Thursday, September 9, 2010

An act of affirmation

I'm writing this post on Andre's CA2 results as a record of God's blessings.

I've written many times about Andre's seemingly never-ending academic woes. After the last mid-year exams, I was lamenting over how his results don't seem to reflect his effort.

Well, for this CA2, Andre worked harder than he's ever done. I know it was tough on him, being more of an outdoor-sy child. Towards the last few days of exams, I could see that the thought of having to do yet another test paper almost brought him to the brink of tears.

He worked so hard that I actually felt apprehensive. Even though I was mustering up all my persuasive powers to encourage him to continue, I knew that if he didn't see the desired results yet again, it would be terribly demoralising for him. In fact, I tried to pre-empt this by explaining to him that in life, sometimes our efforts don't yield results but it doesn't mean that we stop trying.

During that period, every night during prayers with Andre, I asked God to reward his hard work and show him what he was capable of achieving.

Even before the results were released, we gave Andre a gift - his very own SIM card and Lesley-Anne's hand-me-down handphone, his very first mobile. We wanted to show him that we acknowledged his effort and were rewarding him for it, regardless of the results.

It turned out that I worried needlessly. To my immense relief, he did better than I expected:

English - 75.5/100
Chinese - 56.5/70
Maths - 88/100
Science - 84/100

It may not seem like much to some parents but it's a solid result for Andre. He improved on every subject from his SA1, the largest jump being Science (68 for SA1). He was one of the higher scorers in his class for maths and the biggest surprise - English section A. He actually managed 15/15 for the vocab section which blew me away as this is the boy who a week before the exams, wrote in a test paper MCQ section: "The lion slaughtered its prey." As I read his exam paper, I noticed there were some difficult definitions that I was surprised he knew.

"Did you learn these words from your reading?" I asked in wonder, thinking my efforts at getting him to read more were finally paying off.

"No, I heard them on tv." Pause. "I think you should let me watch more tv."

I'm very grateful God was so gracious to Andre. I know it doesn't mean that he will always taste success from now on but at this crucial point when it seemed like he'd hit an impasse, God sent him a clear affirmation of his abilities. The results have shown Andre that his efforts can reap rewards, and more importantly, they have given him a renewed belief in himself which is such a crucial component of life. It couldn't have been more timely.
"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." - Philippians 4:13

11 comments:

Lilian said...

What a lovely post. I'm so happy for Andre. I always feel that kids who have to work real hard will do better in life than kids who've never had to slog and still do brilliantly in exams. And to see the immediate results of his hard work, indeed we should be grateful to God.

There is also you, of course. You are a great mum. You're patient in teaching and helping him. I told you before that Andre would do well if you took over all revision of subjects with him. Sure enough, he did. So keep it up, it's only for a couple more years, just got to build a good foundation now.

15/15! WOW! Very impressive Andre, well done!

monlim said...

Thanks Lilian, you're always so encouraging! I'm a teacher only by necessity lah, it's really not a task I enjoy! Maybe it's God's way of forcing it on me, lol. I'm very grateful indeed, hope it can continue on this path for the next 2 years, then I'm home free!

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Andre....every improvement counts as one conquers self.

qx

monlim said...

Thanks QX! Long time no "see"!

ada said...

Your post reminded me of this Japanese proverb: "Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher."

What really strikes me when I read your posts about Andre & Lesley-Ann and their school experiences, is that whilst you clearly focus on their academic progress, you really do nurture their strengths and, most importantly, their spirit. I find it really encouraging to see how you put this "into practice" time and again. Such a good example for us moms!

Our society and school system very often skews the way we look at kids & learning: how much they "know" (book knowledge vs real general knowledge & common sense), how quickly they can/can't learn something, & achievements, or rather sometimes focusing too much on what they haven't achieved.

I really believe people - and children certainly - have a way of becoming what they are encouraged to be. Your post is a most timely reminder to focus on things that will have real, lasting value for our children!

Well-earned results for all the work you put in, Andre - well done!!

monlim said...

Ada: Wow, such encouragement, thank you! I guess I've seen enough many angry kids growing up into angry adults to be reminded that obsession over academic results at the cost of all else can have scary consequences. But it's not easy, I know, in our system, not to be caught up in the paperchase. I'm lucky to have friends like you and Lilian to keep reminding me what's important :)

Anonymous said...

Well done, Andre! keep up the good work!!

Mon, trust your Andre came out with the request to watch more TV....that's a good one! LOL

Chris

Elan said...

Well done Andre. God is gracious indeed.
Thank you Mon for reminding us to reward the efforts and not just the results. You are truly an example for other mothers to follow.

elan

monlim said...

Thanks, ladies!

Anonymous said...

Well done Andre. Very good set of results indeed. Keep going! With his willingness to work hard, half the battle is won. And this could be just the beginning of an upward curve for his progress. May God continue to give him strength and blessings for his studies. And Monica, you are a wonderful and encouraging Mummy.

SL

monlim said...

Thanks for the encouragement, SL! Many blessings to you and your wonderful kids too.

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