YOUR CHILD IS NOT A FAILURE… A GENIUS
There is this popular maxim I have come across in several books which was credited to the German-born theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein which states that “if you test a fish by his ability to climb a tree, it will live all its life believing that it is a failure”. This statement is so profound and pregnant with a lot of useful messages that could shape lives especially as parents.
It is quite depressing to note that education has been myopically reduced and limited in scope to mere schooling and most parents have been carried away by this fallacy which is quite dangerous for the nurturing of succeeding generations.
In those days, the community usually educate her people from cradle and this is done by ensuring good behaviours, virtues, trade, civic responsibilities are all inculcated in the younger generation at the same time. This is who we were before we allow external influences to take over our pristine educational system.
Now that we are here, I mean to say, now that we have accepted the unrefined and westernised educational system, I think it is important we all know that our curriculum and school system is generally not structured to allow for individual learning, innovation and most importantly, individual self-discovery.
It is common in our time to see schools absolutely labelling some pupils as dullards without any respect for their potential or personal ingenuity. How often do we see people who are low performers with respect to classroom academics but eventually excel in sports, business, ICT, Art, religion etc.
It then means as parents, teachers, school administrators, and everyone concern with education, we must allow space for pupils to exhibit their divine talents if we must succeed in developing the future generation we really wish to see.
I want to urge teachers to make it as a point of responsibility to help in identifying inherent potential in students and make a big deal out of it. Have you forgotten the ABDULLAH in your class whom you think is a failure simply because he usually comes first from behind (I am sure you know what I mean), how he designed a car and present it to you with so much enthusiasm but you never see beyond the walls of the classroom which you control. ABDULLAH may eventually be the car designer the next generation is waiting to see.
Oh teacher, I share in your pain because I am also in your shoe. However, we must live above our personal interest and make it a passion to help these youngsters identify their dream without limiting them to the myopic content, in which you divulge to them.
In my little experience as a school administrator, I have come to realise that parents seem to be the clog in the wheel of their children’s educational performance and by extension, life success simply because they are too in a hurry to see their kids speak Queens English, solve calculus and perform academic magics even at age 3. When you enrol a child of 2 years to commence formal schooling and the school will infuse into the innocent toddler contents that are meant for children who are 5 years older just to impress you so that you can retain your child and of course pay the next term’s school fees (which in most cases is their own priority anyway).
Foolishly, you as a parent will also support the school when the academic performance report indicates that your child is not academically sound and by doing so, you set the stage for your child’s failure in life. Because you have test the fish by its ability to climb the tree and now it is living its life believing it’s a failure. So I admonish you to calm down. If circumstances warrants that you enrol your child at a very young age, please never accept that your child is a failure. I remember I used to say that Nigerian parents will not mind to see that their children can read newspaper at the age of 3 as if school performance is the only definition of success.
Therefore, the next time a teacher tells you your child is a failure, ask the teacher if s/he observed any talent in your child and if no, tell the teacher s/he is the failure.