Monday, June 15, 2015

When Education Begins at Home…

Occasionally we hear of our friends telling us that they are thinking of relocating to another country for retirement or just for a change of environment.

Is the grass really greener on the
other end? 
However, of all the pull reasons why people go overseas, one of the things that came out was because of the education system. Those who have spent quite some time overseas observed that the children growing up in an overseas education system are in general happier, nicer and more appreciative. In other words, Singapore kids, besides becoming rigid, fixated in being exam smart, have become more competitive, nastier, and less humane. 

Yes the problems of parenting just got magnified. How do I teach my children to be kind and appreciative, be contented and grateful, and yet to practice the virtues of striving for excellence or even to encourage taking risks and even maybe being shrewd?

I didn't think the singapore's education system is the sole reasoning for the upbringing of our kids… but the mister doesn't agree. His point is that with such a system, one looks only at the results. In general, parents slog day in day out to make sure their children don't lose out. Chances are any free time the kids have would be taken up by an enrichment class (sports or educational) or by tuition. In fact, to them, they may not even know or care if their parents had to work that extra hard for them. Hence, in order not to fall victim into such a system, is to leave this system to go to somewhere which you know you won't be tempted to go through the same cycle.

However, overseas education system would also mean a greater exposure to premarital sex, drugs and violence… (Which means… I may have a kind-hearted and happy druggie as a kid?) Though interestingly, there are studies which support the idea that Asians tend to actually hold on more to their asian values should they go overseas. Unfortunately, for now, it doesn't provide me any form of consolation.

I asked D whether the size of a family makes a difference to how a child may turn out. He did agree that he noticed that kids coming from a bigger family are generally nicer. However, it's not because of the size, he mentioned that it's the mother's influence that made a difference. He pointed out that most of these families have mummies that spend a substantial amount of time at home too. These mothers don't necessarily spend a lot of one-to-one time with their children. In fact, with more children, they would definitely be busier. While they may not necessarily spend time sending and fetching their children all over singapore for classes, their children are with them most times to observe how they communicate and talk to other people. Even if it just means a simple conversation with the neighbors or the fishmonger (Okay… maybe we can modify the latter to the NTUC auntie).

Basically, D and I concluded, that the things kids pick up by seeing how we as parents communicate would make a difference to whether our kids will turn out nice or not. With that in mind, it becomes a daily challenge for me. Given the nature of my job, my time is relatively flexible and I stay quite a substantial amount of time at home. While it allows me to assess their work better, the kids also will tend to assess how mummy behaves to different people. 
Like how mummy reacts when the helper doesn't understand what is needed to be done or when something is done wrongly. (Lord, help me) Like how mummy behaves when her mummy nags at her and all. (Lord, Help Me) Or like how mummy responds when her husband's mummy insists on doing something that is opposite of what she has intended to do. (LORD, HELP ME)

They say love makes you want to be a better person. I don't know if "want" is really the right word to be used here… But because I love my kids, and I want them to be better people… everyday now becomes a reminder that for this period when they still think their parents are the world's best…. I need to realize that how appreciative, how nice, how humble or how loving they will be in future, depends on how appreciative, how nice, how humble and how loving I am now. 

And I have been trying… I just hope this is the best education system I can offer my kids. :)

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