Monday, May 07, 2007

So much controversy in today's ST forum pages, both print and online, about kids and education. There are concerns that kids don't speak good enough Mandarin, kids don't speak good enough English, and kids don't get to speak enough, period. The examinations are biased towards those who write well, so smart kids who can't write suffer because they are penalized for the one ability they haven't mastered. Kids are unhealthy because they spend too much time cooped up indoors doing an assembly line of homework, thus sacrificing the playtime in the sunshine that they need for a balanced, wholesome upbringing.

Who'd wanna be a kid in these times when everything has gone so wrong for everyone at schooling age? It's crazy! Sure, it seems like everyone blames the 'system' but kids are only hearing that in the end, it's them that's not good enough. They have nothing to say and no language ability to express themselves fully anyway. They are pale and pudgy, and though they are running non-stop like little cogs in a relentless machine they're still gonna lose out to the Chinese eventually. And conversely, in the words of good Brabantio, "Who'd be a father?"

Adults, I tell you what, if there's anything that's killing our kids, it's your endless worry and your inability to let go and let your kids grow up. All this hand-holding that you're doing, you may think it's for your kids' good, but you can't hand-hold them forever. The biggest liability your kids will have as they walk into the future is having to drag your corpse along with them by the hand. :(

Maybe if we can all stop our incessant teaching and preaching for a while, our kids might just find the space to poke their heads from under their shells and start learning for a change. So parents, teachers, adults, find the value in taking the advice you so love to repeat to your kids: shut up, please. And stop masterminding the future for them -- it's theirs to shape, not yours.

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