“Start a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it” Proverbs 22:6
Japanese gardens are sculpt and designed to provide a visual experience as one walk through it and enjoy the setting. This photo was taken on 1 May 2007 as Pat and I walked through Seiryu-en Garden in the Nijo Castle in Kyoto Japan. We were attracted to the beautiful trees across the pond on the small island. They have grown and shaped so nicely that the view is so pleasing to the eyes.
To achieve this effect, gardeners pruned and sculptured trees during the early growth periods. Shoots are twisted round wires. The twist and turns of the stem and branches of the young trees needed to be supported as they were growing until the trunks were stronger. In the end these trees become nicely shaped to suit their natural inclinations and bents.
On 25 Sep 2013, in his keynote address at a work plan seminar of the Ministry of Education, Minister Heng Swee Keat articulated some core beliefs which have guided the ministry.
- “First, every child can learn, whatever his starting point. We can and must help them find success in learning.
- Second, every child is different - siblings, even twins, can have very different interests and strengths! Each child will therefore succeed in different ways.
- Third, our children will need different attributes to succeed in the future, because the world will be different - just as it is dramatically different today from even a decade ago.”
The clever gardener can envision the potential beauty of each young sapling and guide its growth so that eventually each tree will be differently shaped yet become equally pleasing. In the same way, every child is different.
Similarly, the wise teacher and parent will teach and guide children understanding their natural inclinations, their ‘bents’. They can recognise these and support the desirable tendencies whilst smoothing the rough patches and shaping out the bad and undesirable attributes.