A birthday turmoil made me let go of my obsession with elite education
What to see Now it is not easy to be a parent, children's in-class grades, extracurricular activities, personality development... Everything needs to be worried and planned by parents. But is it really good for the child? Is it really proportional to the parents' investment in education and the quality of education received by children? A mother living in Germany found a lot of inspiration from her daughter's friend, a classmate who was almost incompatible with elite education.
This article is reproduced from the public number: women stay in Germany without talent (ID: wucai6de)
Wen 丨 Talentless Sister Editor丨 May
Barley's friend Dorothy is celebrating his 13th birthday and invites Barley and another girl to her house for the night.
Barley was very excited, because it was the first time that he had not spent the night with his classmates at this age.
Barley was also distressed because she really didn't know what to give Dorothy, so she came to me and asked.
I said it's not simple, don't you young and beautiful girls like skin care products? Recently, those friends of yours celebrated their birthdays, didn't they all give face masks and hand creams?
Barley shook her head and said that Dorothy was different, she never used skin care products, she didn't love beauty, and she gave her the mask last time someone gave her.
I said you can ask her what she likes, or needs. Barley shrugged and asked, and she said she didn't particularly like or need anything.
Well, what kind of weird is this, I muttered to myself. I changed to other children, and I made a wish list a few months ago, and I can have ideas one by one.
Finally, Barley didn't know where to find a pen and a keychain, and put it in a gift bag.
I took a look and felt that the gift was not bad, the keychain was even a little ugly, and I wanted to say nothing, and finally said nothing.
Fast forward to my birthday, and I drove Barley and luggage to Dorothy's house, and then took Xiaomi to the cinema to see "School of Fantastic Beasts" that she wanted to see.
Stills from the movie "School of Fantastic Beasts"
Twenty minutes before the opening of the movie, the black pressure in front of the counter was crushed, and the people who bought tickets were almost out the door.
I made a quick decision and opened my mobile phone webpage to book tickets online. Who knew that as soon as the information was filled in and ready to pay, the checked seat was gone, the counter kept grabbing tickets with me, seeing that the good position was not in seconds, so anxious that I was sweating profusely, and it took half a day to finally buy two tickets.
At this time, a burst of laughter was heard behind him, and the three girls pushed the door in.
When you look at it, isn't it barley? I knew they were going to see a movie today, but they didn't expect to be in the same movie theater, watching the same movie. What is this obfuscation operation?
The three children actually came by bus, no adults sent them, and I knew that I had just dropped them on the way! Asked again, I actually hadn't bought the ticket yet, and I almost carried it in one breath.
We've been to birthday parties many times at this cinema, and we've been invited and invited.
The normal process is to buy a ticket a week in advance and send out an invitation, eat cake, pick up the pre-ordered drink and popcorn half an hour before the movie, and then sit in the best position of the venue without stress...
But this... I glanced at the long dragon in front of the counter, so anxious that I almost booked the tickets for them, but in the end I resisted the urge to brush the presence on someone else's birthday.
I reminded them that time was running out, so I took millet upstairs to buy drinks and popcorn, and waited in a long line before I was seated five minutes before the screening.
I was so distraught watching the whole movie, I was really afraid that these children would not have time to buy tickets and mess up their good birthdays.
Fortunately, when I left the venue, I finally saw them again, and it was said that they entered the venue at the last minute, and they didn't buy anything to eat or drink.
Also...... Okay. To be honest, I can't quite imagine that the guests are not given food and drink to watch movies, let alone Chinese think that the courtesy is not weekly, even the Germans may not be able to watch it.
The three girls were quite happy and chattered and ran to dinner.
I grabbed Barley and asked if I had made a reservation for dinner, and told me that I had booked, so I put my mind down and took millet back home.
At about eight o'clock, I was finished cleaning up and lying on the sofa and was about to rest for a while, when my mobile phone rang! Barley said that they seemed to order a bit much, and Dorothy didn't have enough money, and asked if I could send them some money.
I asked her how much she ordered and told me it was about forty euros. I simply, passed out.
