Rather The Pain Of Discipline Than The Pain Of Regret

Yesterday, as both father and mother, I had to go get my children’s report card. If you don’t do this, you won’t know what they have been up to in school, and you won’t know how they fare in their lessons.

Some parents take things for granted and put the onus of bringing up the children to the teachers at school. We shouldn’t. Well, I don’t do that. As I have written before, I had to grow up on my own, having parents who belong to the government, they were almost always never there to guide me when I was growing. The only reaction I would get should I not do well in my exams would be some cane or belt that would test the integrity of either the material of those things against the skin of the back of my thighs, or vice versa. And of course, once I was in college, it was all up to me to chart my own course whether I sink or swim.

Nowadays, parents are made to go to school to listen to the teachers and what they have to say about the children. And it is always good for parents to keep an open mind and listen to the teachers’ side of the story.

My day kicked off with my daughter Fazira, who is in Form One. She was involved in this group of girls made up of Britney Spears and Paris Hiltons, that she was more interested in cheerleading activities rather than concentrating on her studies. The fact that the elder two are in the same school doesn’t help because they are in the morning session whereas Fazira is in the afternoon session. According to her teacher, she was playful during the first three months…but somehow after I whacked her once, she doesn’t join that group much, and has shifted to sit next to a nerdy chinese girl. Since then, her English and Maths have improved tremendously. Although I am still not too happy with the overall results, at least she has realised the need to study hard.

Then it was Iqa, my stepdaughter’s turn. All my children undergo tuition. I got this teacher to come over to the house to teach them Maths and Science three times a week. On top of that, Iqa goes to a tuition center (supposedly a center for excellence near my place) once a week. However, Iqa did not do well at all. She flunked two of her core subjects whilst the rest were just enough to scrape through to pass. She has been sitting with an all-malay group. The problem is, all of them are bad in their studies, and as such, she is being dragged down as well. At the end of he session, I made her apologise to the teacher for failing to ask questions when she couldn’t comprehend the lessons, and for failing her subjects and potentially dragging the school’s name down. She cried. We left the classroom walking towards Hana’s classroom. I held Iqa close to me and told her how much I love her as my daughter, even if she isn’t my flesh and blood; but I was there for her and have always been since she was 8 years old. I told her that I am not going to be around for much longer, and she will have to chart the course of her life from now on. Life isn’t easy, but it can be made worse if as a parent I do not shape them up properly.

Next was Hana. She has improved tremendously since she has been mixing with her peers from other races, although she is still weak in Physics and Additional Mathematics. Both her teacher and I recommended that she spend at least an hour for each subject each day doing exercises. Nothing beats practical work.

After that, I took them for lunch at KFC. There, again, I told them how, as a child I had to grow up “on my own” with very little parental or adult guidance since I was eight. And to add to that, I was on my own in college since the age of 13. I explained to them how failing exams can affect their future. You can sit on the prayer mat 24/7 and pray for money until your forehead has permanent scabs, but if you do not put in any effort, your luck will not change. Not a single sen will fall from the sky.

In the end, we went back home, and I made them draw up a new timetable for them to study, and have reimposed the Wednesday Is English day programme. This time I will have to give them more weird words for them to find out the meaning and form their own sentences.

It isn’t easy being a parent…what more having to be both at the same time. But these are God’s little challenges, and the responsibilities He gave me that I have to shoulder.