Observations and Reflections: Hard Reading-ers

Lately I’ve noticed that I’ve started reflecting a little bit more about what I remember from my ‘growing up’ years and how Georgia’s experiences are.

The phrase ‘Hard Reading-ers’ that Georgia dropped in to conversation yesterday morning, just before school, made me reflect about how and when I first realised that  academic achievement was or rather had to be an important goal. I actually remember the exact moment the realisation occurred.

It was in Standard 3, I was nine, I was walking up wooden steps in the ‘old’ block of my primary school, Convent Pulau Tikus, Penang, Malaysia. It wasn’t as if, prior to that, I didn’t know about results and Report Books or that I did not know we had tests to take. I suppose prior to that, it never bothered me, luckily I suppose, because good results came fairly easily. Perhaps because, thankfully, my parents didn’t quite make an issue out of it.

Anyway, I digress (this is a blog about Parenting Georgia!) what I wondered really was, how aware she was of what she was capable of (in terms of academics), and whether this had any bearing on the things or work she had done in school.

She has never felt the need to tell me about what other children are doing in school, or in particular how able they are in their learning, but what I have noticed is that several of her little friends have commented on her reading books, and they have asked, how come she gets different, (harder) ones.

Clearly (or it seems clear to me) from these types of comments, they are quite aware of how they are compared with their peers (self-comparisons?), although I have never noticed this with Georgia, I do wonder why? Yet, perhaps it’s because we do so much with her that it’s a given, the work from school is going to be easy, and our conversations on her school experience focus mainly on the social aspects of it. Who did you sit with at lunch time?  What games did you play? Learning questions, are always secondary or maybe even tertiary :).

I wonder if someone will come along and point out, that my realisation of results and academics equate to a ‘loss of childhood’. I am most certain that was not the case though, as the thing that struck me most was, all it did was ignite a hugely competitive fire, I HAD to have straight As, bar Art, PE and Chinese.

Do you remember your first important realisations? Have they affected you or the way you parent?

© 2011, Li-ling. All rights reserved.


  • Over the many years I was teaching it was pretty clear to me that the kids all knew who the best readers were…also who the best runners were…and the best artists. Generally, I think when kids are young they just mention things they’ve noticed rather than make a value judgement about it as they do from about nine onward.
    Rudolf Steiner called it the nine-year change – it’s when children suddenly realise that the world isn’t the fantasy world they thought it was and they start proper concious thinking and making judgements about good and bad. It can be a scary and lonely time for some children.
    I’d enjoy Georgia’s innocence for as long as you can. It’s a lovely place to be and too soon ended. 🙂

    • Hi Karyn, How very very interesting! I just googled it and wow! There’s never any mention of it anywhere else apart from in Steiner circles 🙂
      Do you think that with children growing up more quickly and all that with media influences, this realisation might take place earlier?
      Sometimes when I look at the kids in G’s class and how they behave, in fact just the social issues and dynamics in G’s class, seem so reminiscent of and entirely different phase of childhood that I remember.
      Thank you for sharing…i learnt a lot 🙂

  • I was five when I first became aware of exams and what they meant but I don’t think I became properly competitive until three years later and mostly my competition was with myself. Throughout my life achieving good grades was about what could be done with them as opposed to just doing well for the sake of it. Without ever explicitly being told so, I knew that if I did well I’d be able to study abroad, something I craved. I wonder what will motivate my children.

    • This is turning out to be quite an interesting conversation. I think my motivation was mainly just so my report book would look neat :O

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