Today I had an interesting discussion with a certain lady about children and academics. Ordinary and Advanced level students are currently registering for their examinations and those with children in these streams are certainly hoping for the best. The lady spoke about how ‘dull’ her son is and how she fears that he will not have a successful future because his academic performance is poor. “I often shout at him and ask him what the problem is and he just cries. I get so frustrated trying to help him out with his homework because he just does not understand anything!” she blurted. As a parent myself, I understood her concerns and frustration.
I paused for a bit then asked her a question; “Is there anything that he is good at or excels in…?” She lifted up her head and looked me square in the eye with a surprised look. I could see that she had expected me to join in the complaining but instead was taken aback by my question. “Well yes, he is very good in building. He will tell you all about the different tools used in building and use building terminology. My father is a builder and my son enthusiastically follows his grandfather to building projects he is hired to and helps him out.”
The world follows a certain way and has certain stereotypes. The aim for every student is to reach out for the white collar jobs. One is expected to be a Doctor, Lawyer, Accountant, Engineer in order to be counted as successful. The question is; is this really the path that everyone is realistically going to take?
Should we not be actively looking out for the skills and abilities that our children possess and then doing our utmost best to ensure that they get as much exposure as possible in those fields whether academic or not? Would it not be much better for our children to be very well equipped in the line of their interest rather than to be poor academically and only semi-skilled in their line of interest because we never supported them?
“You’re fortunate in that you have identified what it is that he is good at. Maybe if you were to ask your father to teach him all that he knows about building and enroll him in building school you might not feel as disappointed in his performance” I said.