I remember a gist I got from a friend whose son is studying in the U.K. The son resides in a foreign student’s hostel, so in his room are two Indians and a Spaniard. When he had the opportunity to gist his mother about the happenings around him, he told her about one of his roommates- the young reserved Spaniard – who is so organized and meticulous in all he does.
“Charles cannot sleep with the lights on, so when he’s ready to sleep, you’d better go to bed as well or get out!” My friend got so interested in this boy that she asked, “What course is he studying?”
“Dance”, he replied. “What!?” was her frantic reaction to that reply. Are you dazed too; that somewhere in the world, some people actually go to school to study ‘dance’? Come on wake up. Education is not just about Maths and English, Physics and Chemistry; or Accountancy and Economics. There’s more to it than you can ever imagine. You want to know the best course of study for your child when he or she gets to the higher institution? Then study the child now!
Mary, a little girl of 8 years, got home one day and asked her mother, “Mum, why am I so different from other children?” Puzzled, Mrs. Williams sought for clarification.” “I don’t understand; Different in what way?”
“I get average scores in all our subjects except music. Besides, I never answer correctly any question asked in class, except I’m asked to sing.” “Why can’t I just be like Esther, Tommy, Helen, Mike, Angela, Ro…” “It’s okay. I now understand”, interrupted Mrs. Williams, with her palms dancing in the air, and her eyes closed. She understood perfectly, her daughter’s curiosity but was thinking of the best way to put her response. She paused, but while she was still trying to put her thoughts together, Mary continued, “Today, for instance, our teacher asked a question in class and I raised my hand to answer. Before I could say anything, he cried, “will you put down that hand!?”(She mimicked him with a baritone voice), and everyone in class laughed at me”. Mrs.Williams, who was still busy editing her thoughts, couldn’t restrain her smile. “All right”, she said finally. “Wait, wait mummy, let me quickly sing for you a song we were taught today in our music class”. “No!” protested her mother, “let me talk first”. “Mummy, it’s very short” she persisted. “I said ‘No!’” “P-l-e-a-s-e mama”, she said musically. “No, no, no”, the mother insisted. “Why does everyone shut me up whenever I want to talk or sing?” she lamented. “Because you are unique” was Mrs. Williams’ soft answer. When she realised her success in making her daughter listen to her, she continued, “You are a special being carrying an unusual talent to an unusual place, so it would take an unusual person to see the virtue that you carry” Mary smiled and gave her mother a quick hug, “Love you mummy”, she said. Mrs. Williams, pleased with herself, continued, “People may not accept you now because you’re still young at heart and in your craft. Master your music, and you’ll see how the world would pay to hear you sing?”. “ Really?” exclaimed the little girl. “Sure. So whenever you make mistakes in class and your mates make fun of you, don’t mind them, just make sure you eventually get the correct answer to that question. Okay?” “Yes mama!” shouted Mary, with excitement, any questions? Asked, Mrs. Williams. “Yes. Can I sing now?” “Sure.” She replied, laughing heartily. Are you excited as well? How would you feel to see your child become a renowned gospel musician sometime in the future? Proud, I suppose. Then why do you discourage her when she tells you to buy her a musical instrument? Why do you yell at your child when he returns from playing football? Why do you beat her whenever she builds houses with the match boxes in the house? Halt. I don’t need an answer. They may be troublesome and stubborn, but she’s unique. All she needs from you is a little counsel, cheer and refinement. You’ll be shocked at what she’ll grow up to be.
Take Away Tips
☻ Know your child. This is absolutely important. You need to know what your child is best at doing; no child is useless. A child that is not academically sound will definitely be excellent in other areas.
☻ Avoid comparison. This is a very sensitive issue. Do not compare your children with their siblings, friends or classmates. It could be very demoralizing. If you need to address an attitude in a child, do just that; never say another child does better.
☻ Develop their self-esteem. This will bring out the best in them. Tell them not to see themselves as inferior to their peers. Instead, make them accept and appreciate the goodness of God in their lives. Let them realise that they are fearfully and wonderfully made; specially created in God’s own image.
☻ Focus more on their areas of strength. Develop your child’s strong areas, no matter how little the child is.
Some children are excellent in sports, music, art or dance; please, encourage them.
☻ Tell them how it’s done! Help your children try out what they think is impossible. Make them know that it is only by trying that we learn to succeed in life, and most importantly, that failure is just an event, not a person.
☻ Reject their bad attitudes! Don’t reject them. While you do this, also work on their weaknesses, to maintain a balance.
☻ Value their uniqueness! Cherish your child’s skills and talents. Show genuine interest in their abilities; it’s always more effective than mere praise.
☻ Never make fun of them! And avoid making reference to their past mistakes. Mistakes are an inevitable process of the learning experience, so use your children’s mistakes as an opportunity to teach and assist them.
☻ Be realistic! Don’t try to impress them with empty promises. Try these, and you’ll get today, a glimpse of their sparkling tomorrow!
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