Thursday, April 22, 2010

And while we're on the topic of honesty, sometimes I wonder why we mothers or parents in general, tend to wear this cloak of modesty when it comes to our pride and ambition for our children.

Is it so wrong to take pride in your child's accomplishments? Will we be judged arrogant and even if so, would that be so important to us what others think?

I find that whenever someone compliments me on my kids, my instant reaction is to brush it off. For example, someone says: "Your kids are very well behaved!" and I go "Oh you should see them at home - they're little monsters!"

Now why can't I just say something like "Thanks! I think they're behaving well today too!"

Is this because we're Asians and we grow up in a culture telling us that pride is immodest? That humility is the key to success?

Then things get to the point of being ridiculous. Let me cite this example. I was at Gillian's bowling tournament and sat next to a mom whose son was from a very well-known boys school. We started chatting about bowling in general and our children's respective schools. She told me that she was paying upwards of $800 a year just for her son to take bowling as a CCA in this school - apparently this well-to-do school does not subsidise bowling as much as it did for their other niche CCAs. On top of that, she paid for extra private coaching which comes up to about $55 per session - just so that her son could improve his scores since, according to her, he used to be a dismal bowler. In a month, she easily spends about $400 to $500 just on private coaching fees alone. That does not include the ball and the other bowling paraphernalia.

Then she adds the clincher at the end of it all, a modest, apologetic tinge to her tone: "Well, its really just to give him some exposure."

Did I roll my eyes at that line? No. I worked to keep my eyeballs in place but I think my eyebrows did rise a notch.

I don't know. Spending so much just for 'exposure'? Why not call it what it is - ambition? A desire for her son to do better, be in the school team, win medals, attain glory? Why is that so bad? Why not be honest about ambition? About wanting better for her son?

In my opinion, nothing to be embarrassed about.

In Gillian's case, we spend about $250 a year for school-subsidised coaching. Her grandparents fork out about $300 for a ball and we paid about $300 too for a ball and a pair of shoes which has lasted for the past 3 years or so. No private coaching. By chance she is on the school team. She is not a fabulous player. She may have the advantage of being a leftie in bowling but she still does not have what it takes to be another Remy Ong. I have no illusions about her talent. I don't want to spend money on private coaching. Now THAT is 'exposure'.

I don't know about the rest but I will work on being more upfront. Next time someone compliments my kids, I'll say thank you. Next time someone asks me about Cait and gym, I'll say: "Yeah we want her to be the Singaporean version of Shawn Johnson and if we could send her to gym bootcamp in China, we would!"

Come out of the closet O Naked Ambition!

7 comments:

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