they too hv sent kids to enrichment classes of sorts 😉 our kids live will in different times from us. Only He is unchanging!
    Hk
    PS: sent you a MSG on Facebook, Rachel!

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