RECENTLY, a Twitter user uploaded a photo of a banner hanging on the gates of a school in Subang Jaya, and it went viral for all the right reasons.
The banner read, “If you are delivering your child’s forgotten lunch, books, homework, shoes, instruments, etc., please TURN AROUND AND LEAVE. Your child will learn to solve problems and take responsibility for the consequences in your absence. Thank you.”
When I saw it, I couldn’t agree more.
Clearly, the school was prepared to face potential backlash or, at the very least, harsh criticism from parents, otherwise the banner wouldn’t have been hung on the school gates in the first place.
When I was growing up, my parents did a good job in teaching me the concepts of responsibility and accountability. I would be given reminders in matters pertaining to school, house chores and everything else in between. However, if I forgot to do something important, I had to accept the responsibility and impending punishment.
I remember once when I had forgotten to bring my homework to class. The teacher had reminded me countless times to bring it on that day, but it slipped my mind.
As much as I knew that I could try my luck by calling my mother, who was at home, to ask if she could bring it over to school and pass it to me, I knew that it would be a futile attempt.
I knew that I would probably get a lecture instead and nowhere closer to my homework, so I braced myself for the worst.
Needless to say, I was made to stand the entire period in class as a punishment for not doing what I was told to do.
I was the only one who had forgotten and the embarrassment hurt me more than anything else. That being said, I learnt my lesson. I told myself that I would never be careless again.
When I got home, I told my mother about the incident. To my astonishment, she admitted knowing I had forgotten something important because I had left it on my bed that morning. Feeling upset, I asked her why she had not just taken a drive to school to pass it to me.
She smiled and said that I wouldn’t have learnt my lesson if she had done that. I had no choice but to agree with her.
Her method could sometimes be misinterpreted as uncaring, but I knew that it was the right way to teach someone an important life lesson.
That was almost two decades ago.
So, when I saw the viral tweet, I appreciated the effort that the school has taken to instil good values and educate children to be accountable for their actions.
If there is one thing that I have noticed about the current generation of students, it is that many of them are sheltered and most times end up becoming rather spoilt.
They don’t bother to understand the concept of responsibility because they almost never need to bear the consequences of their actions, or lack thereof.
It is high time parents went back to how things were. Don’t spoil your child by being there a lot more than necessary. Your children will still be able to do fine in school if they forget to bring their pocket money or text- books. If anything, it would teach them to be more responsible in future.
I understand that parents do not want their children to endure pain and suffering, but, sometimes, it’s a necessary evil to educate them.
Instead of spoiling them, let them learn.
Instead of providing too much, let them seek.
Instead of over-protecting, let them hurt.
At the end of the day, it will not be for naught. They will grow up to be dependable, sensible adults.
Give them the chance to be that person by giving them the space they need to learn.
Have some faith.
The writer, a lecturer at Sunway College, is a Malaysian-born Eurasian with Scottish/Japanese/
Indian lineage. She believes in a
tomorrow where there is no
existence of racism and hatred.