Do keep the kids from Standard 3 in your prayers as they begin their primary standard assessment exams (UPSR) today. My parish had a Mass which included a special blessing for the kids as they face this time of trial.
I remember the exams I took when I was younger. Even if you prepared well, it could still be rather terrifying. What more if you have no idea what you were doing.
Malaysian society, like many Asian societies, places great value on education and exams and their importance get blown all out of proportion. From personal experience, I can testify that a piece of paper can only get you so far. The rest is up to you. It's not that the paper is not important, but far more important is your attitude, your drive and your desire to learn, grow and improve.
The emphasis on education is a noble one, but oftentimes, it becomes a proxy war between parents who compare and contrast their kids with the Jones' or Lee's down the street. It thus becomes unhealthy for the children as learning, which is supposed to be fun, becomes a chore and people are put off by it, which is a real tragedy. And the poor students who are less academically inclined but have aptitudes in other fields. As the Singaporean movie "I not stupid' so poignantly portrayed, these kids are often lost in the woodwork as schools pursue academic excellence.
Something that sticks with me from my years in the Penang Free School is one of it's mottos coined by a bygone Headmaster, 'Academic brilliance is no substitute for poverty of character'.
But now, before I get too sidetracked, let us pray for the Standard 6 students who will start their exams tomorrow and the Form 3 students who will take their exams in the coming weeks. Our prayer is not that they will conjure up answers miraculously, especially those who paid no heed to anything their teachers have tried to teach them, but that the Lord may grant them wisdom, strength and serenity as they face this trial.
St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for them, ora pro eis!.
40 minutes ago