Balancing Pursuit of Excellence with the Quality of Life

Do you agree children nowadays live in a pressure-cooker-like environment? At my child’s CCA talk for parents, the head of CCA actually told us candidly that CCAs in that school are NOT FOR RECREATION! Indirectly, the school is sending out the message that we, as parents, should ensure that our kids are ‘competition material’. Stressed….Stressed…..

A CCA in Sports, UG or PA is compulsory. However, the student has to go through selection tests to get into any of them.

I am very sad to learn that one of the Sec1 students in a top school had collapsed and passed away over the weekend while undergoing his private sports training. Who knows, he may be pushing himself to train hard for his CCA trial. Crying or Very sad

Just one or two months ago, it was reported in the Papers that a sec school boy also jumped to his death over disagreement with his parents/teacher regarding his CCA choice!

I hope parents will not push their kids too hard over studies/CCAs. There is more to life than such achievements. I pity the kids nowadys; they face pressure from all sides……not enough sleep, long hours at school, numerous subjects to study, tests/exams/projects, loads of enrichment activities like ballet/piano/swimming & etc… training for CCAs……. Help! Sad

I can understand the parents’ grief. Just days ago, they should be one of the hundreds of parents, hearts filled with pride, who packed the school’s hall to attend the ceremony to officially recognise the boys as one of the school’s members…. Crying or Very sad

Just two years ago, I had the same feeling when my son came home from school at the start of the school year to tell me that one of his classmates (a GEP student) had passed away in his sleep during the Dec holidays, just before school re-opened. Some of the teachers and classmates cried. A counsellor talked to the students to ensure that they handle the situation well. The teachers created a powerpoint presentation on the boy, with photos of his life at school and got the students to make cards (probably to help them express their grief) to the boy’s parents. The boy’s parents were invited for the ‘presentation’. I was very very sad for a while.

In our pursuit for excellence, most people, especially parents nowadays do it at the expense of Quality Of Life. Is it so important to be a TOP student, be it in academics or sports? I trully symphatise with the Child, whose parents made it their motto/life’s objective/ KPI to groom their Child into a TOP since kindergarten. Learning years ahead of the cohort, memorising the dictionary and etc are strategies they use to ensure that the Child remains a TOP, at least in the 6 years of primary school life. The Child’s excellent marks, however close to full marks, are just not good enough if it is not the TOP. There can only be one TOP. Why give up so much in life just to hold on to such a title?

To quote a poem By William. Henry Davies.:


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


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