Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Random thoughts: Broadening the definition of success

Some readers might know I am in the line of education.

I make no apologies in pushing those under my charge to get the 1 mark more, the do well in exams, but most of the time, I see the process as equally important as the products. A person willing to persevere, fight against all odds, will succeeded in life even if he is not brilliant academically.

Recently, in order to take away more gadget time from my 4 year old kid, I decided to enroll him in some enrichment classes, we ask for his opinion and he agreed to go for a Art class. My wife asked her cousin kids along, to see if they are interested in enrolling their kids together. Her cousin wife agreed, but suggested another center that has exams that certified Art skills. "Please, the poor kid is just 4 years old, what art skills can you possibly hope to attain?" was my immediate reaction.

Many of my concerned colleagues and friends always have suggestions for enrichment, Sheshida (NOt sure if I got the name right), Kumon, and for older kids, learning labs, etc. I always brush them aside, I just want him to develop as and when he is ready. I might sigh him up for swimming, and Taekwondo, but not cognitive development, there will be plenty of that and rat race when he goes P1

I felt the stress at times, wondering if I am shortchanging my kid when the whole world is going for enrichment. Looking back at my life, I think the answer is a "No"

I want my kid to succeed if possible, but I want him to be contented about life and be happy more than anything else. I want him to be able to feed himself and shoulder the responsibilities of being the bread winner of a household, able to hold a job well, if that means being a doctor, lawyer or the likes, fine, but if becomes the common engineer, teacher or even a soldier, I am fine with that too.

The academic path is the mainstream path with the clearest route to success (monetary-wise ), but it does not mean other paths are doom to failures. I know of many friends who didn't do well in studies but are doing very well as salesmen, hairstylists or make up artistes.  I do know, however, other paths are much tougher in the initial years.

I study hard, and do academically well enough to go through university, but when I am out working, I suddenly realized what really differentiated the able workers from the mediocre ones are their experinces, their CCAs experiences of "fighting spirit", the volunteers work that spark the human spirit, and etc, no one ask about their grades, except me, and it proved that point that straight 'As' in work has no correlation with work competence, some with poor grades are great, of course they are great workers with straights 'As" too.

I also felt that how well one do in the future depends no less on the stake of the economy, as the more vibrant the economy, the wider the spectrum of jobs. For my kid, I am willing to accept or even tolerate FTs, over-crowding. It is a trade-off I take for my kid. For that, I am grateful that our government while far from perfect, is generally competence when economic policies are concerned.

 I want my kid to be able to take stress, and I want the current system to remain status quo, competition is there, whether or not you like it or not, I want him to embrace competition, fight hard to win, win fair, or lose gracefully. I want him to stare at competition in the eyes and fight, but if the results are unfavorable, I want him to pick himself up. Failures are just stepping stones to a more complete life. 

I do not want to give him all the head starts in life, I hope he can find his own tempo and overcome his own handicaps, if he can't, then I will help him. I won't be around all the time. 

Sound a lot like preaching? Sorry, occupation hazard. 

 

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