20100629

A LETTER TO IZA


My dear daughter,

I write this post for you. I afraid ... this might lead to some misinterpretations by others ... but I know you will understand and may find it document how you survive in the school system.

I have never anticipated this before. Only after you go to primary school, I realize that a child like you, who is a keen self learner ... would have difficulty in fitting in the school system ...

In school, there are house rules. We behave accordingly. Maybe there is some flexibility, but we need to find out and see how far it can be stretched. And, the same applies to questions in exercises, tests and examinations. They do have their model answers. And, iza, you always provide an answer deviates to the model answer, which in all cases, does have a slim chance to be accepted.

I remember once you did a research on internet on the Moon ... but eventually, you gained a "cross" on that particular question ... I told you that your answer went beyond the knowledge of your teacher ... you should be careful not going too far next time ...

I remember once I told you to hold back your creativity in subjects other than art ... the ultimate goal of an answer to a question is to demonstrate your understanding of the topic ... your teachers have been deceived by the abstraction and complication of your answers.

I remember once you needed to re-do a project. You have sticked 7 coins ( of the same country ) onto a worksheet, instead of ONE as requested. ... you searched all coins papa and mama have, tried to identify the place and the year they were issued ... you found this series of 7 coins, marked their individual value and sum up the total ... you used hours to finish the project instead of the 5 min. You were upset to be rejected. Here you learnt to stick strictly to the brief.

I remember once I found a question on a worksheet had been REWRITTEN. I was so happy to see your teacher eventually noticed that there was a problem with that question ... but you told me you were the one who rewrote it. When you knew the answer, you found the question not right.

I remember later in your P1 school life, you always wonder when to be more PRECISE, when to be more GENERIC ... you lose your confidence ... I know it is more than the question itself but the intention behind the question.

You always make careless mistakes, especially on Maths. You miss the easiest and bingo the most difficult ones. Situation has still not yet been resolved, even you check your papers for six times ...

And, this was peculiar ... you got stuck by this "SIMPLE" question ...


You were asked to circle the correct answer :
"The rabbit is ( in front of / behind ) the apple tree."
You were frozen like a stone for more than 5 min. I thought you forgot the meaning of " in front of / behind " ...
but you said,

" A tree does not have a front or rear side."

It sounds stupid. But it is not. This will not incite a disturbance to most of us (not only children) ... but to you ... I did not talk to your teachers on all of these, however I did communicate with them twice ... didn't know whether these were coincidences ... following with the discussions were reports on your misbehaviors ...

The more you (and I) understand the rules of the game, the better you (and I) play the game. And, you do better and better now.

Can't you do well in school (and exams) while maintaining your sense of wonder and astute perception of the world?
Yes. I believe in you.

Love,
mama

Thanks SO MUCH to Just me, Yanyan and Yoli, your thoughts warm our hearts. You don't know how important your words to us!
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20100628


Exam is OVER.





iza was teased by her classmates some time ago ... because she said that knowledge is not from books.
"Knowledge is from the NATURE, our LIFE and HISTORY."
iza said.
... i'm delighted because she has a broad mind. She cross references her experiences in different episodes and establishes her own belief ... i'm worried because she finds difficulty in getting along with her peers.
However, examination is only about books and worksheets ... she needs to adjust her state of mind and focus, so as to survive the exam ...
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20100625

MASKS


Excavated together with the paper bag boots and the forgotten sketch books, there were some masks i made long ago for the iza ... when she was 4 years old.
So glad that i've once made them ... they become little treasures.




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Met a firefly tonight, near the bus stop ... its flickering light is still whirling in my head.
We are blessed to be the neighbor of the beautiful glowing bugs, the chameleons, snails, cats ...
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20100623

NEIGHBORS


Our neighbors. Here is Mr. Black.



Mr. Bee ... we found it sleeping on the sill ...



" Mr. Snail!! "
" Where ? "
" See ... in the gap ... "
... iza must have an eagle eye ... how could these tiny creatures caught her sight when we were in a hugh rush to catch school bus at 6:40 am ...
( i took the pictures on my way back. )


There are at least two of them ... Mr.Chameleon ... they love to have sun bath ...


