No, I’m not talking about loosing virginity, people! Get you head out of the gutter. *chuckles* Yours truly over here had ice cream in a playground after a long day at work (you know, from the Paddle Pop uncle), and had an opportunity sitting down and observe the surrounding. I haven’t been to a playground for quite some time now, and I thought watching childish display of excitement by the kids who were playing in the playground is a good way to find a little bit of peace in my already hectic life.
But boy, was I wrong. Playground is actually not a place to relax. Not when I recalled that there are many unwanted things happened to children in the playground as soon as I sat down. Playground can be a very dangerous place if children are left there playing without supervision. They can get injured, kidnapped or even raped in a playground. I sighed as I thought of those things, suddenly, some voices caught my attention and snapped me back into the realm of reality. The shouting and yelling of a mother to a child and her maid caught my attention, and this is what I heard. Please pardon the inaccuracy in my storytelling, because the actual conversation happened in Cantonese.
Mother: Why did you bring her down here to play? I told you she’s not allowed to play here at all!
Maid: Maam, she wanted to come out and play for a while, so I thought it’s okay…she’s been doing her homework, and she said she’s bored.
Mother: Homework are not supposed to be fun, and she is going to be late for her piano lesson! Get her back here at once! Bathe her and prepare her for piano class. Tonight, she is not allowed any TV. Why, you rotten thing, you are spoiling my child! Go and get her at once!
Maid: Yes, maam.
And so, the maid walked over to the swing solemnly, and talked to a child which gave me a shock. The girl is just about 4 years old, and her jovial smile while she was swinging on the swing was wiped away from her face immediately when she saw her mother from afar. The child then walked to her mother and tried to hold her hand, but before she could manage to do that, the mother began to reprimand her for not doing her homework and for playing in the playground. Her hands dropped to her side immediately as her mother continued to scold her. She was told to grow up and behave well and not to mix around with ‘the kids in the playground’ or she’ll end up growing up as a useless rubbish because she can never compete with other children who are well raised up by their parents.
The girls innocent and happy expression was gone immediately, replaced by a stony expression that I could not read at all. It’s an expression that I can’t ever imagine could be written in on a face of a child as young as that. That expression belongs to a child forced to grow up before it’s time.
I was aghast. Something is not right here. The child is not even a primary school girl and she’s forced to endure this sort of ‘education’ and ‘discipline’ by the mother? Why, though I would never deny that education and discipline is essential in a child’s upbringing in order to prepare them to face this competitive world better, but I’m against robbing a child off their childhood. To me, education and discipline ought to be balanced with a dash of childhood fun.
I honestly could not blame the mother fully for wanting to prepare her child and educate her to face the competitive world, after all, our education system is requiring academic excellence in every students, and if we do not wish to be left behind, we’ll have to keep up and excel. A mother would always want the best for her child, but is this the best for a child? Is it right to rob them off their childhood and strapped them with the burden of our education system just because we want the children to strive? This is not right.
It is a common notion amongst many parents and educators here that children need to be taught things and that this teaching needs to be done by the professionals. Hence, learning is institutionalized and heavily outsourced to certified professionals who are supposed to know what they are doing.
But we forget that it is children’s inherent nature to be inquisitive, playful and creative, especially in their formative years, and this natural way of learning about the world around them is important in giving them a sense of self and security. By giving them the mental and physical space to grow and explore, we are giving them the freedom to develop their self-esteem and personal interests.
By forcing children to grow up and be mature before they had explored their own little world, that, to me, is taking their innocence away from them, because they will grow up lacking human touch in pursuit of academic excellence. They’ll grow up being stony, selfish and lack humane emotions. I could not bring myself to imagine what kind of world it’ll be if every child is to grow up lacking in humanity department.
Cleffairy: What harm is it to allow a young child to play once in a while? All work and no play makes a child dull, after all.