Wednesday, December 9, 2009

PSLE results and the great thanksgiving

Ok, I'm all done with my holiday posting and as promised, I'm going to share Lesley-Anne's PSLE results.

This is one of those posts where I had to think long and hard about how to write it because it's such a personal matter. I pondered over whether it was necessary to advertise my daughter's results to all and sundry on a public blog. At the same time, many parents have been faithfully following Lesley-Anne's education journey on this blog over a year and cheering her on. For this reason, I felt a sense of obligation to my readers, to provide a proper closing to this chapter in her life.

As I reflected on it further, I became convinced that I should share her results, the reason which will be revealed at the end.

That Friday before the results, Lesley-Anne's piano teacher told her, "All the best! But no matter what you get, give thanks." That was clue no.1.

In the school hall before they released the results, the teacher in charge led in the singing of two hymns, one of them was "Give thanks." Clue no.2.

The principal exhorted parents to accept whatever results their kids got as God gives everything purposefully. Clue no.3.

The atmosphere was so tense I could practically feel the anxiety of both the parents and the students. Finally, Lesley-Anne got her results - 252 for her T-score, 3 A* (English, Maths, Science) and 1 A (Chinese).

When she first showed it to me, my mind was a jumble of mixed emotions. On one hand, I was truly pleased with the 3 A*, I honestly didn't expect her to get A* for Maths and Science. On the other hand, 252 sounded like a lower score than what GEP kids would typically get.

So there I was trying to digest the news, not really sure how to react. Then I saw Lesley-Anne among some of her friends who'd scored 260+ and 270+ - she was genuinely happy for them without any tinge of envy, and more importantly, she was happy with her own score. And the thought flashed across my mind, "if she's not comparing with others, why am I?"

That night when she was saying her prayers, she said "Thank you God for my results" with such honest and simple gratitude that I was moved. I don't want to be overly dramatic and say that I had an epiphany there and then, but I think I finally understood what true thanksgiving was all about. On hindsight, the three clues were probably God's prompting for me.

Too often, we give thanks with conditions attached - only when God gives us exactly what we want. But we are told to give thanks in ALL circumstances. How do we do this? By understanding and acknowledging that God gives us everything for a reason, there is no accidental gift. Every gift is designed to build us, mould us or serve a larger purpose.

This is not rationalisation, as some cynics might believe. As I reflected on how far Lesley-Anne has come, I realised that we were seeing God's long-term plan for her in action. Back when she was just 9 years old, He led her into the GEP which provided the kind of education she needed. Through the GEP, she was led towards applying for DSA to the secondary school that she loves - one that we didn't even consider a year ago.

During her time in GEP, Lesley-Anne had never been among the top rung of high achieving students. While some GEP kids cruised their way through the programme, she has always had to work extra hard just to keep up. What she lacked in pure brilliance, she made up with hard work. Throughout this year, I have seen Lesley-Anne dedicate immense effort, initiating extra revision time on top of what the teachers doled out. From seeing the effort she put in, I know this was the best score she could manage, and therefore, there was nothing to be sorry for and everything to be proud of.

And once again, God had everything in place - since she has already been successful in her DSA, her PSLE score is in fact, inconsequential.

So to cut a long story short, I decided to share Lesley-Anne's results not simply to satisfy the curiosity of readers. Truth be told, the T-score is just a number, a child is so much more than that. But what I have gained as a result of this whole exercise is a lesson in the true spirit of thanksgiving. It is something that Lesley-Anne understood better than I did, and it's a message I feel compelled to share, especially in the light of the Christmas season.

We are richly blessed, and by giving thanks, we know this more.

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." - Proverbs 19:21


Lilian said...

You did it :) I know you found it hard writing this...but you did it...and so beautifully too.

I hunted for the email I sent you right after you told me about L-A's prayers that PSLE result night; what I said then is how I feel still after reading this post:

"I love how L-A is not comparing with her friends! She's an amazing kid. It's all the comparing that makes people unhappy in life, I'm chief culprit."


