Opinion by Angela Chong
The past week has seen a sequence of closing and graduation ceremonies in primary and secondary schools. Pictures of school kids with trophies and medals in hand occupy pages on Facebook. Parents of the award winners cannot hide their joy and pride. What is more delightful than seeing their own children enjoying the sweet fruits of their effort?
I share the joy of these parents. They well deserve the honour as they have dedicated intense attention to monitoring and guiding their children’s learning. I have heard of parents who decline an invitation to a feast just because their kids are having a test on the following day. I have also seen kids practising spelling on the bus, their parents beside them prompting and urging them to do better. Parents’ anxiety about their children’s achievement is understandable. Their support is an important incentive for their children’s academic pursuit. In fact, these children owe much to their parents’ effort for their success.
Among these caring parents there are some I admire more than the rest. They are those who see the need for their children to develop the ability of independence and self-management. They will not get too much involved in their school work lest it should undermine their ability of self-care and self-learning. This does not mean they will leave the children entirely on their own. Instead, they keep a close watch on their learning progress. While giving them the chance to solve problems and overcome challenges by themselves, they assure them of support and encouragement where needed. This way, the children still feel cared for while gradually developing a sense of self-reliance and responsibility.
Nevertheless, this must not be confused with negligence and inattention on the part of the parents. There are parents who do not care the least about their kids’ academic performance. Some are speechless when asked what class their kids are attending. For them, it suffices just to pay the tuition fees. They may even boast of their excessive spending on a tutorial class for their kids. It is doubted how much these kids can amount to. Of course, there are kids who really learn to be self-reliant just because they lack parental care. But these are very rare cases, I must say.
Therefore, parents ought to nurture among their kids the ability of self-management and self-learning. Winning an award for academic performance may bring only momentary joy. But the benefit from the ability of self-learning is for life.