Pilgrim Dad brought the kids to the library yesterday. It was primarily for Athos’ benefit – he has an extended book list from school that he’s working through.
But Pilgrim Dad decided he would try to encourage Porthos (who doesn’t like books) to read as well. I was delighted until I saw the book – a war-time commando comic.
Pilgrim Dad: Hey, he now knows what ‘strafe’, ‘achtung’ and ‘luftwaffe’ mean. And the different pain levels as denoted by “AARGH” and “AAAAAAAAH”.
I roll my eyes and rest my case….
Exams are over and the school holidays are almost upon us! Which means I am once again trying to keep half a step ahead of boredom and mischief among the Pilgrim brood.
Thankfully, there are few places more trustworthy than our neighbourhood library. I’ve raved about Singapore’s library system and its treasures elsewhere on this blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that besides the books (which already offer rich pickings), NLB also carries DVDs.
I’m not sure how they determine what titles to offer – you won’t find Hollywood blockbusters or primetime TV series – but there are award-winning documentaries, instructional videos, educational CD-ROMs and the occasional classic movie.
This week Pilgrim Dad and I borrowed and watched To Kill A Mockingbird, the 1962 film adaptation of the book, that won Gregory Peck an Academy award for Best Actor. And for the kids, we’ve found the Popular Mechanics for Kids and Bill Nye the Science Guy series delightful.
I can imagine few better uses for my tax dollar!
MOE has just announced that it will suspend AWARE’s sex education programme.
The statement says that “Today, schools are allowed to engage external vendors to supplement MOE’s sexuality education programme. MOE has reviewed the internal processes for selecting and monitoring vendors and found that they can be improved. MOE will put in more stringent processes to ensure that training materials and programmes delivered in schools are in line with the Ministry’s framework on sexuality education. Schools will suspend the engagement of external vendors until the new vetting processes are completed. The Ministry is also reviewing ways to provide parents with more information about sexuality education in the specific schools that their children are in.”
About AWARE’s sexuality education, MOE said that “in some other aspects, the Guide does not conform to MOE’s guidelines. In particular, some suggested responses in the instructor guide are explicit and inappropriate, and convey messages which could promote homosexuality or suggest approval of pre-marital sex.”
You can read the full statement here
The whole saga at AWARE has left me troubled. I didn’t like how the new guard came into power and their inability to articulate a coherent position and direction from the get-go. But I was also upset by the subsequent savagery online and offline that demonised Christians.
A friend sent me this beautiful (and chastening) video.
We’ve been trying to teach Aramis to say “please may I have” instead of “I want”. Here is a little anecdote from today that demonstrates how he’s doing so far:
Aramis: What’s in your cup, Mommy?
Pilgrim Mom shows him.
Aramis: Is it Ribena?
Aramis grabs cup to drink.
PM: Hey, that’s mine!
Aramis: No, mine!
PM: How do you ask me nicely?
Aramis: (in gentle dulcet tone) It’s mine.
Pilgrim Dad and I were latecomers to the school of spanking. We were both squeamish, hadn’t sat down to establish what the rules of engagement were, and were not particularly consistent.
Then one day, I heard a pastor expound on Proverbs 22:15; and 23:13-14. The same day, we had dinner with family friends, comprising mostly couples who were a generation older, and their grown-up children. I asked the elders if they had spanked their children, and they all looked at me as if that was an exceedingly naive question.
“Of course!” exclaimed one. The cane seemed to be the preferred implement. One person shared that for severe infringements the wrongdoer had the privilege of fetching the cane. Someone else said that there was one period where the children figured out how to hide the cane and she had to keep buying new ones.
I couldn’t help but wonder. Within this (statistically-not-very-representative) council of elders, there was a 100% incidence of caning. All their kids are now in their 20s and 30s, and as far as I can tell have good relationships with their parents, and seemed none the worse for wear. Of course, I don’t know what might have happened if their parents hadn’t caned them. Still, this group’s example, and the biblical admonition, seemed too sensible to ignore. (And this is Singapore after all, well-known in the international community for its position on corporal punishment as embodied in the famous case of Michael Fay.)
Recently, there has been some national introspection about whether we are becoming less rugged as a people. It’s not something anyone can answer scientifically, but judging from the anecdotes, the answer is an unsurprising yes.
This op-ed from Red Sports speaks to that subject, and I must say it was discouraging to read that the numbers participating in track and field at the school level is on the decline. Not to mention schools giving up Sports Day. And defocusing on those sports in which they are unable to win awards
Have we lost sight of what’s important?
At least one school hasn’t. Seng Kang Primary has daily PE. And if you know anything about the primary school curriculum, then you’ll know how much vision and leadership it takes for a primary school to sustain that commitment.
Good on them. And as parents, let’s encourage our schools to do what’s right by our kids.