To Kieran my son,
So, you received your PSLE results today. To your utter disappointment, your aggregate of 221 fell short of propelling you into your dream school ― Daddy’s alma mater and where Gor Gor is studying now.
Truth is, the 1½ year run-up to your PSLE had been a very challenging, if not trying, one, not just for you, but for us, your parents. Along the way, your once sunny and smiley nature morphed into a moody and withdrawn one ― thanks to raging puberty hormones and stress over school.
Everything came to a head in April when we had to confiscate your mobile phone because your form teacher caught you red-handed in class surreptitiously playing a game on it ― how stupid was that? We had to get tough with you ― withdrawing the smartphone and limiting screen time was the best decision we made for your sake. Only when these distractions were removed did you finally knuckle down.
When you meet with failure…think of it as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and improve. In other words, when life throws you curveballs, hit it out of the ballpark!
Therefore, last Thursday, I was gutted to see your eyes well up and your head droop in despair when you received the results slip after all that hard work. As a pragmatic person, I’ve had time this past year to come to terms with the very real possibility that you might not be able to get into your school of choice. I knew that your antipathy towards Chinese, something you refused to get a handle on till early this year, could well come back to haunt you. And it did, the C you garnered for this subject sadly caused your aggregate to plummet.
However, I have no doubt that you’ll overcome this road block like the trouper you are. As you move on to life’s next adventure, remember to:
Always be grateful and look on the bright side I truly believe in the power of being positive ― it’s half the battle won. You scored two A*s and an A when you only expected to score one A* ― that’s something to cheer! The bright side to this, too, is that you’ll step out of Gor Gor’s shadow, start afresh in a new school and forge your own path.
Work hard… Nothing worth having comes easy, as you’ve just found out. The price of success is putting in every effort because as I often point out, there’s no free lunch in this world. That satisfaction you feel will be that much sweeter, I promise you.
… But also play hard Life’s meant to be enjoyed, so find time to dream, dive into all that Earth has to offer, and travel to widen your perspectives. Don’t be that dull boy called Jack.
Make friends Friends who will celebrate your success, but more importantly, who care enough about you to hang around in your hour of need.
Most importantly, when you meet with failure, as I’ve no doubt you will, think of it as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and improve. In other words, when life throws you curveballs, hit it out of the ballpark!
Remember that Daddy and I assured you countless times that if we knew you’d done your best for the PSLE, we’d not utter a single word of blame, even if the outcome was less than stellar? Don’t worry, I’m keeping that promise.
But I want to tell you that I am proud of the good caring person that you are, for this matters way more than digits on a piece of paper.
You’re ebullient and this is what gives me hope for the future, that you’ll go on to meet life’s challenges with an upbeat attitude.
I am proud of the friendships you have made in school ― they are testament that you’re a person people like hanging out with. Because what really moved me during your moment of misery was seeing not one, not two, but three of your classmates come up to hug you in commiseration over your results.
Most of all, I am proud of the way you’ve handled this minor setback (it’s a mere blip in the larger scheme of things, believe me) with optimism. You’re ebullient and this is what gives me hope for the future, that you’ll go on to meet life’s challenges ― yes, there’ll be plenty of those ― with an upbeat attitude. In fact, in these days following the results, after all the pressure came off, I’ve been catching glimpses of the child I used to call “My Sunshine Boy” ― I’ve missed him so this past year.
You know, when we were dating, your father once asked me what I wanted out of life (I suspect he was testing me). My reply was simple, “To be happy”. Indeed, above good grades ― above everything else, this is what I wish for you, too, Kieran ― that you be happy. Always.
Now, go out there and knock ’em dead!
With much love,
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