Selecting A School For Your Child

by Patrick Liew on November 30, 2019

Selecting A School For Your Child

This is the time of the year when parents are selecting a school for their child, either for Primary 1 or Secondary 1 education next year.

Undoubtedly, there will be some concerns running through their minds.

I hope they are not unduly concerned about getting their children into a popular school.

I read in the newspaper years ago about how hard some parents tried to place their children in “designer” schools.

One parent apparently paid $3.5 million to purchase a condo just so that they can be near to a branded school.

Another parent downgraded to a smaller flat for the same reason.

It was interesting to read about how a celebrity and her husband volunteered 80 hours to help in their preferred school.

Unfortunately they failed to get a place for their son.

According to the report, they did not even have a chance to ballot for a place in that school.

Usually, for a popular school, it’ll be hard to find a “short cut” to get a place in the school.

Many years ago, I went through the same pressures.

Many of our well-intented friends advised us to place our girl in one of the sought-after schools.

Fortunately, I was pretty well connected. I pulled all the strings so that I could get a place for my girl in what I thought was a “perfect” school.

Our family prayed over the decision.

Finally, we decided to register our girl in a neighborhood school – a relatively unknown school that was located near to our home.

Looking back, we are thankful to our Creator for the decision. It was the right move.

Both of my children had a great time in school. They did well in their studies and played an active part in co-curricular activities (CCA).

On reflection, if my child had gone to a popular school, there’ll be greater pressures on her and us.

She may not enjoy learning and will become overly focused on being book smart and not on being smart in all the other vital areas in school and life.

I learned that regardless of grades or schools, your child can still go far in life.

Truth be told, I wonder when parents strive to enroll their kids in a “designer school,” are they absolving full responsibility of their children’s overall development to schools?

Parents need to take an active and major part in educating and developing their children.

There are evidence to show that when parents get involved in their children’s education and participate actively in school activities, their children tend to do well in school.

The second question in my mind is, are parents more interested to see their children get good grades or in enhancing their character, developing their unique strengths, and fulfilling their passion and aspirations?

As adults, we know that grades may open a door to getting a job.

However, to do well in a career, we need to have many other forms of intelligence.

In 1983, Howard Gardner posited that there are multiple intelligences.

Unfortunately, some schools may have only focused mainly on a narrow perspective of helping students develop their intellectual and linguistic intelligence.

It bodes well to remember that moral intelligence is just as important as intelligence of the intellect.

Altruistic intelligence can be more important than logical intelligence.

Taking action is more important than just acquiring information.

The third and key question in my mind is, will children who go to a “designer school” be pressured to focus on just achieving good academic results?

After all, without good academic results, these schools may not have become popular in the first place.

The danger is that these children may fail to see the forest from the trees.

They may not be inclined to pursue a holistic, balanced and effective education, and to develop major life skills.

These life skills may be more important in helping them succeed in life.

For example, these children may not strengthen their emotional intelligence.

In their battle to get good grades, they may not develop love, kindness and compassion for those who are poor, weak, and disadvantaged.

It is more important to take a more proactive role in loving and nurturing your children than focusing on schools, and being book smart and achieving good grades.

Be an active coach, counsellor and cheerleader in helping your children find joy in learning and passion in learning how to learn.

Be mindful that the purpose of education is to raise your child to be a moral, responsible, wise, productive, and useful person.

A person who can contribute to strengthening workplaces, communities, and society.

Address social injustice, achieve progress for society, and live a meaningful, productive and fulfilling life.

There are different pathways that your children can pursue to help them develop their potential and serve worthy causes.

Therefore, help your children to learn how to leverage on their strengths, talents and passions.

Apply multiple intelligences, and not just intellectual intelligence to fulfill their dreams and goals.

Here’s wishing you a purposeful, happy, and fulfilling parenting journey.

I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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