In today's soaring prices in Germany, three people eat fast food for more than forty euros ah friends! This classmate had a birthday treat, and he didn't bring enough forty euros for a meal? Or in the case of watching a movie without eating or drinking...
I was speechless and a little annoyed, and I glanced out the dark and cold window, not wanting to go out at all.
What the hell are Dorothy's parents up to?
Is there no preparation at all for my daughter's birthday?
Shouldn't it be them who send money at this time?
What does it have to do with me?
But considering the face of Barley, I still forced down my inner dissatisfaction and went out to send them money.
The birthday turmoil turned out to be like this
I brought the barley back at noon the next day. Barley said with great interest the interesting story of the three girls spending the night together last night, and seemed very happy.
I tapped on the side and asked her what she had for breakfast. She said she ate bread, bread baked by Dorothy herself.
"Mom, you know what? Dorothy actually reached directly into the oven to pinch the bread to see if it was baked well, it was amazing! She said that she has been doing this since she was a child, and she is not afraid of being hot! "Barley's eyes widened, as if a new species had been discovered.
I frowned, because I had been badly burned by the oven because I didn't wear gloves, plus I was still worried about yesterday's events, and I couldn't help but blurt out: Her parents are too unreliable! What a strange parent!
Barley was stunned for a moment, silent for a while, and said softly: Her parents... Divorced.
I chuckled in my heart.
Barley continued: When Dorothy was very young, her father often took out the family's money to buy lotto or something, and lied to her mother, so her mother divorced and lived alone with children.
To save money, they moved six times.
Her mom was a draftsman who often stayed up late to catch up on drawings, and when we were at her house yesterday, her mom had been working in her room and didn't have time to greet us.
Sometimes her mom had to travel, and Dorothy spent the night alone.
My heart clenched. Spending the night alone at home! She just turned 13 yesterday...
"Doesn't she have a sister?" I suddenly remembered.
Barley took a sip of water and continued: Her sister was admitted to university, rented a house in Munich, and only occasionally returned by train.
"Munich is the most expensive city in Germany, and it's not easy to learn." I thought thoughtfully. In fact, what I really want to say is, isn't going to school in Munich more burdensome for the family?
Barley didn't see my doubt, and said to himself: Her sister is a cow! The money for school, the money for renting a house, and the money for riding in a car are all earned by themselves, and they never ask their families for money.
Their family never goes on vacation, and they work part-time to earn money during the holidays. Dorothy's pocket money for his birthday was something he had saved up a long time ago.
Last time her mother celebrated her birthday, Dorothy and her sister pooled sixty euros to buy a speaker for her, which was also saved for a long time, but Dorothy said that it was worth it, so that her mother could listen to good music when she worked, and it was not so hard.
My eyes were red. Such a sensible child really poked at the heart of the old mother.
"Dorothy's family is not very good, she is probably my poorest classmate." Barley sighed and continued:
Her room was only large enough for a bed, not even a wardrobe;
There is no real bed in her house either, only mattresses, which are placed on the floor;
They never went to the bakery to buy bread, they baked it themselves;
Dorothy doesn't even have a dress of her own, and she wears her mother and sister's all the time;
She only has a set of pajamas, and her pants are already short to her legs and stomach, and when she is dirty, she washes and dries during the day and wears them again at night...
Speaking of this, Barley suddenly raised his voice, and his eyes were full of adoration: Mom, do you know? Dorothy will do all the chores, all! There is no she will not! The breakfast she made was super delicious and she also did her laundry, even her mom's clothes!
My heart was shaking so badly that tears were about to welling up, so I had to stop going over my head and quickly change the subject: What about her father? Will you come to visit them?
Barley nodded and shook her head again: she would come, but very little, because her father was in Leipzig, too far from here. And her father is married again and has a new wife. When he came to visit them, her father would always bring his new wife, and the two were always slimy, and Dorothy said that it was a little embarrassing to watch...
I sighed in my heart, intending to have a lighter conversation: the gift you gave her, did she like it?
Barley nodded vigorously: she said that the pen was too delicate, and now she was reluctant to use it, so she put it away first. She immediately hung the keychain on her bag, but she liked it! I didn't give her skin care products, otherwise she would have given them to her sister.
