Children Learn Unconsciously: Let’s Teach Them Good Sportsmanship

It all started when parents of 113 children at the age of 6 years attended a primary school to witness the balloting exercise, with only 43 vacancies available. Lucky applicants in the exercise secured places for themselves, in Primary One, next year.

Children Learn Unconsciously -

There few a few behaviours I observed, which by writing this post, I’m not accusing anyone. I’m rather drawing the attention of parents of the leaders of tomorrow, whom we expect to be role models to others, at various levels.

Two obvious notice boards bearing balloting IDs of applicants were stationed at the back of the hall. Most parents did not realize them, as they came in late. I came in late too, although for 2 minutes. Coming in late means coming in late; it reflects badly on one.

The Master of Ceremony (MC) explained the process and procedures of the balloting, which included the existence of the two notice boards. Immediately; a few parents walked over to check their children’s names and IDs. That was although every single child’s full name, balloting ID and Birth Certificate (BC) numbers were to be called and projected on a big screen.

As the balloting started, everyone was put on their nerves. Hearts started to beat fast. And balls in stomachs were already stirring.

Something for sure would happen; by the end of the balloting, a group of parents would return homes with smiles and cheers, whereby the other group of parents will return with disappointments. Whether one’s child secured place or not, no one would complain because it was a transparent ‘balloting’.

As the first successful 10 applicants were announced, I could observe a few parents of the lucky ones, had started to leave the hall. Oh my God!

The next lucky 10 were subsequently announced, and the number of parents leaving the hall even mounted. “Is this the civilized Singapore, or is it a rural town in African?” I said to myself.

Parents were given guidelines on what they could do next, whether their children secure a place in the process or the otherwise. However, since there was an official commencement, I was expecting parents to show a little bit of patience, and allow the school to announce the closing of the exercise. But that did not happen. Already, a significant number have selfishly, or pardon me; happily left.

Having said that, I have to applaud those parents, who showed sportsmanship, by staying until the last successful candidate was balloted, although their children secured places much earlier.

When we, parents, chose to show that part of our behaviour, when then, do we expect the children, who were significantly present at the balloting, to learn the proper behaviour from us? We all know that children learn unconsciously. Since we portray inconsiderate attitudes right in front of our children, we may not be able to correct them tomorrow, should they fail to show unselfish attitude, whether in public or in private.

As much as one can be happy for achieving what they wished, another will grieve for loosing that. In order for the grieved to be contented, we should be moderate in our jubilation. This is what sportsmanship is about. What would one lose by showing some patience, after securing the place for your child, after all?

Have you witnessed a situation before, where adults demonstrated destructive role modeling to children? Mind to share with us? Please comment below.

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Baba Salam is a lifelong seeker of knowledge, a writer and blogger. He writes here at He's also the man behind GSalam.Net. He's also the founder of TVQ.Academy. You can find him on Twitter @1babasalam, Facebook @1BabaSalam, and Instagram @1BabaSalam.