Each of us take-off at different points of a runway because we are created differently
If we truly embrace this truth then we ought to also focus on developing the CORE in our young so that they will TAKE-OFF in their lives at their own pace.
“We are made differently and we should be proud of it.”
We are probably familiar with the standard "life-mold" - after primary school, you go to secondary school followed by Junior College or Polytechnic. Then boys serve their National Service (NS) while girls continue with their higher education which the boys will do after NS. Next, we should get a job, find a boyfriend / girlfriend ... get married; have kids and etc etc.
Above is the common path taken by most but not all. Some will not fit into this standard life-mold which we know. How? Have we failed?
Recognise that we are different
These were my last words to the school which I taught at for 22 years (you know what they say about "last words"). I told the students and staff who packed the school hall on my last day of school that we are all differently just like the aeroplanes (big ones, small ones, for commercial purposes and for military purposes). And these planes will take off at different points of a runway because of their sizes and their make. Similarly for us ,,, some of us will do well by the end of primary school but some will not. Some will do well later. Some will do better later while some may do worse. But at some point in our lives, we will take off from our runway and eventually soar and this is because we are made differently and we should be proud of it.
“Stay positive about self, adapt to the changes and press on.”
Don't stop believing in yourself
I went on to highlight examples of people who succeeded later in their lives such as Jack Ma, J.K. Rowling, one of my ex-students and myself (got an honours degree at age 35) and asked the students what do these people have in common. All of us didn't stop believing in ourselves! I ended my session with these 3 CORE values which I hope they will continue to develop - positive self-esteem, resilience and adaptability. No matter what your results may be for PSLE, O-Levels, N-Levels etc or circumstances that you are thrown into, we need to stay positive about self, adapt to the changes and press on!
Parents .. please pay attention
As parents i think we need to pay attention to our children's gifts and strengths and not insist that they follow what we think it is best for them. I am not suggesting a "Hands-Off" approach but a "All Hands On Deck" approach where we identify and develop our children's strengths together. We still set boundaries for them but we set them together. We still guide and suggest what they should do but we get their inputs too. Understand that they may "take-off" at different times from their friends and that is fine. We continue to support and encourage them. They will "take-off" one day and soar. Yes .. that they will come eventually.