Speaking of which, Barley winks mysteriously and tells me: - because her sister is in love.
My heart moved, and my eyes began to sour again. Then I remembered that keychain. Barley has countless keychains, and that's just one of them that's very inconspicuous, and even a little ugly.
Will money and the quality of education necessarily be directly proportional?
The first time I noticed the name Dorothy was after a math exam last semester.
There were only two 1's in the class, one for Barley and the other for Dorothy. I was very surprised that I was familiar with all the children in the class who were good at mathematics, just a few, not including her.
Barley mysteriously told me that Dorothy hadn't been out for the whole holiday and was brushing up on questions every day.
I was secretly surprised, I didn't expect that Germany also had such a powerful tiger mother, and I didn't expect that Germany also had such obedient children.
Homework is forbidden during school holidays, this is written into the Bayern canton education law, and children know it. Don't talk about German children, even Chinese children, if you want him to brush up on questions during the holidays, it is not so easy, and it will kill you in minutes.
Barley also told me that Dorothy had poor math when he first entered middle school, failed the exam, and then signed up for cram school and went to school alone every Friday after school.
At that time, my first reaction was that there was a free cram school at school, and going out to tutor out of my own pocket was not at all in line with the characteristics of Germans, presumably because of the family's situation, right? Now I know that cram school may be the most luxurious consumption in their family.
The first time I saw Dorothy in person was when Xiaomi was unwell one day and the school called me to pick it up.
This little girl with a red face and a gray body carried all the things of millet, school bags, sports bags, water and food, humming and following until she sent millet to my car, but she missed lunchtime.
I thanked her again and again, but she just smiled kindly and left.
I told Barley, why is your classmate so simple, such children are too rare in these years. Barley smiled and said yes, mom, you know? Dorothy is one of the best-tempered people I've ever met.
How do I say this? Barley said, anyway, it's very good, much better than Little K!
I was flabbergasted. Little K and Barley have been best friends since kindergarten and are now classmates, and I have always had a good impression of Little K, thinking that she is gentle and polite and has a good tutor.
Little K's father is a successful dentist with his own practice, and his mother works for a Fortune 500 company in the world, and he is also a strong woman, they have a good family, attach importance to education, and have trained Little K to be quite excellent. What's wrong with Little K?
Barley frowned and told me: How to say, Little K is the kind of person who thinks of herself as the center of the world, always wants everyone to revolve around her, but rarely thinks about others.
For example, if she asks me to go to her house to play, if I say no, she will not be relentless, call me a dozen times a day to ask me what is more important than her, if I don't push that matter, she will say that I don't treat her as a friend;
For example, if I forgot my notebook and wanted to borrow it from her, she would count me down, say how could I not even remember this, and then say no, her notebook will be used herself.
Dorothy wouldn't be like that, she asked me to play, I said something, she said OK, and then she went to play by herself; I asked her to borrow a notebook, and she would lend it to me without saying a word.
Later, as Barley mentioned Dorothy more and more, my affection for the little girl grew. She often wonders what her family is like, how she can raise such hardworking, simple and understanding children.
I never expected that the mystery turned out to be a single-parent family, and it was such a hard-working single-parent family. This level of hard work, to be honest, is beyond the scope of my experience in so many years of life.
You know, in a high-welfare country like Germany, it's hard to see the real poor. Many of the people who receive the relief live in large houses, drive good cars, and have spare money to go on vacation from time to time. Never go on vacation, never go to the bakery, never buy new clothes, no bed at home, even one set of pajamas... It's like, it's not the same Germany we live in.
What kind of woman is Dorothy's mother!
Would you rather give up easy benefits and a leisurely life, pay high taxes, live an extremely tight life, rather draw day and night, and even sacrifice time with your daughter, but insist on a job with a meager salary?
Won't she settle the score? Don't you know that it is a loss in terms of time and money?
No, I think she's the smartest and most powerful woman.
