Another dot in the blogosphere?

Being alarmist vs responding to alarms

Posted on: November 6, 2014

About a month ago, I read a political blog entry that wanted to make the point that schooling needs to change by focusing more on the child. But it did so by being alarmist. I am choosing not to link to the blog for ethical reasons.

alarm by loop_oh, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  loop_oh 

It cited the rise of suicide rates among children. If you are not familiar with the Singapore context, that blog entry might lead you to think that children were flinging themselves off of tall buildings if they could not deal with the pressures of homework or exams here.

That is not to say that kids do not face heavy stress or that there is no trend of suicide. It is simply illogical to solely blame the pressures of schooling on the trend. Like any other complex phenomena, there are other contributing and mitigating factors.

Our kids are growing up faster than we are. Ask any reflective parent and they might remark that their kids know more (and are worried about more things) than we were at their age.

Some adults here like to reminisce how they used to “catch spiders” in their kampongs whether or not they actually caught any arachnids or lived in villages. What they mean is that there was a simpler time with simpler pleasures and simpler problems.

Kids today seem to face problems that only adults should have to deal with. But our kids are resilient. They deal with the problems with solutions they come up with and whether we sanction them or not.

And there are green shoots emerging from our rotten kiasu and test-driven culture.

Our MOE is currently helmed by a ship captain who champions values-based education and has effectively declared that academics are not the be all and end all. But we need not rely on the powers-that-be alone.

Educated and informed parents are also helping solve problems via ground up efforts. I know no less than four groups of passionate individuals that meet to suss out problems with schooling. We will help our kids ourselves.

When an alarm goes off, you can panic if you are not prepared and you can blame someone else for letting you snooze. That is how alarmists react.

Alternatively, you can wake up to the problem and choose to deal with it by taking ownership, thinking rationally, and acting compassionately.

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