In a seminar we were invited to conduct in Bukit Mertajam several months ago, our host introduced us thus, (in Mandarin) to the packed hall of about a hundred people:
“This couple and their family are ordinary people like you and me. But they have managed to achieve something extraordinary with their children by teaching their own. They prove to us that bringing up children and educating them in good values can be a very loving and rewarding experience. We have much to learn from them!”
Ordinary people living ordinary lives yet inspiring our kids to be extraordinary in their passion for learning by being passionate learners ourselves. This is the essence of home education.
We cannot expect our children to have high aims in life if we ourselves are content to remain ordinary in our aims. When our kids see us pursue higher causes (or courses, if you wish), they will be inspired and encouraged to dream and to chase their dreams.
Out-of-the-box thinking is the key element to a successful education process. When we limit our minds in the neat confinement of a “box”, we are not allowing ourselves to see the possibilities outside the box. Rules and regulations, do’s and don’ts, conformity and subjugation, when followed without question or thought, is a kind of imprisonment of the mind. When we constantly question and challenge accepted norms, systems and practices, and rigorously strive to search for better ways to enhance the quality of our lives, by thinking inside the box, as well as outside the box, eventually, there is no box and we can thus free our minds to be truly creative and innovative. We will then be able to return to our Original Mind that is free and creative and filled with possibilities, unfettered by any thoughts of failure or the notion of impossibilities.
Someone asked about Amrita’s “Ticket to Nashville” plan: “What if she doesn’t achieve her target?” and my reply was, “Failure is not an option. Our kids learn to we work with possibilities in mind, and thus have no notion of fear of failure, because that is just part and parcel of the learning process.”
We would not have come so far if we were to constantly say no to them in everything that they want to do. From the very beginning, we must celebrate small successes (like having successfully passed a martial arts grading test or having improved on one’s swimming timing). Allow kids to try new ways of doing things. Let them enjoy small successes and have a fair attitude towards set backs. Children should grow up feeling that they can be anything that they want to be. And not have to try to be something that their parents wish them to be.