That Wonderful Plan for Our Children

Christopher came home last Friday with a letter signed by a “Datuk”, Chairman of his school Board. It has a wonderful plan for our children. It’s called “Nurture Class” or “Tuition Class”. Both terms are used in the letter.

Our children will start their class at 7:15 am till 4:45 pm. The morning session is the usual classes and ends at 1:00 pm. There is a lunch break of one hour. From 2 pm to 4:45 pm, our children will participate in the extra-curricular activities like games and uniformed groups (from 2 pm to 3 pm)and from 3 pm to 4:45 pm, our children will be grouped into different classes for extra lesions/tuition on subjects like English, BM, Science and Maths.

It costs a total of RM77 for all the extra activities. RM60 for tuition fee, RM10 for the extra-curricular activities fee and RM10 for air-cond charges.

I am amazed by the effort of the school to offer us with the secret of successful learning.

Christopher, the lawyer-to-be (yes, he wants to be a lawyer), told me he said this to the teacher –

“The school is taking away our quality time with our parents.”

I was moved to tears. Yes, I am still. As a working mother, as a mother who frequently travels, I really have nothing to shout about on the time I spend with my children. Yet, Chris talks about “quality time”.

Yes, that wonderful plan really leaves the children with no time with the family. We will miss the time we have lunch with our children. We shall miss the time when our children follow us in the kitchen, talking, dipping their fingers into the delicious food and licking them while we lovingly hit their hands. We shall miss many, many wonderful moments ….

Next is the money matters. It is not a big issue for me because I only have one child in that school. Added to the RM10 that the parents are now paying for the computer fee, each child has to spend extra RM87. Many parents have three to four children. It would add up to hundreds. It is a burden, a heavy burden. Are we not enjoying free education? Why are we paying? My heart goes to families who are struggling to make ends meet.

Parents have not been involved in the wonderful plan for their children. One lawyer said through the local newspapers, “I have three children who will be in Primary One, Four and Five next year. I am going to bring them back as usual next year after the morning session.”

Teachers are not favouring the wonderful plan. They have sent in their petition, as published in the newspapers.

Are we left with a choice? Shall we, like the lawyer, bring the children back after the morning session and not to participate in the afternoon session? What example will we be giving to our children by doing this? Are we singling our children out from their classmates?

Is it a wonderful plan? Who is this “Datuk” who knows what’s best for our children?

As I write this, as I ponder on the pros and cons of the “nurture class/tuition class”, my window media player is playing this song by The Byrds –

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose under heaven.

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together.

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time of war, a time of peace
A time to love, a time to hate
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a reason (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to reap, a time to sow
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.

The song is based on Ecclesiastes Chapter 3. God has also a wonderful plan for our life. There is an appropriate time for everything, the unpleasant as well as pleasant experiences. All of this is God’s wonderful plan for our life. The problem is that it is not our plan for our life. If we were given that right to plan our own life, we would have no unpleasantness at all in life. But that would make us selfish, cruel, vicious, shallow, unprincipled.

We cannot know all the answers to all the conundrums and enigmas of life. Until then, we cannot play God ourselves, wanting to be in charge of what happens to us.. God has the answer –

He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11a RSV)

Let’s look to 8th Nov when the “Datuk” will explain to us what’s his wonderful plan is all about.

Updated (5:15 am Tuesday, 1st Nov) The local newspapers carry either half a page or a full page (broadsheet!)with some 20 parents meeting at the “lawyer/politician”‘s office. A petition letter to object to the full-day study programme has been prepared for parents to sign. Eight points for the objection are –

1. School management board has not consulted parents
2. The programme should be made optional
3. Collection of RM77 is burdensome
4. Students to attend tuiton class after the extra-curriculum not healthy
5. Present facilities in the school are inadequate for the program
6. Tuition class not proficient due to oversized classes
7. Time for fetching children clash with the working hours of the parents
8. Majority of the school teachers opposed to the program, thus commitment and attitude doubted

Surprisingly, Chris’ “deprived of quality time with the parents” is not found! Thoughts for parents!


4 Responses to “That Wonderful Plan for Our Children”

  1. fishtail Says:

    A private school in my area proposed something like that a few months back, and received mixed reactions. Some parents said No, and wanted to spend more time with their children. Some other parents, especially both working, welcome the idea as ‘cheap’ child care during the school holidays. Most kids don’t like the idea.

  2. RedLog :) Says:

    Kind of interesting this article or the situation you have there, (the picture of the “datuk” in the newspaper cause me to read the news article.}
    Looks like we learning everyday, the day we stop learning we will find out why. {I once heard a comment the students attending this particular school go in fancy cars either a generalistion or some truth to it.}
    I find it amusing hope it has nothing to do with Sibu politics. On point 5 objection I find it most puzzling indeed.
    Hope all the parents sort it out and pray about it. We always try to do our will, check whether it is God’s will or not.

  3. Yan Says:

    Thanks, redlog, for your comments! Whatever the parents do, always remember the little ones are watching! God has entrusted us the duty to look after their gifts to us, and sure we can look to Him for wisdom and guidance.

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.


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