About ten minutes ago, I called
Hayley, my grand-daughter. I wanted to remind her to stay warm. The helper said
that she was in Putonghua class and would be back after six. Then I remember
that Hayley is leading a life typical of Hong Kong kids. She has extra classes
every day of the week learning English, Mathematics, Putonghua, drawing,
swimming, track training and Taekwondo.
All parents are determined that
their children are to be well-provided for and well-equipped right from the
start to make sure they won’t lose out in this highly competitive society.
Children are thrown into the arena and engage in combat at the tender age of
three or even earlier. Children with both parents working full-time are entrusted
to the care of the domestic helper and the coaches.
It used to be the father kicking
football in the pitch with the boys and mother cooking in the kitchen with the
girls or parents preparing children for admission interviews etc. When family
size was bigger, children learnt how to manage arguments through daily
conflicts with siblings. Now these parent-child or sibling activities have all
been taken over by professionals.
I don’t know which mode works
better in the nurturing of children’s character. But one thing I am sure –
nothing can replace the tender loving care of parents.