Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Childhood Rat Race

It's a fact of life that is hard to ignore. Apart from having more materialistic possessions, it actually sucks to be a child these days.

You are not allowed to roam free around the neighbourhood lest some sicko lurks in a corner waiting to grab you. You have no choice but to join the tuition merry-go-round because mom worries that your future may be doomed if you did not have a string of As in your public exams.

And for added bragging rights, some even had to squeeze in piano, ballet, swimming, art and drama classes into every single available hour over the weekends.

And the rest of the time, relaxation is probably by way of sitting dumbstruck in front of the TV or playing endless mind-numbing computer games.

One mom I knew actually use "money motivation" to get her kids to perform.

A drawing done to her satisfaction earned the 9 year old boy RM5 a piece. An hour of meticulous copying of the text from a Ladybird book in neat handwriting merits RM5 for his 7 year old brother.

And the eldest at 12 get the latest Nokia handphone if he promises to attend all his tuition classes without a word of protest or absentism for a whole month throughout this school holidays!

Is it just me or have I missed some hard facts about preparing my kids early in life for the rat race of the future?

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Anonymous adrian said...

The money motivation sounds like preparing them for doing sponsored posts! :P

20/11/07 21:28  
Anonymous carboncopy said...

I was second from last in my kindergarden final exams. And I proudly told my parents that I almost scored full marks. :D

Get the basics right, and the rest will fall into place. ;) Coming from the most unqualified person.

21/11/07 01:49  
Blogger Twisted Heels said...

I used to be one of those sitting at the back yakking away, not bothering to study, hide my report cards and never listening in class.

To strip an innocent child from growing up the 'normal' way (I can't even define what's normal now) is terribly sad. They'll never remember the fun things in life like lining up in school for the free packet of UHT milk or playing skipping ropes made of rubberbands (that was my era).

Some children might need a lil push, but it'll come one day that it's important to really put the effort in studies. Not that I am a qualified person to lecture coz I need a push myself now.

21/11/07 08:36  
Anonymous carboncopy said...

One of the most disturbing thing, to me, is the phenomena of tuition at kindergarden level.

Its crazy. Kindergarden is where children learn through play. Learn social interaction, rules, etc. all through play. Ok maybe not all, but play is very important.

That's how nature, such as bear cubs, tiger cubs, and the list goes on and on, learn their survival skills.

Rewarding children is a good thing, but the fine line between reward and spoiling can be blurred by parents greed for bragging rights over their children.

Would like to share something disturbing to me, there was this kid who was barely 2 years old. He is smart no doubt about it. But whenever he does things, or want something which seems to be out of the boundary. The parents will bombard him with the question, "xx, you got money or not? Got money to pay for yy."

At the end of the day, it is the parents world view and values which is going to be imprinted on their children. And the same can be said about me.

21/11/07 10:36  
Anonymous mumsgather said...

I was horrified when a kindergarden I visited bragged to me about how their syllabus is equivalent to the Std One standards in school and they achieve this through lots of homework given to the child. And this is a "famous" center that many parents like to sent their child to. I think the poor kids will be so bored of learning by the time they go to std 1.

My 5 year old is still home with me and most kindergardens I visited expressed shock that she is not in kindergarden or any playschool yet. One year is not enough!! they stressed to me. In fact, not only the kindergardens but other parents, grandparents, neighbours whatever express shock. I couldn't care two hoots. Hahaha.

21/11/07 13:37  
Blogger Maverick SM said...

I think you miss the point. Preparing a child early is not about throwing them at tuition classes or getting them to Ladybird book reading.

It's about giving the kids an early start in education and preparing them well before they get to standard 1.

The idealistic way is to get books to read so that they inculcate habits of reading and understanding. At the age of two, a kid is ready to develop their brain dramatically. It is the right time to give them books instead of toys, particularly books of philosophers and mathematics. Don't push them or force them to study. It must be fun and they must be motivated to want to read or write or do maths. Give them the freedom of choice but guide them. Make it fun, full of fun to want to read, write and do maths. Over a period of time, it becomes part of their daily life; no more as stress or being pressurised. They want it, and they enjoy it.

21/11/07 21:40  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

Thanks for all your comments. I appreciate the healthy debate and I do agree that inculcating the love of reading is more important than mere rote learning in a child.

But it's a jungle out there and sometimes it is hard for parents to strike a balance, knowing well the rules of survival in this highly competitive world.

24/11/07 10:01  
Blogger dayah mizan said...

A nokia for one month of tuition.wow.My parents back then didn't really mind what grades i got back then.as long as i did well.
I think our society is becoming more materialistic by the day.it all comes down to what we own,we do for a living,how much we've got in the bank,our social life.the future ain't gonna be easier for the young ones now.maybe it is best for them to be motivated in such a way.haha.

26/11/07 00:06  
Blogger Maverick SM said...

Merry Christmas, Anak Merdeka.

Why no updates for so long?

24/12/07 23:42  
Blogger Kwoky said...

What a shame! What happen to the good ol rotan? Now that's a motivation. That's what I kena when I was a child and it had served me well. Otherwise, I would really be earning RM5/hr for me job.

11/1/08 04:56  
Blogger Maverick SM said...

Happy New Year, AM. Where are U?

6/2/08 20:59  

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