Saturday, September 21, 2019

Mommy Treats Your Heart, Daddy Trains Your Mind

Why do students fail?

Why do they misbehave?

Why are they so entitled nowadays?

They don't get enough care and attention from both Mommy and Daddy, that's why. Especially Daddy. No, not because Daddy goes missing. But because kids these days tend to run and pour their hearts out to Mommy. They're too scared of getting their ass spanked by Daddy.

Now, before you get up in arms, hear me out. I'm just being metaphorical. I'm not really talking about parenthood. Nor am I being sexist by stereotyping gender roles. When I say 'Mommy', I'm referring to the traditional teacher with a soft nurturing touch. 'Daddy', in contrast, is the old-school bad-ass drill sergeant. A man can be 'Mommy', and a woman can be 'Daddy' (for instance, an Asian tiger Mom). It's all down to personality and philosophy, not genetics and genders.

And when I say things like 'ass spanked', don't take me literally, of course. It's just a figure of speech.

And if you don't like what you're reading so far, then just bugger off. You're just proving my point how you really need some good old-school Daddy spanking...

"Come come, Daddy just wants to talk..."

* * *

Every student will turn out fine, with the right balance of Mommy and Daddy advice. One is not superior than the other. Both are needed in equal measures (perhaps one more than the other in certain situations, and vice versa).

But in my own personal experience and general observation, the scales have tilted towards Mommy's side. Modern kids are not getting enough hard love from Daddy (whether from male or female teachers). And that, at least for me, is a main reason why students fall to the Dark Side...

It's a thought I've been harbouring for some time, but re-triggered due to a recent drama at 'school' (specifically, the law school I teach). The details are unimportant, so here's the abridged version...

"At the start of the week, there was an assembly for all students and staff to attend. The principal gave a typical welcoming speech. Same old, nothing unusual. At the end, the principal opened the floor for Q&A. A student stood up, and launched into a long rant and laundry list of injustices inflicted by the school administration which went on for a good 2-3 minutes (which may have gone on far longer if the principal had not gently interjected 'So, what is your question exactly?')"

Did the student had a point? Perhaps yes, perhaps not. There's a lot of stuff to unpack there, which is of no real general interest.

Anyway, the more critical question is whether the student picked the right place and right time to voice out such grievances - to which the general consensus among the adults in the room was no.

But then it got me thinking: why do students behave that way? It's not the first time I have witnessed such 'outburst', albeit on a lesser scale - more often tha not, it comes from the bright students.

And then it hit me: we, too, as teachers, should bear some blame when students take a wrong turn...

The Millennial Dream

* * *

So back to my theory - that most modern teachers have grown 'soft'.

We spare the rod, hence spoil the child. We sing them high praises more than give constructive criticisms. We care more about guarding their feelings than repairing their failings.

(See also my previous article: The Role Of Teachers - To Be Learnt, Not To Be Loved)

There are many facets to this theory. Here, the focus is on the Mommy-Daddy dichotomy.

Mommy is a doctor who heals your wounds, Daddy is a gym instructor who builds your fitness. Mommy catches your fall, Daddy lifts your flight. Mommy feels, Daddy thinks. Mommy knows your heart, Daddy reads your mind.

To paint a clearer picture, here are some examples:
  • Mommy will send you to class and pick you up an hour or two later. Daddy will get down and dirty with you outside, whether at the football field, swimming pool or boxing ring.
  • Mommy will give long stirring lectures over vague feel-good Fortune-cookie soundbites on 'hope', 'passion' and 'grit'. Daddy will just shout in your ear to stop watching 'High School Musical' for the umpteenth time and get a part-time job.
  • Mommy will console you each time you fail, cradle you as you cry your eyes out, bemoan about your bad luck and how you deserve better, gently tell you to try again, and so on. Daddy will simply shrug and say "Do. Or do not. There is no try".
  • Mommy will read you bedtime stories about fairy godmothers and boy wizards until you doze off. Daddy will instruct you to read Sun Tzu's Art of War and won't allow you to sleep until you've finished reading the book and passed his pop quiz.
  • Mommy will buy you gifts and throw you a big party at KFC Texas Chicken some new Korean fried chicken joint (standards upgrade over time) whenever you win gold for your school's Sports Day. Daddy joins the party just in time to pick the bill, and remind Mommy to 'call it a night' since your training for the State team is tomorrow at 8am.

"I hate you, Daddy! I said I wanted an iPhone XS for my birthday, not the XR!"

* * *

Again, this is not to say Daddy is a better teacher than Mommy. Nor too belittle Mommy's half of the work that's necessary to groom a wholesome child.

It's a Yin-Yang dynamic. Two sides of the same coin. Good cop, bad cop.

Okay, enough of metaphors. I should really stop droning, otherwise I'll start sounding like Mommy...

Just kidding!

But you do get the idea, I hope. That every student needs both types of teachers in their lives. Not necessarily in two different persons, of course. Every teacher should be able to play both Daddy and Mommy interchangeably. Or if that's too hard, a Mommy teacher should regularly refer a student to a Daddy teacher, and vice versa.

Ultimately, the goal is to ensure students get equal share of Mommy and Daddy lessons.

Right now, most teachers want to play Mommy. We need to step up more as Daddy!

And a word to you kids out there:

Don't only run to Mommy when you have problems. Daddy may be cold and hard, but he can help you in many ways that Mommy can't (or can but won't).

Don't feel abandoned if Daddy goes quiet and aloof. Daddy does a lot of thinking, and sometimes, his silence and inaction is really for your best interests (which you may only understand much later in future).

Don't be scared of Daddy. Daddy loves you too!

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