Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Blasts from the Past!

I shared a short story on Facebook yesterday about Atreya's reaction to topping his class at 14 (see at the end of this post). Here is another interesting story from his school years, which was the beginning of it all.

It's all about Attitude!
Singapore has a system of a major exam, called PSLE, at the end of Primary School education. Sadly, the results of this exam decide a child's academic future. A bad score in this exam can mean s/he will not be eligible to attend University six years later. 

Most Singaporean parents are hyper-stressed about this exam, but that was not the case with me because of several reasons. For one, I don't think much of such exams that put unnecessary stress on a child. Two, Atreya was a smart child who seemed to understand most of the concepts easily.  And finally, I was extremely busy being the sole breadwinner of our small family. 

But when his school teacher expressed her concern about his lack of effort (her words- he is one of my brightest students but doesn't seem to care about anything or put in any effort), I decided to have a conversation with him.

I said to him that when I hire or fire an employee, it is always based on their attitude, never on what they scored in their exams. When choosing team members, I always look for people who demonstrate commitment and responsibility. And based on Atreya's attitude towards his work, which as a student was his studies, I would never hire him, and if I did hire him, he would be the first one to be fired. 

That was the extent of our discussion. No extra classes, no additional supervision by mommy. 

My words hit home, and this careless child went on to break all records in his Secondary School exam, getting seven distinctions (in all subjects except the much dreaded Hindi) and being declared the best student of the year. And all this without a watchful mommy's supervision or any after-school tuition! 

It's all about attitude school as in other aspects of life! 

Top or Bottom?
After years of just doing okay in school, when my son came in first in the second year of Secondary school, he thought the rank 1/43 meant he had terrible scores and had come in last! It's only when his friends congratulated him that he figured out what it meant.

I was quite surprised by his innocence. But it is understandable and shows how little he and I used to stress about results and scores. The only thing we ever discussed was the right attitude towards learning.