Why I don’t pressure my kids to get the highest grades
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I graduated at the top of my kindergarten class during the ’70s. I got a gold medal—just once, and then no more.
From a promising bright student, I became an average, mediocre student—although in all my years, I had only failed two subjects: Physics, where the teacher brought my 75 grade to 74 after I cracked a joke during class. And CMT (military training) after I cracked a joke concerning a military officer’s sword.
Truthfully, my jokes have gotten me so much trouble, I wish I didn’t joke so much.
In the end I did graduate with two degrees—in Journalism and Fashion Design. I like to think I didn’t end up so bad.

My student ID

In contrast, my Dutch husband Jeroen also didn’t do well in school but he was a happy kid. After school he would play Tarzan with his friends, climb trees, and fall in the mud. His mother was an angel who didn’t freak out seeing mud on the floor, or even when Jeroen fell from a tree and broke his arm (she was a nurse, after all).
At a very young age Jeroen knew he wanted to work with his hands and food. At first he wanted to be a lettuce farmer, but upon the encouragement of his parents, he became a chef.

Silveren Spiegel, 1995

Since both of us didn’t do well scholastically, we don’t pressure our kids to be the best in class.
In the beginning, Ben and Markus brought home high grades and honors, but as they grew older, the grades became average, sometimes barely passing. None of them—not even Christian—has ever flunked a subject and I thank God. Because after waking up early to beat the traffic, hours of school and tutor after that, all I want for them is to relax and feel at home.

Ben's graduation

How I wish they would hit the shower as soon as they get home, stinky and filthy from a day in school, but all they want to do is lie down and watch their iPads.
Video games are allowed only on weekends.
I really hate it when they’re given homework that need help from their parents, because even though I consider myself a hands-on parent, I am done with school. I don’t want to do my kids’ homework.
How I wish they had no homework at all.

My husband didn’t have homework but he had a stress-free childhood. And now he is the head of a company that employs hundreds. He didn’t end up bad at all.
So I’m sharing this Michael Moore video in hope that schools in Manila would take notice.
Homework isn’t all that. It’s about happy children, happy families, happy homes—which is, in the end, what really matter.

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