"Ahhh, I feel so happy when I hear how grateful L-A is, and how thankful to God she is. It is indeed a day for Thanksgiving! For all the wonderful mummies and kiddies :)"

And Congratulations to L-A once again. I just know she will continue to do brilliantly in her secondary school.

hans said...

nice posting mom.......

monlim said...

Lilian: You know, there's another thing I truly give thanks for and that's mums like yourself who are there to support and encourage during difficult or confusing times. Your counsel has helped immensely in giving me perspective. Thanks a million!

naggo-nitemare said...

Having the opportunity to thrive in GEP and to emerge from it as such a mature and balanced young lady is already a huge success! My heartiest congratulations!

PSLE to me is never a gauge of how brilliant one is. Many hv been tutored to be exam smart, or hv slogged through piles of past papers and assessments, and their hard work rightfully awarded with high T-scores. But education is a never ending journey of self exploration and to find one's passion. The heavy demands of GEP has placed on L-A's young shoulders since p4. Despite the demands of GEP, her performing so well at PSLE speaks volumes of her capability and determination.

Once agn, from reading her essays posted here, i am totally impressed with her undeniable talent in writing.

L-A, you are an amazing young lady and do hv a blast in ur sec sch! Make many many new friends abd grab every opportunutinity tt comes ur way! God bless!

monlim said...

NN: "Education is a never ending journey of self exploration and to find one's passion." Well said! Thanks so much for the encouragement :)

Lilian said...

"Your counsel has helped immensely in giving me perspective."

Likewise my friend...likewise.

And L-A's genuine delight in her own as well as her friends' results is also no accident, it's due to the down-to-earth, God-focussed, and sensible upbringing by you and Kenneth. We all have much to learn from you guys.

Anonymous said...

Wowwwwwww A* for Math, the killer paper!! I don't think I can even do it despite my love for Math. And A* for Science and English is even more beyond me...*kudos* Now these days, Chinese standard is so high that I don't think A is something managable by me.

Congrats L-A and proud of you in every sense, from your results to your sensibility and beautiful character.

Mon, charming message from your sharing, I shall remember that. Sometimes we are so lost in the worldly things, we forget the most important things. To be candid, a number cannot determine who we are accurately, otherwise I should have named my child Gazillion or Infinity to align with the mindset. LOL

As NN said, it is already a feat to be in GEP and able to write so well with a passion that is sustainable rather than just scoring for exams.

Well done L-A and Mon! :)
Thanks for sharing.


monlim said...

Thanks QX! Well, I've since discovered the even the A* and A, etc are moderated, which makes the whole process less transparent, IMO. But yes, we're still very proud of L-A and many thanks for sharing in this whole adventure!

Anonymous said...

Mon, it is only with wisdom that you can blog everything so appropriately as many things are so personal. I must say it also takes alot of courage to share this whole adventure as there are many people's feelings you have to manage, I don't think I have such courage to brave the adventure publicly. Plus like you say the lack of transparency of the PSLE scoring and all, makes it tough for us to predict our kid's results. Unlike 'O' levels, even if it is moderated, at least it does not "artificially" move the score to a reference score like 300. I wonder why they cannot adopt the 'O' level approach for aggregate calculation to move into secondary schools but make the moderated points more granular, eg. 95-100 - A1, 90-94-A2 etc...then sec schools accept aggregates 4-6points that of JC. I think so far people has less issues with 'O' level aggregate approach compared to the PSLE one.


monlim said...

QX: I have so many issues with the PSLE exams but I don't think anything will be done in the near future. As long as the scores are all moderated, the authorities can keep justifying that the papers are "of the same standard as all other years" since you don't really know what was the actual cut-off for A*, for example, and they can always adjust the proportions of A*/A/B/C to be similar as previous years'. I know L-A definitely didn't get 91 and above for the math paper, yet she got an A*. If it was really as clear-cut as claimed, I would love to know exactly how many students didn't meet the 50/100 passing mark.

elan said...

