March 05, 2011

I don’t teach my kids to be clever

I was talking to a friend over lunch not too long ago and we were talking about our kids. She said “Shiek, my kids are not clever lah”. I asked “Huh? What do you mean?” Then she told me that both her schooling kids did not obtain good results in school and she is a bit worried. She then asked me “How do you teach your children to be clever?”. I told her “Look, I don’t teach my kids to be clever”. In disbelief she then asked me “Don’t you want to teach your children to be clever?” I told her again “I meant what I have just said … I don’t teach my kids to be clever” … and the conversation went on with me explaining my point.

Now, don’t I want clever children? Of course I do but I don’t have the capabilities to teach my children to be clever. Honestly I am not a clever person myself … I don’t have any high paper qualifications. I studied up to “O” level … and even that, I only got Grade 2 in my MCE (Malaysian Certificate of Education) exams. So what do I have to teach my children to be clever? 

I tell you what I can teach my kids … I teach my kids to be filial, I teach my kids to be responsible and I teach my kids to have respect. I teach my kids discipline. I tell my kids to accept “NO”. I tell them to appreciate and make do with what they have. I tell them not to complain about their shoes because some people don’t even have legs. Now, if I can instill these values into them, then I think I have done a good job as a parent.

I once visited an old folk’s home and was told that a dentist left his mother at the facility some 9 years ago and has not visited her since … where is the filial piety? I have seen a college whiz kid shouting foul language at her mother just because her mother was a few minutes late picking her up … where is the respect? I heard of a mother who packs the school bag for her 13 year old “top-of-the-class” son EVERYDAY … now where is the responsibility? Sad isn’t it?

I let the schools, the colleges and the universities teach my kids to be clever … that is the role of these institutions. If they can turn my children in whiz kids, I will be the happiest father on the planet. If they can’t, I am fine too. I am OK if my kids don’t grow up to be doctors, professors or lawyers … really, that is not important.  The important thing is they grow up to be filial to the people that provided for them, responsible for what they do and have respect to the people around them.

We all want clever children … by all means put the kids into programs that will bring out their potential. But sometimes people are just so engrossed and focused on turning their kids into geniuses that they simply forgot how to teach their kids to be a better person.


Anonymous said...

I truly agree wiith u, Shiek. It's sad tat d children now r pressured to excel in academic performance but neglected in proper ways of growing up to be a better person in characters n attitudes by the so called busy parents.

yup, attitude is everything tat determines d true success in life. wat's d point of scoring all As but cannot perform in real life challenges? d biggest setback I see in d children now is they are too pampered n protected by their more affordable parents these days compared to those days when our aprents were poor n we had to live more independently on our own. as a result, they may lose d survival instinct when faced with challenges in d future, as all d while, d parents take care of d problems and never expose d children to "sufferings".

well done Shiek, as what you teach your children r wat in my opinion, d best assests in life!


Stone Shiek said...

Thanks HL for your comments ... I am glad we share the same thoughts on this article :)