Today, many parents went to register their children for Secondary School. Yesterday, the results were sent out, and the fate of our children’s placement arrived in the form of an SMS.
For some parents and children, there will be joy, as they get into school of their choice.
For others, it may be an SMS of sadness, because the school assigned is not what was aimed for or expected.
Isn’t it strange how powerful an automated SMS can be?
For some, there will be tears of disappointment, especially if the parents and the child expected to stay within the school they spent six years of primary school in. The sense of loyalty, school spirit, friendships made, all seemingly lost in a flash. All because of the way the chips fell. All because of exam results. All because of one exam point or eleven.
They call it a Cut-Off Point. For some of us, that can literally be the case. It can feel like “cannot make it”, or “did not make the grade”, or “cut off from your friends and school”.
Cut. Off. Point.
But as we accompany our kids to their schools today, we parents must be strong and positive.
In private, we may be lamenting the loss and dwelling on the disappointment. Mothers, in particular, feel this most keenly, I think.
In front our kids though, we must be pillars, cheerful pillars, even, for our children’s sakes.
Whatever our own fears and hangups, what the child should see must be our love and support. Especially for those of us whose kids may have ended up in a school that was not a first choice. Do not let them feel like they have been rejected by their old school or feel like they are being tossed into a “bad” school.
Do not let them feel ashamed of who they are or where they are going.
See the good in every school.
See the good in the principals and the teachers who are going to spend the next four to five years molding and teaching our children.
See the good in our own children, that they can achieve, no matter what society may define as “success”.
Hold our children close. Keep their self-esteem intact. Shield them from the politics of policy, and the slings and arrows of an imperfect system. And make them feel confident and able to overcome and to excel. Our strength and optimism is THEIR strength and optimism.
And as we fork out our hard-earned money for what feels like an endless chain of expenses, for new uniforms, new books, new levels of allowance, let us remind ourselves that the most important thing is that the child is happy in the new school environment. A happy child will thrive. A sad child will constantly second-guess himself or herself.
Then after the school registration process today is over, start worrying about more important things, like whether your kid taking bus-train-LRT is better, or bus-bus is better. Personally, I prefer the bus-train-LRT route. More predictable (unless you are on the NS and EW line), and less likely to be affected by morning traffic jams.
It is a new beginning for our children. With new friends to make, new mountains to conquer, and new bus routes to figure out. May our journey ahead be a fruitful and blessed one.