Back To School For Parents.

by Patrick Liew on December 23, 2013

This is the time of the year when some parents are preparing to send their children to Primary 1. Undoubtedly, there will be some concerns running through their minds.

I hope they are not unduly concern 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 popular 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.

Many years ago, my wife and I went through the same pressure. Many of our well-intentioned friends advised us to place our girl in one of the popular schools.

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

We 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.

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

As a proud father, I have to share that both of them qualified to be in the Gifted Education Programme.

I wonder when parents endeavor to place their kids in a ‘designer school,’ are they absolving their full responsibilities for their children’s education to the schools?

I believe we need to take an active and major part in educating our children.

I was told during a Parent-Teacher Association Meeting that children of parents who get involved in their children’s education and participate actively in school activities do well in school.

The second question in my mind is, are the parents more interested to see their children get good grades or are they interested in their overall character development?

As adults, we know that grades may be able to help open the door to the right career and job. However, to do well in them, we need to have many other forms of intelligence.

In 1983, Howard Gardner posited that there are multiple intelligences. Unfortunately, many schools have only focused mainly on a narrow perspective of helping students develop their logical 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 kids who go to a ‘designer school’ be pressured to focus on just achieving good academic results?

After all, without good results, these schools cannot have become popular.

The danger is that they will fail to see the forest from the trees. These kids may not have a wise, balanced and holistic education.

For example, these kids may not learn to enhance their emotional intelligence. In their battle to get good grades, they may not develop love and compassion for those who are poor, weak, and disadvantaged.

There are many other questions going through my mind.

Suffice to say, as parents, we need to take a proactive role in loving our children. We need to be an active leader and co-partner in our children’s education.


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