The importance of being ‘there’ and learning how to learn

Contrary to what many people think, being a kid of a teacher doesn’t equate to being a more studious child automatically.

She’s inching her way into the world of endless assessments, whether they are meaningful or not is another matter but they are inevitable and will impact her life in exam-obsessed Singapore. She will no doubt question it at a point, but all I care about is she doesn’t get unnecessarily burdened by the system.

Part of this means they have to be taught how to learn, the discipline to go through repetitive practice, whether intrinsic or extrinsically motivated will heavily depend on the way the parents were brought up. Some skills are transferrable, for example, linguistic skills. Some skills she will never need in adult life, for example later on finding the volume of a solid using Calculus. In fact, the skills ‘experts’ say our kids need to survive seems a never-ending tirade of lists, and well, let us let the experts be.

Some parents I have met in our world of ‘it is cool to be busy’ prefer the approach of paying others to settle this for them. Believing that once they pack the kid off to school or tuition/enrichment, they have done enough since they are working 10 hours days to bring back the dough.

And then sometimes then they complain that the kid has picked up beliefs, notions that belong to the outsider, or why kids have not learned the ‘good’ from themselves and they wonder why.

During parent teacher meetings, I have heard so many cases of parents who ask teachers to help guide their children because they are lost until I am numb and they can’t do anything more. Not that I am not empathetic, we just end up caring lesser as we prod along. .

This is not about guilt-tripping, that’s a petty way to think since people are tough to change and we live in a highly-opinionated world but just a small reminder that as parents, a bit of time spent with our kids is no less valuable c.f with a bit of time spent climbing that social or career ladder.

A firm belief I have is that if you want your kid to grow up following your set of values and beliefs, one needs to invest the time. I hear so much of people investing in their work for promotions, investing an hour queuing in a post-Covid world for a $16 million Toto draw but I think we can hear more of investing time in our kids’ growth journeys.

Once in a while, I see the parent spend time simply sitting down with the kid and doing nothing but idle chit-chat, and really feel that this is something simply pretty valuable.

After all, don’t we all chime that time is a resource that we can buy to a certain extent but nonetheless limited and non-recyclable? 

It can be a tough journey being a parent, and no one has all the answers. I am still finding my way too and here’s to a meaningful journey ahead.

Thank you for reading.

Cover photo by Leica M10, Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f2
Other photos by Ricoh GR III

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