1 February 2014

It’s so common today to see parents eagerly signing their children up for tutoring classes and striving for the highest grade in every subject. Most of this goes beyond the child just working hard at doing his or her best (which is important), it is about being better than everyone else around him or her (which is not possible). I am not against the notion of tutoring and believe it does have its proper place. But i am against the neglect of character education.

Tutors can only teach a child the ability to master a particular subject. But they cannot teach the child the importance of learning a subject or the reason for working hard. Character is just as important, if not more important than maths, language, art and science. Children need to know that they are valued more for who they are, rather than what their report card says they are.

What endears me about a child, or in fact any adult, is not his or her academic ability (or financial status), but rather the thoughtfulness, awareness of others and personality. If good character is lacking, the academic astuteness is meaningless (and so is his or her financial means).

You can supplement and correct academic performance quickly and easily, but character forms early and is much harder to change. One of the main roots of this problem is comparison. If we compare academic abilities of other children in front of our children or for that matter, if we openly allow our children to compare themselves against others, whether it be studies, toys, standard of living etc, we are feeding one of the worst poisons to character.  Let’s be honest, we compare. All the time. I can’t stop it, but i would definitely prefer my child not to have this comparative spirit. On a side note, being competitive is not always wrong, but i do not see any good coming out from being comparative.

There could be other traits that do no good to ones character, and it is really up to us as a parent, to maneuver the next generation away from these self-defeating characteristics. Children look to parents for such direction in life. There is no one else who influences a child more than his or her parent. No teacher, tutor or friend could do so much good or so much bad to the development of a child.  And if we ourselves recognize that we too are full of faults, there is none other we can look to as a role model, but to our perfect and faultless one, Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the truth, and the life and the way”.

Jesus, may your character and your life be the focus of my education, the focus of all that is missing and the focus of all that is good and true. May my children grow to know you and receive you as their Lord and may your Spirit form in them the character of Christ.


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