Monday, May 20, 2013

Relief

The school mid-year exam's over and it's me who feels relieved. C, as usual, was unfazed. 'Exam' is not a scary word for her. Don't get me wrong, she's not a genius academically. She just does what is required i.e. minimum work. I've advised and suggested that she does revision at least on a weekly basis on what she has learned during the week so that when it comes to exam time, she doesn't have to cram. The suggestion goes in one ear and out the other. Two weeks before exams, I tell her she should start revising. That also fell on deaf ears. And even one day before the exam, she does nothing much, maybe flip through the pages of the textbook and reluctantly work on some exercises in a workbook, for all of half an hour maybe. Life is as usual for her during exam week -- tv, story books, sketching, attend music classes....

I'm not that kind of person. I'm just the opposite. When I was a student, I studied hard. I planned my study timetable. I'd sit quietly at my desk and concentrate hard, reading, doing past year questions, etc. I could hear my heart beating fast as I sat in the exam hall. So with a child like this, imagine my difficulty in accepting her 'style'. I get stressed when I see her enjoying a story book instead of a textbook during exam week. I get angry when I ask her what exam she has the next day and she answers, "don't know". So, I am simply relieved now that the exam's over.

Was I supposed to drag her to a table and chair, pull out all her books, pile them up nicely and sit down with her and make her revise? Maybe that would be what some parents and their kids do. Some parents (kudos to them) take efforts to teach their kids how to do revision, how to draw up a revision schedule, how to do extra workbook exercises, question them verbally to check if they remembered/memorised the facts correctly. Later, the kids will learn to study independently on their own, and most likely score A's left, right and centre.

If I recall correctly, I tried doing a bit of that before when she was younger. It didn't bring about much change in her attitude towards studies or her exam results. So what did I do or didn't do that produces a result different from other parents and kids? I don't think that's a question I should even ask. I have come to learn that with C, forcing her to do something does not work. Persuasion? Reason? Threats? They don't work either. She will do only what she is interested in, she is not afraid of failure, she is not 'kiasu', she doesn't bother comparing herself with others.

There are pros and cons to these traits. When she is interested in something, nothing will stop her from pursuing it. That's when I see her ability to focus surface, and she will learn and progress in that area of interest. When she does not like something, she will just not like it, no matter how much you persuade or reason with her to get her to like it. Unfortunately, life sometimes cannot be lived that way because there'll be times when there are things which you don't like to do but you still have to do.

Ugh, it's just so hard to find a balance and be a nurturing parent.... I have to keep reminding myself that academic excellence is not everything. Specialised skills can get you to the top too. It is better to have a well-rounded child with proper emotional and social development than have an academic genius who doesn't know how to relate to people and the real world. They need to learn things like consideration, responsibility, independence, self-confidence, commitment, decision making, dealing with people of different ages, cultures, personalities, other life skills......so much to learn and be exposed to beyond 'school' stuff.

Bite-size bit:

Career advice from an 11-year-old.

 Dad said he is taking on a new portfolio at work.
Kid: Are you getting a raise?
Dad: No.
Kid: You should ask for a raise! Tell them "If u want me, you have to give me more money." It's like 'bribery'.

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