If we start from zero, what do we want to really teach our children so that they’d be able to create a future for themselves? To cover lessons that will help them be able to adapt to changes and be resilient? One of the things that is amazing about the human race is our ability to accumulate knowledge and that is in part the reason why our education system is now replete with so much content. We’ve accumulated a lot of them and we might think it is a waste not to teach – and we end up covering way too much and just throwing the kitchen sink at our children.
Heritage would be important – it’s something that we want to get right, to help our next generation find their bearings in their identity. To help them be aware of what heritage and identity is. For me, this was something I discovered only much later in life – how many of us Singaporeans actually know who our ancestors more than 3 generations above us were? Where did they come from? What were they doing during independence, during the time we were part of the Malaysia federation, when we were under the British colonial rule, or when we were called ‘Syonan’? These were things to teach as a subject in school, but more significant when they were stories told within the family.
I wonder how many of our history teachers got their students to ask their parents, or grandparents about experiences of the past? Of the wars? Or maybe it’s their great-grandparents now. Heritage forms part of our identity, part of what no one can take away from us. So equip our children with that and help them gain their bearings as adults.
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