Making the right choice - an essential life skill

“LIFE is about choices. Make them wisely to avoid regrets in your years ahead.” I remember my dad's sage advice to us when we were growing up.

Today, our lives revolve around many choices. For example, on food (organic or non-organic?), for media (traditional or digital?), about financials (cash or credit?), and the list goes on. The financial crisis today is a good example of the consequences of offering far too many investment instruments that the general public (and even the financial institutions themselves!) may not have the ability to discern the choices offered.

In the same context, our children are spoilt for choices in a world flush with information, media bombardment, enticing entertainment options and endless fads and fashion items that compete for every dollar we pamper our children with. Given all the distractions, our role as a parent in preparing our children to make better choices must be seen as teaching an essential life skill. This can start with parents taking the interest and time to participate in some of the critical decisions that the kids are starting to make:
  • Academic growth
In Singapore, we stream our children as early as 14 years old into either the Sciences or the Arts. This streaming exercise is likely to affect his subsequent career decisions, making it critical to help direct him to the appropriate course based on his interest and inclination. Thus it pays to observe your child’s inclination in his area of study and help him to better appreciate his educational experience.
- What are the subjects that he is interested in?
- How do his better-performing subjects reconcile with his area of interest?
- How can you inspire and motivate him towards realising his academic ambitions taking into consideration his actual performance?
- If he shows little or no interest in his studies, how can you help to motivate and direct him to reap optimal benefit from his school time?
- What about other talents and skills displayed by your child that you can help to groom?
  • School environment
Environment is an important consideration in a child’s development journey. The type of school he chooses especially for his secondary education will set the stage for his higher academic pursuits as well as to determine the network of friends that he will establish in life. Apart from grades, help your child to settle in a school where its culture, philosophy and educational approaches satisfy a truly holistic approach to development. Should your child choose a school simply based on where his friends are going, alert him to other potential factors which he could have neglected due to his lack of maturity and experience.

Choices and your value system