Times have changed so much. School used to be fun. We used to learn how to PLAY in school. Now, all they do at school, is stick the kids' noses into one book after another. I grew up in an environment where the teachers would read to us, and we'd play games, build sandcastles, ride bicycles. School was so much fun then and I was always excited to go to school. It was also from the story telling that I developed a love for books. This was in nursery. Now, they're already teaching problem solving in nursery. How crazy is that? I wasn't the least surprised when Rachel my sister, told me that she hates to read. Not even novels. Who wouldn't be if all you were forced to do was read/memorise one textbook after another. I asked her if she liked to read stories, and she didn't either. This dislike developed when she took literature in secondary school. Again, they made these classics that should be enjoyed, into a crazy exam regime.
I recently met someone who was home schooled for many years, and although he didn't have much friends as he claimed, he had vast general knowledge, I dare say more than the kids who actually go to school. Even Rachel was impressed. I realised that home study was a lot better than going to school for this friend of mine. He didn't have to keep to a regular curricular. Sometimes he studied 6 hours, sometimes 3 hours. He had good time to balance work and play, do the things he liked to do still like travel and read, and still passed his exams. What a great arrangement.
The stress levels in school kids have definitely shot up in the last few years. Suicide statistics have also increased amongst school children. Which brings our education system into question. What has society become? Have we forgotten to let children BE children? I remember we used to have a huge garden in school where we'd play, and one day we witnessed a butterfly laying her eggs on the leaves of the bushes in the garden. Over the next few weeks, we saw the whole life cycle of a butterfly: from egg, to caterpillar to cocoon, to butterfly! All this from playing! My sister Rachel, knows about the life cycle too from the textbooks she reads. Still, it's different having lived to see it, and having just read it in the books. It doesn't come alive. Maybe that's why it's always been my dream to live in a house with a garden (very expensive goal in Singapore - but still a goal nevertheless!). I think my children would be able to learn a lot more that way; through their five senses.
I feel so much for children who're sent for psychiatric help by their parents when the cause of their problems IS their parents. These precious children are slaved by their parents on their academics. They spend more than half the day in school, and then they come back and spend the rest of the day with their private tutor. Don't get me wrong. I think education is good. But I also believe in striking a balance.
Rachel used to hate school.It's ironic because she was the smartest kid in school. But according to her, the expectations loaded on her then at her age were a bit too much for her to cope. She was good in some things because she had an interest in them at first. But then the teachers in school, not understanding that normal school curricular was already a heavy load, started to push her for competition after competition. They were all wanting to "help her develop her gift". She ended up entering way too many competitions for her to handle, and she never had time to play, or rest, or sleep even, or just do nothing and watch TV like we used to, or just call a friend up for a chat or laugh. She started to get depressed, and unhappy, and even started to hate going to school. Again, it's good to enroll in competitions, but it's not good when you're practicing during your school holidays for these competitions to a point where there doesn't seem to be a holiday. It's just sad when we're overworking these children but we don't even spend that much time at work ourselves!
I get really angry and upset when I hear of parents sending their children to a psychiatrist. Why be so quick to label them as 'having issues' when you don't even take the time to try to understand them or what they're going through? Perhaps the ones that need psychiatric help are the parents. Some traditions should be broken. Some parents teach their children that without good grades, they will go no where. Who ever said that was true?! Most of the successful people running million dollar companies did not complete school. Bill Gates is one example. They probably got that story from their parents and their parents heard that from their parents. Other traditions should be created. Like having family meals together. I think communing together is a very intimate thing, and it helps you to communicate with one another and fellowship. I believe taking the time to do this would help parents understand their children a lot better; to see the world through their children's eyes. Which is why, not matter how tired I am from work, I still try my best to make it a point to cook daily. If we don't take that time each day to sit and eat together, then the only times we can do that would be the weekends, since we spend most of our time at the office with our colleagues already. And that's nothing compared to the lifetime we will be spending together. That's not how I want to live my life either. Some of my other colleagues don't have any issues having dinner by themselves. The only time they get to spend time with their husbands is over the weekends. I'm not judging, but I don't understand that either. Doing an activity together doesn't mean you're really communicating with one another and getting to know one another. Watching a movie does not require any interaction, even through you're watching it WITH someone. It just boggles my mind.
Children are meant to be loved not manipulated to do the things you want them to do to feed your own ego.