Sophrosyne

How do you want to live your life?

What kind of children are we raising?

on October 9, 2013

This post was inspired by something that I encountered recently. Through this incident, it became very clear to me that our intentions for our children can greatly differ from society’s norms. But as parents, do we persist or do we give in to these norms that used to shackle us in our past? Here is how my story unfolds, there is no right or wrong, it is something that I hope as parents we will take seriously because ultimately, how we react will directly impact who our children will become in the future. Will they become doormats/ followers? Or will they become leaders or at the very least a fighter for their own rights?

My children attend a local school in Singapore, nothing wrong with that at all. I still believe that there are lots to learn. We just need to be able to moderate ourselves. Sometime during the first term of school this year, my older son came home really upset. He confided in me that his whole class got punished because some of them were misbehaving and his teacher concluded that it is ‘all for one and one for all’. Sure, I do get this concept, I even use it myself sometimes. In a way, it is to encourage students to become more actively involved in peer monitoring. So, I told him that although he felt that he was being unfairly punished, this is how it is like to be in a team, You take glory and heat together. Now, this incident did not just happen once, twice or even 3x, it was ongoing. And every time, I would try to find something positive that he could learn from it. The usual punishment given by the teacher is to write a personal reflection about what happened and how to improve it. Many times, my boy would get really upset because he said he does not know what to write because he did not misbehave, so what is he supposed to write? So, essentially, it is like a confession. One of these times, I told him to simply write how he felt about the situation, To my understanding, a reflection is meant to reflect how you feel. Guess what? He got into even bigger trouble for not complying with the topic!

Fast forward to 3 days ago. Again he came home really upset. And needless to say, it was the same issue. But this time something about his reaction changed. He asked me,” Mum, if my teacher is going to punish me whether I behaved or not? Then what is the point of trying so hard to be good?” Well, that’s it! All my years of instilling confidence and self-esteem is getting very close to being destroyed by a teacher who does not care about building up someone’s self-esteem. To her, it is all about compliance. In our household, even when my kids are caught red-handed, they are still given the opportunity to defend themselves. Because sometimes, people make poor decisions. It is our job as the adult to guide our children. I was really upset by the whole incident but I wanted to know if my sentiments was only an emotional reaction as a mother. So, I asked a few friends and their answers shocked me! They simply shrugged their shoulders and said, “Yea, that was how it was like when we were growing up. It’s very normal.” The only different answer I got was from a teacher who is teaching in a school that takes in students who failed their Primary school leaving exams. She understands and values the importance of instilling self-esteem in children at a very young age.

I had to spend a lot of time trying to undo the damage that she had created. To me, raising children is not about making them do everything you ask them to do. Sometimes, it is okay for them to question. Because if you changed the person asking them to do stuff, your view will change. For example, teach them to question friends who ask them to try drugs. Teach them that it is okay to stand their ground when it is something they believe in. We have so much responsibility as parents to ensure that we instill as much positive values and outlooks in life in our children. And personally, I feel that being a teacher is such a special calling. Even up til now, I meet teachers who continue to touch my life. So, thank you to all dedicated teachers out there. The world would not be the same without you! And parents, like I said earlier, there is no right or wrong reaction to this post. But surely this is something that all parents should consider. Are you raising someone with self-esteem or self-doubt. And the choice is in the action you take this very day!

‘I choose…

to live by choice, not by chances;

to make changes, not excuses;

to be motivated, not manipulated;

to be useful, not used;

to excel, not to compete;

I choose self-esteem, not self-pity;

I choose to listen to my inner voice,

Not the random opinion of others.

I choose to be ME.

 

I choose

 


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