Monday, January 17, 2011


I'm not a parent and I don't have any children so I'm spared from having huge ambitions and aspirations for them. Some might consider my not having children as a big loss since I will never be able to see my own children grow and develop. I don't really think much about this but whenever I look around, I see a not so healthy trend among parents nowadays and it's getting more and more serious. All parents want the best for their children and there is nothing wrong with that but sometimes, this can mean pushing these children beyond the ordinary limit and setting extremely high standards for them. Most of the time, it's not even the children who are competing with their peers but the parents who are competing to see who can produce 'more intelligent' children. I know there will be some who will not agree with me but this is still my opinion (and I am entitled to having one). Nowadays, it is nothing out of the ordinary when we read about pre-school children with special talents and skills. There are some who can solve complicated Mathematical problems, play musical instruments like professionals, read and write at the age of two, memorise a whole set of numbers et cetera et cetera et cetera. Some parents claim that their children are 'special' because the parents have come up with special methods, strategies and techniques to train their children. Sometimes, these parents demand special care, attention and privileges be given to their so-called ' gifted children'. There are even a few who underrate the current system as if the whole world revolves around their children and nothing is good enough for them. Well, I'm sure every parent thinks their children are special anyway and I believe every child is special in his or her own way. This situation has become so commonplace in our society that we have even stopped questioning whether what we are doing is actually good for the children. We are proud when another child prodigy is discovered and we hope these children are going to come up with miracles when they grow up. Remember SufiahYusof? Remember Mohd. Shukri Hadafi? Remember Chiang Ti Ming? These are a few of local examples of gifted children who somehow do not make it in the real world. They might be geniuses in their own specialised fields but it takes more than a special gift in a specific area to make a child wholesome and balanced. What about their social, emotional, psychological and spiritual development? Are these areas covered too when we make a fuss over these children? This trend of producing 'superhumans' is not limited to the academic world only. It has affected other areas too. We often hear about child actors and singers who have problems adjusting to the real world once they grow up. Michael Jackson, Tatum O'Neal, Gary Coleman, Mcaulay Culkin, Dana Plato and Lindsay Lohan are a few examples of how fame and abnormal childhood can affect a person's personality, character and judgment. Some like Drew Barrymore and Tami Stronach are lucky enough to be able to escape the traps of childhood fame. The athletics field is not spared either. A few years back, the whole world was shocked by the physical attributes of Richard Sandrak who was nicknamed Little Hercules. Now we have Giuliano Stroe, a six-year old boy who also happens to be a bodybuilder just like Sandrak. Both of them started to lift weights when they were barely out of their diapers. Scary, isn't it? It's also not unusual to hear about girls as young as four years old who undergo almost military-like training in order to prepare them for beauty pageants. Truly sad actually. I staunchly believe that there should not be any competition between nature and nurture. These two should go hand in hand. Each complementing one another and NOT completing the other.

p/s On a lighter note, maybe these superheroes above will be able to produce our much needed superbabies but until then, we still have to depend on our own human genetic pool.