Relax, why turn childhood into a race for results?

Children need time to play and learn best when they are ready, as a swim star, school principal and education minister remind us.

ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO
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When I was eight years old, my swimming coach at Toa Payoh pool asked my parents to send me to train with the Singapore Amateur Swimming Association. "Let's see if she can swim for Singapore," my coach said.

My father said no. He wanted me to focus on my studies, and was reluctant to send me to the pool at the crack of dawn six times a week to do laps. Did I as a result lose out on a chance to become a swim star?

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 26, 2018, with the headline Relax, why turn childhood into a race for results?. Subscribe