A friend of mine in his 30’s recounted to me how he used to call home from school when he was in Primary school, just to ask his mother to send his workbook, exercise book and sometimes pencil case almost every day. And I thought to myself, how spoilt and irresponsible, I would never have done that and I will never allow my kiddos to do that.
Of course, once or twice is fine. But it shouldn’t be too frequent, otherwise how do we teach our children to become responsible for their own belongings?
Then came this TNP article about a school discouraging parents from dropping off their children’s forgotten items.
So signs are put up at Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Primary School’s entry points that says: “Let Your Child Grow Up…Please turn around and leave…”. A bit hard-core, I know. But I think you need to see where the school is coming from here.
The Principal told the reporter that “taking responsibility for their own learning and belongings is an important life skill we require our pupils to learn as part of our values education…”
I think one reason for this is if a handful of parents come to the general office with items to pass to their children, then the general office will definitely have to spend time getting the items to the students. It’s definitely not productive.
Then of course there’s the main reason of the children not learning how to be responsible for themselves. Many of the comments for this post on Facebook, agree that spoon-feeding and pampering the kids won’t do them any good.
Honestly, teaching children responsibility should start at home. After all, our homes are the first school for our children. Children should be taught to be responsible for their mistakes or actions and learn to be accountable for their belongings.
In other words, the responsibility of teaching our children these values should lie on parents, and shouldn’t be left to the school instead.
Just to quote a psychologist interviewed by TNP, “if parents are constantly solving problems for their children, it will affect their ability to be alert.”
Are we being irresponsible parents?
Think about it, back in the good old days, parents used punishment to teach kids how to behave properly and be responsible for their actions. But these days, parents are busy working and making a mark for themselves in society that somehow the role of educating their children values fall on teachers. Are we expecting too much of our teachers then? Besides planning for their lessons, teaching and taking charge of CCAs, they have now got to be responsible for teaching students basic values? No wonder we have a shortage of teachers as a result of the high attrition rate.
Are we being fair to our teachers or not?
I do hope that more parents can begin to be more aware of the need to be more present in their children’s lives and be their kids’ first teacher.
Maybe the next time if your child calls you about forgetting to bring something to school, remind him or her that it’s your responsibility AND his or her’s to remember to bring it to school.
Written and Contributed by: Nicholas Lee