Children must enjoy what they study

Parents want their children to do well in "useful" subjects (Parents must change mindset towards the arts, by Mr Michael Zhou Xizhuang; April 30).

By "useful subjects", they often mean only subjects that enable the child to profit financially in the future, and usually that means mathematics and science.

That motive, by itself, is understandable. However, we need to think more deeply.

We eat for nutrition, but we also eat for pleasure and for social companionship. Who likes to eat a meal that contains all the essential nutrients but is tasteless?

We drink for health, but who drinks only for the purpose of hydration? We must also enjoy what we drink.

We must maintain or even increase the country's population, but who marries only for that purpose?

Who will study a second language for the purpose of "not losing his cultural heritage" if he finds the lessons boring?

Interest is a powerful motivating force. Utility alone may not provide that motive.

If a child is interested in what he studies, the sky is the limit to what he can achieve. All he needs is an introduction by his parents. If he is not interested, then schooling becomes a painful chore.

One who is forced to study engineering will at most be a mediocre engineer. Chefs who are well-known tend to be those who have a passion for cooking.

To be successful and enjoyable, education cannot be forced by external factors. It has to be a compulsive pursuit stemming from within.

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