OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!
Active Thinkers Moving –Up Ceremony
March 24, 2018
Our children just finished another schoolyear; that is no small thing. To them, at their level, that amount of time and hardwork is same kind of effort you put into your regular workday in the office. So congratulate them and celebrate this day. Let us enjoy these moments, for it is the little celebrations that make for the sweetest memories.
I am used to speaking before big crowds of impatient senior citizens, rowdy teenagers, and even antagonistic conservatives, but this is the first time I’m going to have a group of primary students as an audience. But when Teacher Lenith invited me to serve as speaker, she assured me that the message would be more for the parents themselves.
Thus, I’ve decided to make this something like Robert Fulghum’s “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”. I would like to share some ideas on how we can help usher our kids to “all the places they can go”.
Too many parents nowadays put academic pressure on their kids that they no longer enjoy school. Don’t make the mistake of being too grade-conscious. Instead, let us instill in our kids a genuine love for learning. We must remember that education is not confined to the 4-corners of a classroom. There is real value in actual experiences. Travel with your kids, even on short trips. Bring them to museums, zoos, and parks. You may think they might not appreciate these things, but be open to new stuff and try everything at least once.
Remind yourself that studying is not always about rote-memory. Most of it is about truly understanding how things work. So encourage your kids to be curious. Let them ask questions. And to the best of your abilities, try to explain things. This exercise is more about teaching them to learn to think for themselves. Don’t worry because they don’t really expect you to have all the answers for them. And as they grow older, they will figure things out for themselves.
Remember too that IQ (intelligence quotient) is different from EQ (emotional quotient). Scholastic or academic intelligence is school-based education, but parenting and family environment determine a child’s Emotional Quotient. This is our primary responsibility, instilling the proper values in our children. You cannot rely on the school and teachers to be the only ones to teach good morals and proper conduct to kids. That job is ours and we must take it seriously.
I cannot over–emphasize this enough with so many instances of bullying, discrimination and violence going on in society right now. Somewhere along the way, we must ask ourselves, have the adults failed our youth somehow by forgetting to focus on values and virtue? So this early, think about the kind of adult you will be unleashing upon the world. Remember that kids are always watching you and will be copying you. Be the kind of person you want them to grow up to be. Be that good example for them and teach them about respect, compassion, and caring about people and things other than themselves.
Some of you here may have seen the wonderful movie, “The Greatest Showman” starring Hugh Jackman. I recommend watching it as a great family bonding activity, with many important Life lessons to share. Most significant of these is about challenging prejudices and societal norms which limit one’s potentials and opportunities. It is my hope that in its own subtle way your eyes have been opened to promote progressive ideas such as gender equality, respect and tolerance instead of reinforcing stereotypes.
This is the 21st century, after all – the age of technology and scientific progress, and it greatly affects how we learn, communicate and have relationships with others. But even with all these gadgets and electronic instruments, give your kids the opportunity to enjoy the simpler things like nature and open air, and even “real” books. Reading may seem like a chore to them at this point, and only connected to school matters. But slowly, try to introduce to them a habit of an almost “automatic” necessity of reading. They must realize that reading will also take them to worlds they can only imagine.
Finally, I urge you, fellow parents, to be present, to be involved, participate in your children’s lives. The years can pass by so quickly, and before you know it, our kids are all grown up and are living their own lives. Don’t begrudge them these days when they especially need your guidance.
Today, as they Move-Up to new levels, we must impress upon them the reward one reaps for almost 10 months of studying and schoolwork. Let us show them what there is to look forward to with courage and wonder. School Life is more than just a journey, it should be an adventure fueled by dreams and imagination.
“I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all its gonna take
A million dreams
For the world we’re gonna make”
- From The Greatest Showman