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20100618

THE MAGICAL TWIST


Iza showed me this.
My inherited tendency, my perceptive eyes, told me that it was
A SHIP
she's sending me.
" Mama, for you ...


A BLUE WHALE."
A magical thing has happened in my brain.
I suddenly saw a BLUE WHALE.
Do you see a BLUE WHALE?


What a twist in my perception!
Did a chain of chemical reactions happen in my brain ?
Now i can always see this a BLUE WHALE ...
Even when i post it right now ...
I see the tapering body, the fin and tail ...



I feel so fortunate to have this natural born time lag in connecting a thought and my verbal response ...
Always, it is a disadvantage.
But i can see its edge here.
This has happened for more than 3 weeks ...
I could still experience the magic ...

If you can delay a second, you will see a totally different picture or hear a different story.

I recall an episode in the The Little Prince.
" Whenever I encountered a grown-up who seemed to me at all enlightened, I would experiment on him with my drawing Number One, which I have always kept. I wanted to see if he really understood anything. But he would always answer, "That's a hat." Then I wouldn't talk about boa constrictors or jungles or stars. I would put myself on his level and talk about bridge and golf and politics and neckties. And my grown-up was glad to know such a reasonable person."

I just think what other possible responses would a child have ...

May be she is like iza. She will strongly protest her thought ... which makes a grown up feel disturbed and annoyed ... on her side, she will also find the person disturbing and annoying too. She will then reserve her innate thoughts and feelings to herself.

Maybe she is someone without a firm belief to herself. She will follow whatever you say and will abandon her original thoughts.

May be she is a little good one with tons of patience. She may not be masking her feelings or thoughts like the Little Prince. Whoever misunderstands her original thought, she will keep explaining ... but how long will she insist to do the same thing to the same person who always misinterprets her. She is still a nice little one but will find that person not the right one to share her thought.

......

This is something i always know but only feel how powerful this is till i encountered with the BLUE WHALE.
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20100617

PLAY





Almost for 3 years, iza swims every week all year round ...

Remembered her first lessons, she whined. Refused to even make a move. Just stood there ... for the whole course of time. I could not figure out what happened to this brave little child who extremely loved to play with water ... till she told me on her 4th lesson ...

" It is not playing. You need to follow every instruction.
Many children think it's fun ... but I don't think so. "

Her interpretation on playing stroke me and made me recall this incidence.
She was asking for toys which were without instructions. In her words, these were the play dough, papers, pencils ...
At that moment, I just felt this child need more freedom.

To me, playing was anything apart from work or school ... I did not aware the significant difference between playing with and without "instruction" or "guidance" ... Especially, in these days we all emphasize on learning through playing ... eventually, we have lots of intellectual games and toys for our children. We hope they will be intellectually trained up through playing. We maximize the benefits of playing ... and we forget something.

Till one day (at the time iza was 5.5Y already) i came across play therapy ... this made me rethink what is "playing" ...

"Play therapy is generally employed with children aged 3 through 11 and provides a way for them to express their experiences and feelings through a natural, self-guided, self-healing process. As children’s experiences and knowledge are often communicated through play, it becomes an important vehicle for them to know and accept themselves and others. "

Apart from our die hard belief in intellectual toys, we are so passionate on teaching our children through their creative playing. We are so eager to demonstrate on how to construct a car with Lego, make a little rabbit with play dough, draw something which look like what we think it ought to be like ... We do like to interpret what our children's act on their imaginary play and creations before they tell us ...

Playing without "instruction" or "guidance" is a kind of self-guided playing. Through the process, the children create their own rules, follow their feelings and emotions, flow with their imaginations ... it is a platform which they actualize their thoughts. Through actualization, they come to realize themselves. The more we intervene, the least they assert themselves.

There is a sense of alienation of emotions in those highly designed toys. The simplest "toys" allows the maximum interpretation and imagination. "Toys" can be anything. That might be the reason we enjoy least in those highly designed "theme parks"... feeling being constricted ...
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20100616