I got a call from an e-learning institute yesterday. They wanted to know if I’d be interested in enrolling my son for any of their “special” courses.
“Well, not really,” I responded, “coz my son is just three-and-a-half.”
“Well, sir, this course is for kids 6 months and above,” the woman on the phone explained.
“Um, okay. Not interested.”
“But why?! We’ll teach your child to read, write, and it will be a very engaging experience for him. Most importantly, his IQ will improve significantly,” she persisted.
“Well, I am sure your course is as good as you claim it is, but I am not very keen to raise my son’s IQ at this age. And as far as reading and writing go, I am sure he’ll pick it up when the time is right.”
“That is true, sir, but your son won’t have a competitive advantage,” she corrected me.
“Well, ma’am, I understand where you are coming from. But I am going in a completely different direction with regard to how kids should be raised. I am not eager to have my son compete with other kids in any sort of rat race. At his age, I’d rather he just enjoy being a child.”
She finally got the message and hung up. But the gist of what she said lingered in my mind. Was I being unfair to my kid by not letting him gain any sort of advantage in a competitive world? I debated that in my mind for a while and discussed it with my wife when I got back home. We had decided long ago that we wouldn’t let our children be sucked into the rat race like we were. We decided to stick with that.
I am not at all undermining the value of education—yes, it is important. However, the school can only teach a child about the world around him. It is a parent’s responsibility to show a child how to live and breathe and walk confidently in that world. We parents have the power to influence our child’s character, his thoughts and views positively. However, we only have a small window of opportunity to do that. Once that window closes, it is hard to open it again. Then, the world takes over. Whatever a child absorbs at a young age remains with him forever. That’s why the Bible advises: “Train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
There are two lasting gifts you can give your kids: one is wings, the other is roots. Your decisions today will shape your child’s tomorrow. Give your child the best education you possibly can. But please remember that education is not a substitute for good character. Education may help your child earn a lot of money, but it may not help him spend it wisely. Education may help your child land a good job and find a good spouse, but it cannot guarantee a happy life or a happy marriage. In my personal opinion, character formation is the primary duty of every parent. These are your kids. Don’t expect the school or anybody else to raise them up for you. They are your responsibility. And if you raise them well, they will be your reward.
Want your kids to be special? Be a special parent.