Discern the gift in each child and focus on that

Dear Editor,

Each child is gifted

The new school year is well underway and the euphoria over the successes at the various examinations is over. I join in congratulating all those who have done well and pray that they continue along that path.

An exam that plays a very important part in a child’s future is the Secondary Schools Entrance Examination. We need to face the reality that the majority of children who write this exam are not placed in the ‘top’ schools in which space is naturally limited, but in the ‘other’ schools. Schools in which many parents do not proudly state that their children have been placed.

When a child has not done as well as was expected, how is that child treated by parents and others? Is that child compared unfavourably with the ones who have done well? Is he/she put down, do the parents feel a sense of shame?

Or is that child encouraged to keep striving, while efforts are made to find out what the child’s interests are and where he/she is most likely to succeed? Is that child given a feeling of self worth?

I knew a head-teacher of a primary school who sent off her graduating class with the words “It is not where you go, but what you do when you get there.” Encouraging words, especially for a child who may be disappointed and lacking motivation because he/she was placed in a ‘lower’ school. It is therefore vital that these children should be afforded the opportunity to excel no matter which school they attend.

Great emphasis is placed on the ‘top’ schools, but what is the state of the quality of education offered at these other or ‘lower’ schools? Are the children who go there placed at a disadvantage? Is the quality of education lower?

Each school should offer children the opportunity to awaken their interests and talents and enable them to fulfill their potential.

Importantly, each school should be adequately equipped, the environment pleasant and conducive to learning. In addition, it should be staffed with well-trained, qualified teachers who receive remuneration that affords them a comfortable living so that they can concentrate on bringing out the best in their   students.

It is said that all children are gifted, but some open their gifts earlier than others. I’ll add that some open their gifts later, much later, than others. Therefore, it is best to try to discern the gift with which each child has been gifted, focus on that gift, walk with that child, encouraging, guiding, clearing the path so that that gift can be opened at the right time as unhurriedly as a rosebud begins to unfold her petals in response to the warmth of the rising sun.

Our country would surely move onward, upward, when the children, with gifts opened and empowered to use those gifts, leave school with the knowledge and skills with which to live meaningful lives, contributing to the good of their families, their communities and their country.

Yours faithfully,

Joan Collins

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