Sunday, August 14, 2016

Will children end up hating Joseph Schooling?

Posted by Dawn at Sunday, August 14, 2016
This week or to be exact, just these two days (What?Only two days has passed since Joseph Schooling won our nation's first Olympic gold medal? Felt like a long time from the barrage of media coverage), it has been a SCHOOLING craze. From the moment I wake up and open my Facebook, there's a ton of posts and news all about him- his past, his glories, the international news about him and even his stopover at an airport before returning back to Singapore. Also, not forgetting, the amount of jokes that was circulating as well.

Anyway, as a parent of two young children, aged 8 and 9, I am concerned not of the attention Joseph is getting. Of course, he deserves it. Afterall, he has worked so hard for it and achieved not only an Olympic Gold Medal but an Olympic Record! If I could, I would also wish to welcome him back at the airport tomorrow morning. I am concerned about the aftermath of this..

From the parenting point of view, I am concerned that parents may give undue pressure to our children because of this. To be honest, I am a little uneasy when people give comments to other parents that their child would be the next Joseph Schooling or Joscelin Yeo. Yes, dreaming has become more a reality when "there was a time when people said that Singapore won't make it, but we did" and I am not saying we shouldn't dream. I am a huge believer of dreams and making sure that we spend each day a little closer to that dream. What I want to emphasize here is that I believe that we are all created unique and the last thing I want to see is to see the next generation growing up unhappy and losing that sense of awe and wonderment when they achieved something because they didn't even believe or buy into it in the first place. I want to see the next generation find their own purpose in life and become what they were meant to be.

Just last night, I attended the NUS Alumni Family Day where we caught the movie, "Kung Fu Panda 3". One of the quotes that I remembered so clearly between the Master Shifu and Po, the panda was..
Po: Teaching? There’s no way I’m ever gonna be like you!
Shifu: I’m not trying to turn you into me; I’m trying to turn you into you.

This is exactly what we should want from our children. Not to turn them into the next Joseph Schooling or Joscelin Yeo, but to guide them and turn them to be what they were created for...which I am sure will be a greater purpose and meaning than what WE WANT for our children.

 I am not sure if this craze has led us to end up comparing our children with Joseph Schooling or not but I sure pray that we should pick up the positive style of parentings that Colin and May Schooling did for Joseph throughout this whole swimming journey instead.

Here's what I have learnt from them:

1) Let your child dream his own dream
At the age of 6, Schooling told his parents he wanted to be in the Olympic Games

2) Get involved
Be supportive of your child's dream and not brush it aside as something that won't earn much money and useless. I think this is a huge factor of your child's success.It's amazing and mind boggling to see the tremendous effort put in by Colin and May.

Aside from the bone-mass study for their son to see if he would go far in this swimming journey, documenting every swim meet since he started to race at 5 years old to preparing a goal or target schedule for him, taking serious interest in it by building an extensive swim library at home, took the swimming association official's credential test, technical officials course, attended courses and lectures conducted by experts as well as playing host to many visiting Olympic Swim Teams so as to learn from them...the list just goes on and on...

They literally invested their time and effort in supporting their son every way they can so as to help him realise his dream. (oh, and not forgetting submitting scientific studies, documentations, newspaper clippings to Singapore Sports Council and to authorities involved to defer their son's NS)

3) Enjoy time with your child
From the articles and news coverage I have been reading, its so evident the parents' strong love for their son. They made sure one parent would be around to be with him at all times.

4) Impart good family values
Despite spending so much time involved in the sport, they also both made sure that Joseph receives proper upbringing and to raise him up with good family values.

The title of this post is as such because I do not want us to keep on comparing and nagging at our children such that every sentence when we discipline them, ends up with what Joseph Schooling did right and what they did wrong.

Let us learn from what Colin and May did right so that we stand as coaches and mentors for our children instead.

Happy Parenting the next generation!


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