Brendan is a lucky boy whom I have met while I was tutoring at a tuition centre. He was just 8 years old when I first met him, so that makes him a primary 2 kid.
I might be too detached from the primary school education system for a significant period (8 years have passed since my PSLE exams). I was surprised that he has signed up for the primary 3 science class to get a head-start in science. My class is only one out of the two science tuition class that he has. Yes, he has double tuition classes for other subjects too. And swimming classes. (Is it still abnormal to have so many classes a day?)
I heard about these before I met him. I was expecting a dejected, sleepy and stressed out boy to walk into my class for the first lesson.
I couldn’t be more wrong. He was talkative, lively, very loud and authoritarian. He wouldn’t be led by the nose. He wouldn’t sit at where I asked him to. He questions me all the time. In others’ terms, he is a naughty boy.
He is extremely petite and the absence of his two front teeth and his adorable child features creates the illusion that he is very harmless and adorable.
Why can’t I sit there? No, I won’t disturb the rest. I won’t copy answers. I will be a good boy. I want to sit here, close to other students because I hate to sit alone.
He often leaves me speechless because he is right most of the time. His flow of logic and tone exudes an emotional appeal that makes me love and hate him at the same time because he seems like a lovable naughty boy with feelings that makes you feel protective of him. For an eight year old kid, he stands out from the rest so much.
He is….. smart. Now this one is obviously what every parent would wish their child to be. Not only is he book smart, not only is he street smart, but he has an incredibly open mind for an 8 years old that makes him daring to always try something new (albeit the troubles that follow after make him seem incredibly annoying). That is a point sorely lacking in many other kids because most parents nowadays bombard their kids with so much do’s and don’ts, leaving their children to lead completely routine lives.
He has…. a father who is extremely dedicated to nurturing him. They always say ‘like father, like son’. Now this may not literally imply that the son will be very similar to his father in various aspects but that there is a strong correlation between what the father is like and how he teaches the son and what the child actually is like.
- His father corrects his wrongdoings very extensively. Brendan isn’t allowed to be distracted when the teacher is talking. He isn’t allowed to be distracted by the dysfunctional zip on his pencil box because that is of secondary importance.
- His father learns the syllabus with him. They watch magic school bus and national geographic channel together. They google for answers together when they are stumbled by the questions in the science worksheet. His father always encourages him, telling Brendan that he attends these lessons so as to be a science star in the future.
- He really demonstrates to Brendan what is wrong and what is right. Brendan receives lots of complains from other students for being too rowdy and his father always make it a point to apologise to the other students and parents, then tell Brendan off on the spot. Not all parents practice what they preach to their children. Telling your child off may not sufficiently convince him that he is wrong. But apologising in front of your child will convince him so.
He is…. very insistent on what is right and what is wrong. I have a bad habit of writing the mirror image of & instead for what it is. I sometimes make the careless mistake of leaving out the ‘s’ in plural nouns. He won’t rest till I correct such mistakes.
He is…. precious to me. Because he is still purely a child inside and out. A combination of innocence, curious, clueless, respectful, fearful, loud and harmless that makes him a child. Happy. He was distinguishably a happy child that thinks that his results doesn’t define his worth in life. (And if a young child could get this, we can’t we?) The phase of life that I would have liked to cling on to. I’m thankful that I get to relive this phase of life through him.
Not every child nowadays are like this. Curiosity got scrapped off in the name of discipline, respectful got suffocated by mollycoddling and happy got traded for good results instead.
Brendan reminds me of how carefree and sensible life is supposed to be like. I hope I remember that.