Her self-improvement, independence, and pursuit of what she loves has set the best example for her two daughters;
She despises material things but attaches importance to education, but the four walls of the family support children's tutoring, and the two daughters cherish the opportunity to learn and have the legendary strong self-drive;
She single-handedly shouldered the burden of the family with her thin shoulders, winning the heartfelt love and respect of her daughters, who were proud of her and were not ashamed of their poor family situation;
She is also generous and generous, and has always maintained a good relationship with her ex-husband's new family, protecting the mental health of her daughters to the greatest extent.
A still from the movie "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"
Although Dorothy is still a little immature as a child who has just turned 13, and even her birthday is almost messed up, her academic independence and self-care ability have far left her peers behind.
She is neither humble nor promiscuous, she treats people sincerely, and her classmates like her.
And her thoughtfulness and love for her mother and sister, just ask which parent is not moved and envious when she sees it? Who doesn't want to say, give me a dozen such children!
Is elite education good?
Since the divergence of primary schools, liberal arts secondary schools, which are regarded as "university trains", have become the world of the German middle class.
It's not that middle-class children are smarter, but because in Germany's specific national conditions, blue-collar workers have little obsession with higher education and are less willing to invest too much in education.
Therefore, after entering middle school, the family situation of Barley classmates has generally risen to a higher level, and the proportion of parents who are doctors, lawyers, engineers, senior white-collar workers, and scientific research workers is very high.
Look at the Chinese families around you, they are the main force of "chicken babies", followers of the enhanced version of elite education.
So, what about these children who have been carefully raised from an early age?
Like Little K, certain problems are gradually revealing. The so-called elite education, how obvious the advantages are, and how dazzling the stubborn diseases that come with it.
First of all, elite education puts the child at the center of the family, "all for the child".
In a healthier family structure, it is usually the self-development of adults that takes precedence over the self-development of children, and the conjugal relationship takes precedence over the parent-child relationship.
On the contrary, many middle-class families sacrifice their time, money and the possibility of self-development for their children without restraint, and the daily activities of the entire family are arranged according to the children's extracurricular activities, exhausting on the way to cram schools, interest classes, competitions, and performances, and the relationship between husband and wife has become insignificant compared with the parent-child relationship.
Children cultivated in this way are of course more likely to master comprehensive and powerful skills, gain competitive advantage, and are more likely to become elites in the future.
But on the other hand, they have been accustomed to the earth revolving around them since childhood, and take the contributions of others for granted. It is difficult for them to learn to be considerate of others and to be grateful.
I once knew a caregiver who came to Germany from Hungary to work for a long time, and long-term care for an old lady who lived alone in the center of Munich.
The old lady's villa was worth millions of euros ten years ago, and several of her children are lawyers.
However, even if they live in the same city, these children rarely visit their mothers, and the caregiver often shakes his head and sighs at me, saying what is the use of raising these children, and now wait for the old man to die and divide the family property.
I'm not so pessimistic about human nature, but I'm not at all surprised by their behavior.
When a person is explicitly implied that "your studies are the most important" since childhood, then when he grows up, of course, he will feel that "my career is the most important", and isn't it normal to be busy and not care about visiting his parents?
Parents have always made concessions and sacrifices for their children, and they have never shown that they are important!
A still from the movie "Genius Girl"
Second, elite education promotes free will, emphasizes self-development, and encourages questioning of authority.
This is undoubtedly very positive and effective in terms of protecting children's nature and creativity, cultivating children's self-confidence and independent thinking.
With both confidence and ideas, such children are certainly more likely to achieve academic success and career breakthroughs.
But on the other hand, such children are also more likely to be arrogant and disrespectful, which brings huge problems to education.
Annette LaRue, author of "Unequal Childhood," has pointed out after examining the education models of 88 American families in depth that a big side effect of elite education promoted by the middle class is that children lack respect for adults.
Annette Laroux, "Unequal Childhood"
On the one hand, they will not feel cramped in the face of professionals such as doctors and teachers, and can discuss problems generously, and quickly acquire more knowledge;
But on the other hand, they can also easily provoke adults, and they don't think adults are anything remarkable at all.
By adolescence, such a provocation is simply fatal. Because the first thing they provoke is their parents, followed by their teachers.
