Written by a licensed professional counselor, translated…
“How high would my scores have to get in order to make you satisfied?”
“I don’t look at the scores…”, the boy in his second year of middle school, with the thick glasses, shook his head at me.
“Then, how come you feel you didn’t do well?”, seeing how Cheng was only twenty points away from getting a perfect score, I felt enigmatic.
“Looking at the rankings…I only look at my ranking, in relation to everybody else in school.”, Cheng stated with something in his voice. He said, his mother believed, that by looking at the rankings, then will he know, how well he did, otherwise, it don’t matter how high you’d scored.
“I don’t want to go to high school.”, Cheng was now, wearing his soured face, “I’d worked so very hard, to get the ranks, to get myself into the top high schools of my choice, and by the time I’d entered, and when the other students are better than I am, I will fall even farther in ranking, wouldn’t it be making more pains for myself……”
“Hardship, depressed”, was the feeling that persisted, throughout the conversation with this young man. There lived others’ expectations inside of Cheng, instead of the expectations he set for himself, and, Cheng’s not scoring high enough was, actually the parents’ belief of him, not doing well enough.
I’d once invited a child to jot down his good qualities, he’d written them down, but erased them, changed them, altered them, toward the end, he’d given up on naming his own good qualities. I’d asked him what he’d wanted to put down, he said, “I don’t know if all of these would be considered my good qualities, because my mom tells me that I don’t perform as well as A in school, I’m not as conversational as B, and I wouldn’t help her clean up the house like C would………”, in this process of comparison, all we see if what others did, and ignored that every child IS different. In truth, Cheng had worked at the marketplace with his parents after school and on weekends and holidays, rarely had time to hang out with his peers, and he was still able to maintain the top scorers of his class, and, although he’s somewhat introverted, he’d kept the quality of working hard.
Shouldn’t this child gain the affirmations?
There’s a Taiwanese idiom, “talking trash about one another, to get each other to improve.”, meaning that through comparing, finding one’s own shortcomings, so one can improve for the better. Comparing is not all bad, it could help us to know the differences between ourselves and others. And still, when we’d constantly compared our own with someone else’s child, we often only see the other people’s kids’ better qualities, and slowly, we’d ignored the great characteristics of our own offspring.
You may not agree, “It’s not true, comparing ourselves with others, we’d see other people’s good qualities, as well as their not-so-good qualities, to show that we’re not that bad ourselves, right?”
In the film, “Taare Zameen Par”, the eight-year-old boy would often mess up his family and school life, not only wasn’t he able to complete his school assignments on time, focus in class, had lots of arguments with his classmates, and no matter how hard he was disciplined by his school instructors or parents, he wouldn’t change, and they’d just about, given up on him. Until the new substitute came, and shed light on his learning disorders, did everybody start understand his hardships, and, although his problems couldn’t allow him to fall into the norm of sitting still and listening to the lectures, making better grades, but his wild imaginations and his rash use of colors, had made him a talented artist, allowed him to earn the first place trophy of the art competition from his school.
Maybe at the time when you’re pushing your child, as teachers and parents, we could also act the role of mentor; no need to compare with anybody else, and can see the preciousness of each and every child. A line from Nikumbh from the film, “the child only needs to be acknowledge for what s/he’d done right, give her/him the affirmations, and help her/him build up her/his confidence in life.”
And so, this, would be the IDEAL way to teach, wouldn’t it? but at this day and age, when everything IS rushed, who has the time to take, to figure out if a child is dyslexic, is ADD, or whatever, and, the school teachers still treat the kids as if they’re CLONES, learning in the ways that the MAJORITY of the population learns in, without realizing, HEY, what happens to those minority group of kids who don’t learn the same ways as the rest of us? Oh yeah, they get labeled as “conduct disordered”, “troublemakers”, and get sent to ISS a lot!!!