Saturday, 31 May 2014

Why push me into the sun?

I remember a very interesting incident when I was in primary 3. It's still vivid like it happened yesterday.

One of my classmate asked our teacher why his mother pushed him into the sun when he tried to seek shelter under the shade of the umbrella his mother was carrying?

Quick! Don't think.

What's the spontaneous answer that pops in your brain right now?

Now scroll down for what the answer our teacher gave him.

Our teacher was caught a bit off guard. She thought for a while and replied it was because my classmate's mother wanted her son to get vitamin D from the sun.


As I grew up, I found out that what my teacher replied was scientifically correct. But I still feel that's not the answer. Hence this incident left a strong impression even until today.

What's your answer? 

Was it spontaneous or like our teacher, you thought about it first.

There's no right or wrong answer as none of us is the mother. 

What's my spontaneous answer way back in primary 3?

The mother wants her son to grow up be a man.



  1. My answer is same as yours, but I think the mother might be thinking of something else. Value is more caught than taught. U carry a umbrella then push me to the sun??!! @#%

    Ask me to buy and u sell. Same @%# effect.

    Btw thanks.

    1. sillyinvestor,


      You Tao too good!

      That's why my classmate asked!

      He was an transfer student for 1 year only. He was way ahead of our class and our neighbourhood school. He knew about vitamin D from sunlight; we don't.

      That's why I hinted the teacher had to think for a while...

      I guess he re-transferred to another school more suited for his intelligence after getting bored and not challenged intellectually.

      You are right about values. My classmate was a Chinese Singaporean returning from growing up overseas ;)

      Employers also notice a difference between overseas grads and local grads - not fair; but very evident in meetings....

  2. Hi SMOL,

    Umbrella too small lah.

    Want to have shade? That fellow must carry his own umbrella.

    This reminds me of an incident of my Sec 3 boy coming home soaked to his skin.

    First reaction from his Grandma - "Aiyoh, why you never wait for the rain to stop then come home? Like that, you will fall sick one. Next time, carry umbrella. If not, then stay at the bus stop, call Auntie to bring you one. ....." Seeing that I wasn't joining in to chorus her incessant nagging, she turned to me and tell me that I should 'teach' my son.

    I followed him as he went into his room to change. I gave him a wry smile and said, "I knew you did it on purpose. Very fun hor? I also like!" He returned the wry smile and nodded. Then I added, "So pathetic to live a life and not having even braved the rain? I support you! But hor, you make sure you watch the traffic ok? Since you are already all wet, no need to hurry to beat the traffic light. Safety first." Point registered. He happy, I happy.

    Anyway, back to your story. If I were the teacher, I would throw the question back to that boy and ask him what he thinks his mum was thinking. That's teaching perspective and empathy. Give an answer on the mum's behalf? Too presumptuous. I'll also ask the kid to go back and ask him mum directly. That's verification. Then come back to class to share.

    1. Endrene,

      You're a cool mom!

      You know your pedagogy ;)

      To be fair to my teacher, I don't think you need to be a grad to be a primary school teacher in the 70s, and we were in the rote-learning model then that didn't quite encourage "questioning" from us students.


  3. Hahahaha SMOl,

    I ask my 4 year old son, if its raining and I push you out from
    Our umbrella, what will u be thinking?

    He replied instantly:" I will get struck by lighting and die!"

    Haha Sunday morning entertainment

  4. SMOL

    Wa your answer is considered "mature" in your primary 3 .

    1. Small Time Investor,

      Would it help to say I'm a Teochew?


      But seriously, I remember this incident because I was questioning the Stop sign. What we are today is frequently how we were when young.

      Can you remember the last time you questioned a Stop sign?

  5. Actually from a teacher prospective, I understand where he is coming from.

    Depending on the energy level when the child ask the question, I think I can guess if he is just a whinny kid or there is something deeper in their relationship which perhaps the child already know the answer.

    Asking him to go home and ask and come back to share could be ...
    Painful. Unless the teacher is mentally prepared to double up as counsellor and social worker. Most would jut give generic answers.

    1. sillyinvestor,

      No, my classmate is not whining. He's the sort you won't be surprised if he skips a few grades - he is that smart and advanced.

      So for this kind of intelligent kid, I'll go with Endrene's way - which is quite similar to my "What do you think" approach during my corporate life developing the new potentials.

      You are right. For whiners, we need to use another approach. I just delegate more boring routine work that nobody wants to do to these people.

      They happy; I happy.

      They can continue to play the victim role; while I free myself to do more intellectually stimulating "pokes" with the potentials.

    2. Hi sillyinvestor,

      If the kid would ask the teacher that question in front of the class, it is presumed that the kid wants an open forum to discuss the experience. If not, it would be a private conversation with the teacher.

      I was a primary school teacher for 6 years. Experience would help us tell apart the cheeky ones and the troubled ones. Certainly agree that an extra dose of sensitivity is needed when dealing with the emotional spectrum of things. Keeping it clinical is as safe as it can get. Not a bad strategy.

      And yes, the teachers are expected to double up as counsellors/mentors. Or at least that should be the self imposed responsibility if one wants to be a teacher. I see that as part of character education.

      Anyway, there is no secret that a teacher isn't just a teacher. :)

  6. SMOL : Ya, I think the mother just wanted the boy to be more outdoor kid and enjoy the sun more... ;-)

    1. In fact, my wife always scold me for not sheltering under her umbrella.

      Want to tio skin cancer arh!

    2. CW,

      I think your wife wants to "tian mi mi" with you when you both go out.

      So romantic that Hokkien song - two of us, under my little umbrella ;)



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