Dear Mon,
Thank you so much for sharing. You indeed have a lot to give thanks for - for His blessings in giving you such a sweet, mature and intelligent daughter, for bringing you and her through this GEP journey so beautifully.
Once again, you encapsulated my feelings so well its uncanny! My son had the same grades (same problems with Math) and a similar score and much the same reaction. I had a twinge too when they announced the top 35 boys and he wasn't one of them, then I saw that he was happy and proud of his results (except that he was disappointed as 4A* would have meant getting an X-box, not about his results) I realised that he had met our expectations and that he was already in the school of his choice so what was I being disappointed about? Thank God for showing us what is really important.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to L-A for her PSLE result. I dun think it's easy to get 3 A* this days.

Mon, I really love the way you wrote this post, very touching. There are so many things happening in life that we have to learn to give thanks. Your post came right in time. Thanks again!


monlim said...

Elan: I heard that your ds did well too - my heartiest congratulations! I think we've been blessed with sensible, grounded kids :)

Chris: Thanks so much, you're one of those parents who have always been so supportive on my blog. Truly appreciate it!

LadyB said...

Hey...long time no "write"! 1st of all...congrat to L-A's good PSLE result....2ndly, u r so blessed to have such a down-to-earth, confident, "big-hearted" daughter...her good character will see her through in her future undertakings :-)

monlim said...

Thanks LadyB!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mon,

I'm not very good with words. I can only say that I enjoy reading your post very much and really, how many of us can put our thoughts down so well like you did?

You are very blessed to have a daughter like LA, and LA is very blessed to have a mum like you.

And I am very thankful that I can still find a new entry on your blog. Actually you don't have to blog, but you did.


monlim said...

Thanks SC. So many mums here like you touch me so much with your support and sincerity. People like you are the reason I keep blogging!

Happy holidays :)

breve1970 said...

A very touching post, Monica. Congratulations once again to Lesley Anne! :)

Veronica_L said...

I know this may be slightly late, but Lesley-Anne really demonstrated good spirit, and her score wasn't all that bad. Congrats!

Jo said...

Congratulations on Lesley-Anne's results ! It's marvellous that if we entrust our children to Him, He will take care of everything, in His way & in His time.

Have a blessed and joyful Christmas !

"Test me in this, says the LORD Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." Mal 3:10

Anonymous said...

Congrats to L-A for the great score and to you also for letting us know about it so beautifully.
I have learnt a lot of things from reading your blog.thanks for that Mon.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mon,

I just got home from my holidays so am late in posting this.

First off, congrats to L-A on her results! I think you did a beautiful job writing this post. You didn't have to share with the internet world her results but the way you did it is inspiring.

Happy holidays!


monlim said...

Thanks so much for all the kind words, ladies. I'm always heartened by your encouragement and support.

Anonymous said...

hi , i just finished reading your book. not sure if i am reading it wrongly. but the Tscore (232) and disappointment, tears, of you rushing to her side on the poor results, etc in book seem different from this blog post ????

monlim said...

Anon: The book is fiction :)

kt said...

Hi Mon, this post really gave us a message to manage what's to come on results day.. it's been a tensed week for us, more so this morning. A very emotional situation as there were laughter and tears.. I am very thankful that my girl did well enough to go to the school she has chosen. Thank you :)

monlim said...

kt: That's great! All the best to your dd :)

Unknown said...

My child is going to a GEP school. How's RGPS? She put it as her first choice. Lately she is very demolarise by the negative comments from the folks that this school it's only for the rich,you will be oppressed and look down ...blarblarblar

How`s your feel? Should we stay in main steam? She mentioned that she is bored in main stream. But I'm worried if the rumors are real then my child would have problem coping with peer pressure and the pressure from new environment and home work...

monlim said...

I don't know about RGPS cos my dd didn't go there but I think you get your share of rich kids in all GEP schools (though the percentage is probably less in neighbourhood areas). My suggestion is to go to the one closest to your home.

Coping with a new environment is always a worry but that would be true of everyone and it's hard to pre-empt. If she's bored in mainstream, she can just try GEP and see if she enjoys it. If she doesn't, she can always opt to go back to mainstream.

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