I can very intuitively feel how arrogant and rude children of Barley's age are to adults, in their eyes teachers are stupid, parents are old-fashioned, only they are the greatest.
It is strange and lamenting that middle-class parents who are the elite of society find it difficult to win the respect of their children, compared to children at the bottom who idolize their parents who can still provide for their families.
Parent-child wars and runaways from home are frequent in middle-class families, catching followers of elite education by surprise.
Third, the nature of elite education is utilitarian.
Whether you admit it or not, the moment you link parenting to success in the secular sense, education is overshadowed by utilitarianism.
Isn't it better to develop toys that develop intelligence?
Isn't it more useful to have an interest class that can get extra points?
Is the main course more important than the side course?
Is it more meaningful to have time to brush up on questions than to read idle books?
Countless choices have been made on our way to "success" with our children, distinguishing between "useful" and "useless," and "important" and "unimportant."
Of course, children will also learn this choice, judging all the time what is "useful" to themselves and what is "useless" to themselves, so as to form their own value ranking.
When I was a child, this sort was used in learning, and when I grew up, this sort would naturally be applied to making friends, choosing a mate, and everything in life.
What is even more frightening is that elite education is not only utilitarian, but also exclusive.
When "best" and "first" are the only goals, it means that we have to "kill" everyone else. Excessive competition makes people's feelings thin, and family and friendship will become victims.
Annette LaRue pointed out in "Unequal Childhood" that children from middle-class families have little affection between siblings due to excessive competition since childhood.
On the contrary, the children at the bottom grow up close and live closer to their parents, and the large family is happy despite the contradictions.
A still from the movie "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"
Fourth, elite education is easy to float in reality.
The middle class is materially rich, their children never have to worry about survival, and elite education naturally does not include such a "low" thing as survival education.
A German friend recently complained to me about soaring energy prices, and the family just received a few thousand euros of water, electricity and heating bills, and the cost of this will be directly doubled every month in the future, but the child does not know the slightest thrift, and every day when he comes back is to take a bath and enjoy the first.
"Where does electricity come from for children? Came from the socket! At the age of retirement, he was still working hard to take on private work, shaking his head and sighing, helpless.
His children are about to go to college, and every day they read books and play games, and they have no worries about the future.
There are many times when he wants to give his own hands-on skills to his son, and he can't be hungry in the future, but the child can't see it at all, and he is not even happy to fight.
All I can say is that this is all too common.
Elite education is to get ahead, not interested in the life of ordinary people, and the reason why children's hearts are higher than the sky is because the parents' hearts are higher than the sky.
And the Internet age has exacerbated this sense of suspension. Barley's classmates all feel that their future is limitless, and they usually brush short videos and think that it is too easy to get rich overnight.
They have not been able to feel the hard work of their parents since childhood, let alone take the initiative to help their parents share anything. Children like Little K don't even have the opportunity to do housework because there are part-time workers and babysitters in the family.
In this regard, I privately think that children from Chinese families are more dangerous.
Because Chinese are too accustomed to withholding themselves materially and giving the best everything to their children, it is clear that the conditions generally have to be forcibly carried out on the "elite education".
When the child grows up and finds that the family base is not so thick, and he needs to work his own in the future, he must first experience a disillusionment of "the life of the young lady and the maid".
To be honest, the probability of cultivating an old giant baby with a low eye is much higher than the probability of cultivating an elite.
Maybe someone has to ask, so you are against elite education? No.
I just want to tell you that there are drawbacks to any type of education, some of which can be overcome by wisdom, and some of which cannot be.
"Sober in the world" Yang Mi once said something very interesting:
The native family is not good, you will lack love, the native family is good, you will lack experience.
In fact, the same is true of education, both to be required and wanted, and in the end it will only be disappointment and loss.
It is better to choose the most suitable for yourself and your children according to the actual situation of the family, and it is far wiser to maintain harmony and balance than to pursue extremes.
Let go of obsessions, but also let go of anxiety.
It is not only by raising children to become Yanning Musk that our education is meaningful. Children like Dorothy can also soothe the hearts of parents around the world.
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