Reader’s comments: On children’s education: ‘贏在射精前’ is wrong (Part 1)

Since I began writing this blog only few days ago, I have received many comments from readers.  Firstly, I want to thank every single one of you who have read my blogs and have sent me many kind messages and e-mails about my posts.  I am extremely grateful for your support and feedback and will consider all of your views to make our blog better.

After all, this blog is a collection of stories of HongKongers.  Everyone has a story, and has a unique perspective on understanding the society we live in.  It is this diversity which makes Hong Kong so great.  If you have any comments about any of my posts, please contact me here.  I look forward to reading your comments.

In particular, I am grateful for a Ms. Chan of Shatin for her views in response to On children’s education: ‘贏在射精前’ is wrong (Part 1).  I appreciate many of the points she made and which give some good insight (from a mother’s perspective) as to how to parent our children and raise them well.  She has very kindly agreed to let me share her response with this blog’s readers.  Her email is copied below.

Hi Godfrey, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I think this collection of stories of HongKongers is a great idea and I find many of your previous posts thought provoking. I am not a lawyer, and I’m not as good as you at putting forth arguments, but I would like to share my thoughts nonetheless because growing up I’ve always put a lot of thoughts into how I should raise my kids based on my own experience and lessons I’ve learned along the way. Below are some initial thoughts I have after reading your first 2 posts of the “Children’s Education” series. Btw I’m not here to argue, I’m just looking for an intellectual exchange and I appreciate your thoughts on my views.

“There are three further assumptions here: (1) good grades lead to famous universities and (2) famous universities lead to great jobs and (3) great jobs lead to success. All three of these assumptions are not at all correct.”

(1) “Good grades alone do not lead to good universities”, but without good grades it’s even less likely to end up in good universities. Therefore getting good grades maximizes your chances of getting into a good university.

(2) “A famous degree may get you through the door to get an interview, but even if you get a good job, does that give you success?” Your argument here is a famous degree can at most make you the top employee but being the top employee you are still working for somebody (your boss, your boss’s landlord and clients, and so on). Even though you have not defined ‘success’ yet you have named people you consider successful such as “Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Ma Yun, Steve Jobs and Li Ka-shing”. Yes, these people are all bosses and worth billions of dollars, but does that mean that you can never become successful unless you’re a boss? No, what’s so successful about being a boss? A boss still has his/her own clients and investors to serve. A boss does not necessarily make more money than a top performing employee in a company. What you’re arguing implies that an employee can never become successful because he’s working for somebody. Who doesn’t work for somebody? We all are. You say that “successful people become successful because they innovate.” That’s perhaps true in the start-up world, but this is so limiting. There are so many other ways to become successful without being innovative, e.g. a doctor / lawyer is successful most likely because of his years of experiences doing the same thing, which is exactly what patients / clients value.

(3) I think success is different for each and every one of us depending on what we want to pursue, and most of us probably don’t even know what we want to pursue to start with. If even most of us adults are still figuring out what we want to do, how should we expect our kids to know what they want at such a young age and to know what success for them means? We shouldn’t. As parents, the least they can do is to provide their children with everything they need to get the good grades, good universities, good jobs, because ultimately what all these give them, is the freedom to choose what they want to pursue. The last thing you want for your kids is them forced by reality into a job because that’s the only option they could get with their resume, and one day they finally figure out what they want to pursue but they are not qualified enough to even get the entry ticket to the field.

(4) A lot of people argue that children “have a right to have happy childhoods”. I think this statement is too simple and too naïve. Happy childhoods should not be achieved in the expense of a miserable post-childhood life, which is a majority of one’s lifetime. If you ask a kid what makes them happy I’m guessing most would say playing, eating, watching TV, sleeping, and I doubt any kid would tell you studying and working hard makes them happy. This is because kids are by default short sighted and they don’t know how the consequence of their actions is projected 50 years into the future. Parents, on the other hand, having lived longer, naturally think longer term and will maximize the kid’s lifetime happiness instead of his childhood happiness, hence the saying 少壯不努力,老大徒傷悲.

(5) Lastly, I agree and would like to highlight that aside from the above points, which focuses on your children’s competitiveness, it is equally important to make sure your children grow up genuine, thankful, curious and healthy.

Best regards,

Ms. Chan of Shatin


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