Home Opinion and Features Never give up on your “brrrmmm-brrrmmm” dreams

Never give up on your “brrrmmm-brrrmmm” dreams

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GREY MUTTER: With final exams not too far away, it’s time for matrics and all other pupils to knuckle down, put amusements aside, and, if necessary, learn how to learn, writes Lance Fredericks.

Picture generated by Meta AI, with Llama 3

I LOVE watching babies and toddlers.

Wait, that came out wrong and could be misinterpreted to sound a bit creepy. Let me rephrase that: Babies and toddlers are fascinating people, and we can learn a lot from observing them.

The main thing we “oldsters” can learn from these tiny-humans is their enthusiasm. When they get involved with something, or want something, or even don’t want something, they are quite animated about making their preferences known.

Earlier this week, I was walking behind a couple who had just exited a toy store in one of our malls, with their toddler cradled in his mom’s arms.

Who knows how much time they had spent in the store, but by the look on the new human’s face, it wasn’t nearly enough. He kept looking over his mom’s shoulder, making a “brrrmmm-brrrmmm” sound. I suspect he had seen a motorised vehicle of some sort upon which he had set his tiny heart.

When the parents had put enough distance between themselves and the toy store, the mom set the toddler down. “Brrrmmm-brrrmmm,” he shouted gleefully and made a beeline for the toy store, pausing only briefly to explain to an elderly lady, in his own gobbledegook language, that his parents were being unreasonable and selfish.

I sympathise with that youngster. Here we have a person who has been on the planet for, I would estimate, just shy of 20 months, and everything is new and exciting to him. At that point in his life, the “brrrmmm-brrrmmm” was the best thing he had seen on the entire planet!

“Oldsters” like me are more jaded, less excited, and very seldom enthusiastic. I suppose that comes with being disappointed far too many times. For example, at this point in my life, I am mildly interested in what a Government of National Unity will bring to the South African people, but I am not salivating at any prospects.

When oldsters get together, or meet by chance, we tend to complain, gripe, moan, and bemoan things that are just too dark to tolerate: potholes, leaking pipes, crumbling infrastructure, as well as achy backs, sore feet, and runny noses.

But then, one day, hope that has become faded, dull, and lifeless suddenly flickers back to life in a most unexpected way.

I was driving through Oudtshoorn recently, and some high school pupils suddenly walked across the road in front of the car. I noticed a pedestrian crossing clearly marked on the road, meaning they had the right of way.

I nodded my approval.

When I got to Knysna, I was driving behind a minibus-taxi one evening when it suddenly stopped in front of me – nogal without flashing the customary hazard warning lights. But this sudden stop was to let pedestrians cross the town’s main road on the zebra stripes.

Needless to say, I was impressed!

Back home in Kimberley, I cling to the hope that one day, somehow, with vision and drive, our pedestrians and motorists can be re-educated on how the rules of the road and traffic courtesy can make a city safer and more efficient.

However, in a city where pedestrian crossings are ignored and pedestrians walk on the tarred roads, forcing cars to swerve around them, I fear it may take a generation or two — we may have to start educating the very young now so that one day things can work better.

And it’s the education that needs to be reformed in a big way! One thing that parents, educators, and children need to realise is that a 30 percent pass mark has not been set to aid the pupil, it’s been set to make the politicians look good. If they can show a high and increasing pass rate on paper, it would appear as if they are achieving something.

But all they are achieving is a conveyor belt that pushes youngsters through the school system; and when they get their “pass” in matric, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.

All a 30 percent pass means is that you have not assimilated 70 percent of the information you should have. And that’s not good at all.

If I could offer advice to any pupil out there, it would be this: Aim for an A pass, because even if you do your best and don’t achieve that A, you will miss the mark by hitting a B or C at least. And that’s not too bad. But if you aim for a C or D pass and fall short of that – need I say more?

For school-going youth, here’s some more advice: There are some gurus out there who may help you rekindle and kickstart your learning engines. Jim Kwik is one of them; he can be found on YouTube. Other great sources of information on how to boost your learning are Harry Lorayne, Tony Buzan, Dominic O’Brein and Joshua Foer.

There may be more resources, but what I am trying to say is, with final exams not too far away, it’s time for matrics and all other pupils to knuckle down, put amusements aside, and, if necessary, learn how to learn.

May it never be that time, that marches relentlessly on, carries anyone – young or old – away from that “brrrmmm-brrrmmm” dream you always had before you have made every effort to achieve it.

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