Columns 19.1.2016 06:00 am

Old school is cool school

Sibusiso Mkhwanazi

Sibusiso Mkhwanazi

Like you, I am all for doing the best for our kids, but can they at least come to the party.

My twin boys turned eight last week and they started Grade three, along with thousands of other pupils in the country. As a parent, I am sure you have high aspirations as well for your little ones. That is why we slave away at our jobs so that they can attend the expensive schools they do, the extra-curricular activities and everything else under the sun. I am sure it is the same in most other households where there are young ones, the negotiation is always about money.

If it was up to our kids, they would be participating in swimming, athletics, soccer, rugby, cricket, chess, choir practice and anything else that the schools offer, in collaboration with their external service providers.

When I was growing up and still attended primary school, all of these activities were free, but not in the times we find ourselves in. I bet you now that parent-teacher meetings are now impossible to be held without the input of external service providers.

These are trained individuals who know exactly what tone to use in order to make parents feel guilty for not enrolling their little ones in various activities. Calculated sentences are strung together to ensure that you feel like the world’s worst parent if your child is not part of all of these.

All of a sudden my kids must be part of a club that dances on one leg, and this is supposedly good to develop their maths skills? When last did you meet a one-legged mathematical genius dancing to a Justin Bieber song? And then there are those who will try to convince parents that there is more to school than just books.

These are the ones that plant exotic seeds in our children’s minds about how fly-fishing and the art of Capoeira are viable occupations. I was reared in a township and for my kids to ask me if they can be part of the equestrian club is a bit embarrassing, as I do not know what that even is! I had to Google and found out that it is horse-riding.

Like you, I am all for doing the best for our kids, but can they at least come to the party. Imagine forking out all that money and other resources all for your child to tell you that much dreaded sentence at the end of Grade 12: “I want to be a DJ.”

 

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