"Part of what motivates me to write this book is a concern that we've lost touch in education with the sheer joy of what it means to learn something new." -Thomas Armstrong, Author, Awakening Genius in the Classroom
I think I was around 6 years old, when my mum decided to put me into Piano class. I am quite sure it was an afterthought because it was my younger sister who was first put into the class. Till today, I could still remember, following my mum and sister to her classes at Yamaha.
Why was I asked to learn the piano with my sister? I guess it was my demonstration of my musical ability on the piano (which was bought for my sister to practice). Without any formal music lessons, I stunned my family by playing tunes from the TV shows on the piano. And, of course, I disrupted my sister practice sessions (and maybe, self-confidence, in the process).
My mum, a "talent scout" of sorts insisted that I should have formal training to bring out the best in me. Like all parents would do. So, I began to attend piano lessons each week in a small cramped room that was only big enough for my piano teacher, the piano and me. Frankly, I cannot really remember much of the lessons. But, without a doubt, I could definitely recall the constant nagging of my mum to practice everyday pounding in my head. This went on for about 2 years. During those two years, I did not take any practical exam, as I was averse to the idea of being graded. Fear of failure, maybe. Soon after, my dear mum withdrew me from the piano lessons. I guessed she must have realized that I was not going to amount much since I had adamantly refused to go for any practical exams.
Was I being a difficult child to my mum who probably had so much hope in me to be the next Richard Clayderman or even, a Mozart in the making? How could it be when I had actually passed my theory exam with flying color (shocking everyone in the process!)? To top it all, my piano teacher was very pleased with me and raved to my mum about my prodigious musical talent during the initial few weeks of piano lessons. But, I just wouldn't go for any exams and hated the piano lessons as the weeks passed.
Yes, I HATED the whole learning process!
Thinking back, I realized that it was the strict and pressurized formal music training that killed my interest and eventually, not wanting to touch a piano since then. Did I resent my mum for sending me to the piano lessons? Probably not, although I could still recall the agony whenever I was "coerced" to practice. I supposed my mum could have been more observant towards my change of attitudes before and after the classes. So, mum and dad (yes, you!), please observe your kid's behavior and attitudes when you send them for enrichment classes or just school, for that matter.
At the end of the day, it is your child's joy of learning that would sustain his/her interest to excel if he/she chooses to. Bear in mind that force-feeding would only do more harm than good. As always, keep a balance in whatever you do for your child. Try to put yourself in their shoes. The joy of learning that you imbue in your child would outweigh the anxiety (and fear!) that you put your child through to excel in a certain area.
Be mindful and stay balanced!
Reflect upon these Words of Wisdom:
"At times, it is difficult to keep a proper balance in our lives. But, over time, an improper balance will lead to problems."
"Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance."
About the Author:
Mike Lim is the Managing Director (and Chief Learning Officer) for Tumble Tots (Singapore and Asia-Pacific). A believer of A Balanced Child? philosophy, he hopes to inject balance and wisdom in Tumble Tots' variety of preschool educational programmes.