Hear the voices of the children

AS AN educator working with young children, I read last Thursday's report ("Gifted? More kids sent for psychology tests") with great concern.

The aspirations of parents in hoping their children are gifted is understandable, as every parent wants the best for his children.

Unfortunately, the voices of children are not adequately heard by parents, teachers and society as a whole.

Children often come to me visibly overwhelmed by the amount of homework to be done and endless activities from school and private tuition or enrichment centres. They do not have much time to play, relax, develop a hobby or even sleep.

When it comes to the release of examination results, some children are very worried about their parents' reactions upon receiving their results. They often link their parents' affections to their results.

Children eagerly seek to please their parents. They find it hard to express themselves, so they would agree with the plans of their parents, only for their psychological state to manifest in their behaviour later on in life. Their academic results may suffer as a result.

Given the amount of work and stress primary-school children are already subjected to, why are we exposing children as young as two to the notion that IQ is of such great importance, compared with character building that will help every child to combat challenges to come?

Why is there even a need for "like-minded company" for "gifted" children in Mensa Singapore?

Why should children congregate based on their IQ? Aren't children supposed to interact together, regardless of race, religion, background and, of course, IQ levels? Are we teaching our children to mingle only with those who are deemed "smart"?

A child will do well only when he is humble to learn, dares to make mistakes and seeks answers rather than be spoon-fed.

How and what we teach our children impact them for life.

Employers do not look at how "smart" we are in the long run. They look at our determination to work well in spite of challenges.

That is what we should prepare every child for. A gifted person is one who uses his gifts to help others uncover theirs.

Ho Lay Ping (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2015, with the headline 'Hear the voices of the children'. Print Edition | Subscribe