Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Creating the love of learning

Courtesy of
Hi peeps!

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, I have been unwell for a few days now, with a runny nose, a bout of flu and watery eyes. My creative juices seemed to be blocked by an invisible barrier. So today I thought I’d just share with you what my colleagues and I discussed about while we went out to buy lunch just now.

It all started with this one colleague with a 15-year old son, who said she was busy editing her son’s science project at work. I was surprised and said “Why didn’t you ask him to print it out, so you can check on paper, and then ask him to correct it himself?” She said she’d told him to print out days ago, to no avail. The project was due tomorrow, so there’s no time for her to double check again, so she just edited it herself. I told her to tell her son about how we survived in our days, where parents were too busy or uneducated enough to be able to help us with our homework. I remembered my mom helping me with painting, doing creative projects or sewing my table runner project, stuff like that. But no help in difficult subjects like maths and science. That was pretty much the only parent intervention in my school life. The rest of it, I had to figure out on my own.

My colleague told me that both her husband and herself had berated him countless of times. She also said that his latest report card was a lot of D’s, C’s and maybe a couple of B’s. Another colleague said that her 13-year old sister failed three subjects in school. She was more interested in singing and dancing projects, even getting frustrated when she failed to score a place in singing or dancing competitions. My own nephew scored some C’s and D’s in his SPM last year, not to mention his smoking in the house, his late nights out and sometimes not coming home at all. I read about a 13-year old boy having a baby with his 14-year old girlfriend a few months ago. I also read an article about teenage girls having more sex to get revenge for their parent’s neglect. (This is a little out of topic, but still, very shocking.) I was like, WHAT in the WORLD is happening here?

Gone are the days of the simple life of friends, school, playing at recess and family fun. It looks like the days of sex, drugs and rock and roll are back with a vengeance; destroy mankind. (Sounds like a Decepticon. Haha.) It’s scary. When I was dropping off my daughter at her nursery the other day, I saw of group of boys and girls in school uniforms cutting classes and idling around the shops. I told my husband, I could count with my fingers, the number of times that I’ve cut classes in school. I felt it was such a loss when I couldn’t go to school, when my classmates get to learn but I missed out. My husband said “Honey, that was 15 years ago. Things are different now.”

How did it get to be so different? I guess parents are the first to be blamed. The world today is so tough and expensive, both parents need to go and work outside the house, to earn sometimes just enough to provide for their family, with a little bit left over to spare. The recession has made it even more difficult; people lost their jobs and struggling hard to survive. Our country was not so badly hit with the recession, but my friends in the UK and US were laid off, some hanging on to their jobs for dear life. I read about families with close bonds would be less likely to have rebellious or difficult kids. But who would have time to spend with kids when they come back at 9 or 10 at night, only to put their kids to bed? (I experienced this too, so I know how it feels.)

My mother told me about how kids today are so pressured to excel in school. When I was in school, kindergarten was like play-school. Standard One students were just learning the alphabets and learning to count. Kids nowadays are expected to be able to read when they enter Standard One, they have private tuitions after school, come back at 7 p.m. and have homework to do. In Standard One, at 7 years old. When will they have time to be kids, to be able to play and have fun freely? But at the same time, we wouldn’t want our children to be the least smart in class, would we? So what can we do, as parents? Push them to strive in studies or let them play to their heart’s content without a care in the world? Is it even possible to achieve a balance? It isn’t as easy as you think it would be, you know.

I guess the best way to go about this matter is, to instill the love of learning in our children, which is not easy, considering our own education system here in Malaysia. Schools, learning and studying should be, first and foremost, FUN. When it’s fun, you don’t even have to force them to learn, I bet kids would be running out the door each morning to go to school! Wouldn’t that be marvelous? I think our education system is too rigid and inflexible, too focused on excelling in exams, too pressured to perform the best in class. There are a lot more other skills that are needed to survive in the real world, like communication skills, presentation skills, problem solving skills, time management skills, even teamwork skills.

Courtesy of

I’ve read more and more of these articles, which seem to be springing before my eyes everyday – educate your child as soon as possible, i.e. from the day she was born. It may seem ridiculous to read or show flashcards to babies who don’t seem to be able to understand anything – except maybe milk and sleep – but in that tiny brain of theirs, miraculous wonders are taking place every second, every day. Have you ever heard the phrase “A baby is born a genius”? Well, it’s true. Children under the age of 5 have the effortless ability to learn and absorb knowledge , when the brain growth is most rapid, compared to school age children, teenagers and much less, adults. So what better time to teach your precious ones other than RIGHT NOW?

I didn’t intend to write so much about this, but I guess I get a little too enthusiastic sometimes. I have some ideas brewing n my head about teaching my daughter new things, but I’ll let you know when I actually have done it. Right now, I need to get my stuffy nose unstuffed first. I’m too drained to do anything but sleep right after dinner. Aliah is now dragging the bedtime book off the shelf (the book is almost as big as her) to get me to read to her. Poor thing.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Zil... how are you feeling lately? Hope all is good with you and family ;)

    Had to scribble here in the comments section cause it’s a wee bit too long for the chat box hehe. As usual, your writings are appealing and bring about people like me obviously to share a few thoughts of my own ;)

    Okay, first of all, the topic says Creating the love of Learning. As you read this, you’ll probably say…what this has got to do with the topic. Opps! Sorry hehe… I’m merely responding to the parts when you are mentioning about kids in today’s world and the behavioural of people today which of course impact our kids in growing up. Yes parents do play a role but environment and our surroundings play a major part as well. The world today is SCARY. Have you seen the CK poster ad on yahoo news? The ad is in New York and it is very x-rated to my opinion and to many others. There’s a line between sexy and well… a half naked young girl (probably in her teens) getting into what looks like a threesome act. What do adults and parents think when they look at that kind of advert? What do kids think when they look at that advert?
    Not to mention the now-so-common knife crimes which also involve teenagers and even kids nowadays. Oh and then there is a survey taken out over here to legalise prostitution… majority said yes to the idea. Daunting and appalling, isn’t it?
    Sure people can argue on so many things… but at the end of the day, it all impact on the bringing up of our kids in today’s world.

    Interestingly, one of my ex-colleague who is married with no kids said, ‘Why would you want to have kids when you know you are bringing them up into an aggressive, pressurising, violent world? Why the unnecessary pressure on yourself?’ Again it’s a question to argue… but at some point, he’s pointing to a fair fact that the world today is not safe for anybody especially kids.

    To finish, like my father said to me, we as parents and especially Muslim parents, must and always instil Iman and faith to Allah into ourselves and to our kids. InsyaAllah.

    Sharing is caring ;)


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