It seems uncommon for me to meet a 7 or 8 year old boy running at the 4 km mark in the forrest yestarday, so as I approached from the back, I could not but get a glimpse of him. To my horror, I really think he was in trouble. Strangely, his parents were at least 30 meters ahead. The poor boy was struggling behind.
A fellow runner heading towards us voiced out his concern, and I second it. Guess what was the response of his parents... yup "He is OK". OK? What OK? We are regulars here and we know when a kid is getting into trouble! You don't want to get to the point when he roll his eyes then discover he is getting into trouble, right?
It was not until I saw that his parents slowed down and let him take a break that I continued on my run (sure, I will miss my timing, but heh, what's that anyway? I can try that again the next round). I was also prepared to carry this boy out (yes, yes, yes, I am tired).
This incident caught me thinking how far we stretch our kids. To be honest, I can't tell what is the limit the boy can be pushed, only the parents know intimately. Yet, I think often times we danced on the thin line of crossing the fractual point. Some kids can take more pressure, some don't. Some kids just break down and never recover from that.
Parents play an important role. We need to constantly learnt and discover what is this threshold. This level is not a constant level. Due to environment (say, incidents or happenings in our kids' lives), it can vary. So, at times I find it unrealistic to push Theophilus too hard.
In fact, I was very forthright to let his maths teacher know that it makes no difference to me whether he scores 90% or 100%. In fact, it does not matter whether he gets a B- or an A+. Stretching him beyond realistic level is just going to make him pay a price that I felt is not required.
Life is more than just A+ or even a B-.
Train but don't strain.