Grades are not everything

By Eng Ting Ting

This morning, a young girl hurried past me with a report card in her hand. Oh, the mid-year exam results are out! I'm so out of touch these days.

Looking at her frowny face brought back memories of my own school years. I was never the top student and neither were my kids. They've never brought back report cards with stellar results but did I fret? Not really. In fact, some people thought I was too sanguine about their grades.

So what if they did not make it to the top ten percent in class? Right from the start, I had never sent them for enrichment courses, music lessons or tuition classes. Their childhood was spent enjoying, appreciating and discovering nature. I knew they were smart in their own ways. It was plain to see that their talents lie in areas outside of the classroom. They were intelligent, observant and sharp. To me, that's more important than scoring As in school.

Naturally, they need a good education like everyone else and I have never denied them of that. Instead of being cooped up in the room studying, they had the opportunity to develop their passions and hone their skills.

Today, they are pursuing their favourite subjects and hobbies. They are so self motivated, they excel in what they do, without anyone prodding them.

Many parents are fixated on their child's grades. They fail to recognise that every kid is unique. They should not use academic results to measure their kid's ability for it will only demoralise themselves and their children. Instead, they should identify and help them develop their talents and strengths.

For me, it has been a lonely journey as a single parent. Having to make all the decisions for the children, sometimes I wonder if I had done the right thing. But seeing their achievements gives me affirmation that I must have done something right along the way.

I wish I had said something positive to the little girl this morning. It could very well be a life changing moment for her.

This article was first published over at the blog of Miss Eng Ting Ting on 29 May 2014. It is reproduced with permission.


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