One thing that bothers me most about the calamity that has struck our education, not only here but also everywhere “modernization” is taking place, is the scant regard given to the role of parents. All of a sudden, we seem to have forgotten that the role of parents in educating their children is primary and pre-eminent. And like a magnificent building with a weak and fetid foundation, the whole education edifice collapses like a pack of cards when there is a windstorm.
I still remember some of the life lessons I learnt from my father when I was growing up. I am troubled as I hope when I am gone, my own children will remember the life lessons they learn from me. Do I have as much time for my children as my parents did for me? Let the question prick your conscience too, if you have children.
It is very crucial not to leave the education of children to teachers alone, or to the ubiquitous children channels. While teachers do their job of teaching children school subjects, parents should also do their job of teaching children life subjects. Afterall, the University of Life is one where one continues to learn till one dies or “graduates”, which is the real graduation.
However, this unwholesome development, which I called a year ago “Apathy of duty” (see New Telegraph, May 28 2014 or www.newtelegraphonline.com/apathy-duty/) is more prevalent in Western or Westernising societies than the Eastern (including Middle-Eastern) ones. This is why part of the balanced education that I advocated last week would imply a happy marriage of the African, Eastern and Western education.
It is in this regard that I wasn’t surprised that the beautiful words I share below are those of a TV broadcaster in Hong Kong, addressed to his son, but also meant “for you and for me”, to quote Michael Jackson:
“I am writing this to you for three reasons: 1. Life, fortune and mishaps are unpredictable, nobody knows how long he lives. Some words are better said early. 2. I am your father, and if I don’t tell you these, no one else will. 3. What is written is my own personal bitter experiences that perhaps could save you a lot of unnecessary heartaches.
“Remember the following as you go through life:
- Do not bear grudge towards those who are not good to you. No one has responsibility of treating you well, except your mum and I. To those who are good to you, treasure them and be thankful. Also you must be cautious. Everyone has a motive for every move. When a person is good to you, it does not mean he really likes you. Be careful, do not hastily regard the person as a real friend.
- No one and nothing is indispensable. Once you understand this idea, it would be easier for you to go through life when people around you don’t want you anymore, or when you lose what/who you love most.
- Life is short. When you waste your life today, tomorrow you will find that life is leaving you. The earlier you treasure your life, the better you enjoy life.
- Love is a transient feeling. It fades with time and mood. If your so-called loved one leaves you, be patient. Life will wash away your aches and sadness. Do not exaggerate beauty and sweetness of love, and do not exaggerate sadness of falling out of love.
- A lot of successful people did not receive a good education, that does not mean that you can be successful by not studying hard! Whatever knowledge you gain is your weapon in life. One can go from rags to riches, but one has to start from some rags!
- I do not expect you to financially support me when I am old. Neither would I financially support your whole life. My responsibility as a supporter ends when you are grown up. After that, you decide whether you want to travel in a public transport or in your limousine, whether rich or poor.
- You must honour your words, but do not expect others to honour theirs. You can be good to people, but do not expect people to be good to you. If you do not understand this, you would end up with unnecessary troubles.
“No matter how much time I have with you, let us treasure the time we have together. We do not know if we would meet again in our next life.”