The pressures of a child going through early childhood education doesn’t just wreak havoc on the child’s life; a large part of the time, parents are also – if not more – stressed out by what their child has to go through.
In this excerpt from Dear Xander, that same pressure led to an emotional breakdown between mother and child in what was ultimately a miscommunication between parents and preschool over how a 3-year-old’s homework should be done.
It begs the question: are we putting too much stress on ourselves and our children, in the quest to prepare ourselves for the rigorous, competitive academic life that is signature of the Singapore education system?
Your mother tried getting you to write the Chinese characters on a blank piece of paper, without much success. Sensing something was up, she asked you to write your name in English; you went as far as X and A before finally exhibiting what you were only capable of writing at 39 months of age – crooked lines. Your mother started wondering what you’ve been taught in school since you enrolled back when you were 18 months old. Then she started getting angry, then anxious, then worried.
She started to cry.
You realised what was happening, and went up to hug her. you took some tissue nearby to wipe off your mother’s tears, and then started stroking your mother as you would always do whenever you think she’s sad. You started crying as well, and in between breaths, you said to your mother, “Mummy, don’t cry.” confused and not knowing what else to say, your mother replied, “But you’re not writing your words.” And then she cried even harder.