Primary school girl taking responsibility for homework becomes teachable moment for parents

But one Facebook user disagreed.

By Mandy How | March 8, 2018

“Ruien had decided to watch tv and read her books and play with her sisters last night…”

Procrastination is a common theme in adulthood.

And it is apparently the same in childhood, as a lower primary school student learnt from not doing her homework the night before.

But instead of pretending that she did not know how to do it (as she used to), Ruien refused to leave for school until she had completed the homework.

And according to her father, Tong Yee, Ruien hates being late for school.

She cried as she did her homework.

And when she finally reached school, she tried to dodge the prefect, but failed to do so.

Ruien cried again as the prefect marked her for her lack of punctuality.

At this, Tong praises his child for caring about being late, and about her homework in general.

On the whole, readers agree that Tong inserts many life lessons for his audience, not just about taking responsibility and time management, but also about parenting.

Here’s the full story:

In case you can’t see it, here’s the text:

We were late for school today.
Ruien had decided to watch tv and read her books and play with her sisters last night…
And this morning got up to rush her homework. But when it was time to leave the house for school, she refused coz her work wasn’t finished.
There was tension coz Ruixin really hates to be late. So does Ruien; but finishing the homework was equally important and she just sat there writing in word by word, tears streaming down her face as she experienced tension, regret, shame and ambition all at the same time.

I asked Cynthia to take Ruixin to school first and we let Ruien finish her work. At 725am Ruien came into my room and exclaimed in a panic “ok. I’m done. Can you please send me to school?”

I was already ready so we borrowed her grandma’s car and drove to school. She looked out the window all the way and was silent. I don’t know whether she was imagining the prefect that would be waiting to book her for being late and she would lose her responsibility badge (she’s really hoping to win that badge)

Then I said
“I am proud of you Ruien. You stayed and insisted on finishing your homework. And that means you care enough about it and have enough pride to want to complete it well. So well done.”

“But I didn’t do it last night.”

“It’s true. You didn’t. But you did read, and relax and play with your sisters, which is all equally important. I’m proud of you because this morning was a real leadership moment. You had so many things to do and you chose to finish your homework. You could have lied to your teacher, made excuses or simply pretended that you didn’t know how to do it like you used to… but you didn’t.

If you get a pink slip today for being late, take responsibility for it. Don’t be scared.

Next time, we’ll learn to manage our time better.”

She was silent the rest of the way.
I dropped her off. And watched her walk up to the gate. She tried to avoid the prefect. But she was spotted. And she cried again when her name was taken down.


Good job today Ruien.
You only cry coz you care. Your choices will start shaping your values.
Let’s see how you do tomorrow… we’ll always be walking with you.

Praise for dad

And as expected, many praised Tong as a father:

Teachable moments not taken

But one Facebook user provided an alternative view by questioning Tong’s account.

Here are the more pertinent things that he brought up:

1) He notes that Ruien tries to avoid the prefect but fails to do so. This implies that she’s taking responsibility not because she wants to, but because she has to.

2) There are other ways Ruien could have solved her problem of the undone homework — doing it in the car, doing it during assembly, and so on. This would not inconvenience the people around her (i.e. parents), who had to run late with her and make two trips to the school (another for her sibling, who was on time).

While the commenter had no issue with the way Ruien acted (she was, after all, still a child), he felt that Tong should not have praised her for it.

You can read his full comment here.

Top image from Tong Yee’s Facebook page

About Mandy How

Mandy is a pantry rat. She eats everything in the pantry (except other people's food).

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