Teach kids skills to live in gracious society

Students from Westwood Primary School celebrating Racial Harmony Day.
Students from Westwood Primary School celebrating Racial Harmony Day.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

Madam Lily Ong's letter has prompted me to emphasise the importance of "inculcating good habits in the young" (Cultivate good habits among young, July 29).

We spend a great deal of energy teaching our young people the skills to enter the future job market, and rightly so.

But we often forget that it is equally important, if not more important, to make our young people grow up with good attitudes and behaviour to foster a harmonious and gracious society.

Hence the importance of inculcating good habits in our young not only in the library, but also in all public places where civic-mindedness and common courtesy should be second nature to them.

I am a hypnotist and have been studying the mind and human behaviour all my life.

Inculcating good behaviour begins at an early age. From day one till the age of five we learn languages and behaviour by observation and imitation.

This "soft programming" at an early age is subtle and effective and remains deep in our subconscious for the rest of our lives.

In other words, it is the basis of our character in adult life, and both the home as well as the pre-school environment play important roles.

Focusing on the home environment, if we want our children to grow up with good behaviour, parents must set the example. If the father is constantly shouting and using expletives, the children grow up behaving the same way.

In Singapore, we have to be aware of the child's home environment where maids practically bring up the children.

Parents need to be mindful of this all the time.

We need to bring up our young children not only to fit into the workplace, but also to be good citizens living in a harmonious and gracious society.

George Wong Seow Choon (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2019, with the headline 'Teach kids skills to live in gracious society'. Print Edition | Subscribe