Get the Powers to Act from Fresh Ideas



December 21, 2012

Nothing Special, Therefore Be Very Kind

  1. Scoring in football ...
  2. Scoring in a maths olympiad ...
  3. Scoring in a violin contest ...
Nothing Special.

A few decades down the road, your kid, like James Watson and Kerry Mullis, will say, "Getting that prize in Oslo in December, is Nothing Special". When that really happens, good for you, good for us, and good for all mankind.

Proof with a Thought Experiment


Your child did something for the first time. She failed. And she stopped doing it again.

If you can rule out the following reasons :
  1. She's not interested in it anymore.
  2. She's distracted by other things that are more interesting to her.
  3. She was severely affected by the test physically. e.g. bodily pain
  4. She was severely affected in terms of physical resources. e.g. She now has fewer toys than minimum necessary.
  5. She was severely affected in terms of social resources. e.g. She now has fewer playmates than minimum necessary.
Then, we are left to assume that she may have suffered emotionally.

Then again, if you can rule out the following reasons :
  1. No one scold/discourage/shamed her.
  2. No one praise/encourage/recognized her.
What other reasons can you imagine?

Say, if other kids of similar strengths recovered sooner, we can only speculate that your child may have been hit with something harder/meaner/bigger, something special.

To you, the tasks are similar or even identical e.g. That Number 4 question on Page 123 of that Primary 6 Maths book, and in the same class, and on the same day.

To your child, the task is tougher on her than on other kids.

Who gives that task that extra strength against her?

A ball is a ball, a goal post is a goal post and yet England strikers find it hard to score esp. in important, international matches. Sports psychologists do help them, but not much.

Who makes that task special? Who adds that extra significance/strength to it? Make sure it is not you, either as a parent or a teacher.

If it's herself who generates stress and pressure, please gently show her that it is Nothing Special.

Let's not pass on our shame, insecurities, anxieties, sorrows to our kids, our students, and all the younger generation in general. This is the least we could do.

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