This is a story that I have been meaning to share in order to give a slightly different perspective to the importance of PSLE.
In Malaysia, we had the equivalent of PSLE which is UPSR and I got straight As. At another national exam at 15, it was the same. Bear with me as my point is not to boast.
My academic excellence would not have prepared me when I had my first stroke at 28. Neither would it help me when I had to go through brain surgeries 3 years later when I lost my ability to read and write.
Yes, my grades brought me to one of the top junior colleges in Singapore and I met many inspiring schoolmates, many are still my close friends today.
What truly helped me when I went through my health crisis were these: my faith in God, my family and friends, church community who prayed for me, my skill as a psychologist (so I had to practise what I taught my patients), positive emotions (gratitude, hope, serenity), empathy, self compassion, resilience and grit.
These are life skills that continue to serve me and the individuals that I see. Yet, these are not necessarily taught in school and even if you get the highest score in PSLE, it doesn’t mean that the 3 digits can help when crisis hits.
The greatest gift my parents gave me was their faith; so that when I had to go through difficult moments, I didn’t give up and fell into deep depression and despair. Likewise, when I was feeling loss as a trailing wife; what helped me was my hope, interest, inspiration and grit.
Let’s not get too caught up with the grades; what it means when I get good grades is that I am good at taking exams. The real test is the exams of life when unexpected things happen. Will your child be equipped?
Do not let the grades define your love for your child because your approval matters to him or her more than you can imagine. The pain of losing the parents' love and approval has caused some children and adolescence to end their lives. That's how important your love and approval is.
This is not to say that one doesn't have to care about the grades at all. Consider what's the message you're sending to your child when you care more about the grades than him or her as an individual. PSLE is just one exam. The impact you have on your child is long lasting. Let's put things into the right perspective.