Many parents expect a great deal from their children. Over the years as a teacher, I have seen many students cracking up under pressure, breaking down in tears right in front of me…and my heart went out to them in their predicament but all I could do was to try to console and comfort them, that was all. I could not confront the parents; they would probably just say, “He’s MY son. Who are you to tell me what to do?” or deny everything.
I have heard horror stories of parents beating up their sons just because their grades dropped a bit in the examination…and they are already in Form 5 or Form 6 when in fact, the poor souls were already desperately doing all they could to live up to their parents’ hopes and expectations. Some may not inflict physical punishment but their scorchingly caustic remarks will pierce into the innocent children’s hearts, leaving them emotionally scarred for life.
I was watching this video excerpt from the one of my favourite movies, “The Joy Luck Club”. The daughter felt that she was a disappointment as she was never what her mother expected, to which the mother replied, “…not expect anything…never expect…only hope in best for you…It’s not wrong to hope…”
Likewise, I can understand that my students’ parents have noble intentions but they do not seem to see that in pushing their children too hard – way beyond their limits, they are hurting them – body and soul. In the video, the daughter replied, “…Everytime you hoped for something I couldn’t deliver, it hurt…It hurt me, mummy…and no matter what you hope for, I’ll never be more than what I am and you never see that…who I really am…”
Everyone is an individual in his or her own way, and not everyone can be everything. The sister was one sophisticated lady and earlier, the mother remarked, “You can’t teach style…must be born with it.” Likewise, not all can be doctors, engineers, accountants – all those “prestigious” professions along those lines. Parents should see their own children for who they are and what they are worth – what they can do and what they cannot and work within those boundaries to ensure a bright future for their own flesh and blood.
In the movie, the mother responded, “…I see you…everyone else wants best quality…you…you thinking different…’cos you have best quality heart…” And yes, indeed, what is the use of a string of degrees if they do not have…this beauty of the heart?
It is sad that some parents do not see the beauty within their children, that despite the immense pressure they are putting them through, the poor kids have dutifully suffered in silence though some may be on the verge of cracking up. I only pray that God will grant them strength to eudure the trials and tribulations and bless them with the better life that they deserve in the days ahead…
If you have not seen the movie, you can watch it on youtube – I think it is in 6 parts or perhaps more…or you can try and get hold of the DVD. It’s certainly worth buying. Or better still, go and get the book – “The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan. In my opinion, it’s much nicer than the movie and if I’m not mistaken, it was used as a Literature text in Singapore.