English Teachers Are Happy To Share

English Teachers Are Happy To Share

Random Thoughts by Pauline

May 16 2014, Friday  

       In combat     
Over dinner, my son posed me questions that I found hard to reply.

“What kind of character traits do high-achievers possess? What kind of parents do they have?”

That was hard. Trained as a historian, I believe it is dangerous and even criminal to generalize! Not parents! Not children. Every child is unique. Even when we try to draw some patterns and commonalities, there are bound to be exceptions. 

It is obvious why my son is asking for such information – he wants Hayley, the daughter to be successful in life and he and his wife successful parents.

I bet such questions have never come across the mind of my mom and dad, parents of eight children. Parenting these days has become quite a huge “curriculum” with experts of all kinds having a say in it. Parents themselves are not lazy either. Those with children born in the same year pro-actively pool their experience for the betterment of their children by creating chat groups and Facebook accounts to share almost everything. They also hold various parent-child activities to meet and have fun. While they are cementing unity and support, they are also unknowingly brewing trouble.

When one child starts babbling, parents of other children who haven’t begun doing so panic. When the travel photos of a family are posted to the Facebook, other families begin to plan a similar trip. As children grow up, parents begin comparing the schools their children go to and then their performance in academic and extra-curricular activities. The peer pressure is so oppressive that there is no time and space to keep a sane mind but to keep catching up with the norm. These parents set high targets for themselves and their children. Family life can become stifling and children overwhelmed. As the family wrestles with meeting high expectations, anxiety, anger and even depression will be built up. I know times are different and that Hong Kong is a highly competitive society but life cannot be all about meeting targets especially not for children.

I did try to generalize a few common traits for my son’s reference putting much emphasis on “exceptions”. But still my heart was not at ease.