Developing children’s potential and giving them an edge

This blog has gone through several changes. When I had my first child, I started the blog as “Sophia Story”. Somehow it never occurred to me that I would have a second child at that time, or indeed that this baby will ever grow up to be a talking, thinking, actual person. But of course both these things happened and when my second child came along the blog became “Mothering the S Sisters”. Quite apt given that I was recently told by a colleague that I am “bossy”. Over time, my posts dwindled not because I have less time. Well, yes, partly because of that but mostly because as the girls grew up, I increasingly felt the obligation to protect their privacy. I dabbled a bit in various topics about children without talking about my children but that felt too much like tiptoeing around the elephant in the room. There are topics I could talk about without bringing them embarrassment as an adult if their friends or colleagues happen to dig out this blog 20 or 30 or 80 years later, like how Sophia just showed me a one handed cartwheel from gym class, but who wants to read a blog that talks only about the children? That’s too much like showing off for my liking. So this blog has fallen into disuse over time. If it were a building, spiderwebs are probably all over.

Fortunately it’s not a building and I can dust it off again. I’m thinking of rebranding it as an education site, where I share my thoughts and experience on educating children. After all, I do have a Masters in Education and in a sense we are all scientists experimenting with education of our young so let’s see how that goes.

The thought of the day is interest being the best teacher. Obvious, of course, but worthy of repeated reminder. Often us parents from lower / middle class families are tempted to satisfy our regrets through our children. Or we may force our children down a certain path because we feel it gives them an edge. For example, we may feel that a certain sport is less popular and hence easier for the child to be comparative better than other children if they start young. At the end of the day, though, it will be a painful struggle if the child has no interest. The better option is to provide the child with a broad based exposure, and as and when the child expresses interest/talent in something then allow him/her to continue. But of course it is hard and there is some element of risk involved. For example, Sophia tried ballet when she was 3 and did not like it because her gross motor skills developed later than other kids. Good thing when she went to primary school, the school conducted a dance session during curriculum time and selected her to join the dance CCA.

The other thing I do is to send her for holiday camps in different areas. I have done multi-sports, chess, art, coding, theatre etc. The thing is during each holiday there is only time to try at best a couple of activities, cramming in too much is also counterproductive. So the trial and error process has a huge luck element and you may not strike gold until many holidays and many years later. And one can is simply not enough to really understand the activity so there are activities Sophia initially liked but then decided is not for her (like Weiqi) and there are other activities that she continued liking (like gym). What I found is if the child likes something, even if he/she starts a bit later, he/she will be able to catch up. But if he/she doesn’t like it, if you adopt a tiger mum attitude, sure, he/she may still get to a certain standard but is very unlikely to really excel.

Ok, I am being as preachy as my daughter’s school Teachers here when telling us to relax and trust in the school’s broad based education but there is some wisdom in that approach and really, a lifetime is long enough for specialisation. Your child will thank you for a happy childhood.

1 thought on “Developing children’s potential and giving them an edge

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s