Defining Society’s Success Standard: Does Age Matter?

Recently, my social media news feed was full of headlines and viral posts regarding some students who just enrolled their first year in a prestigious university by the age of 14 and 15. The posts have been shared and liked by more than hundreds of people.

Moreover, a local newspaper in my province has recently had a headline about a 19-year old boy who became the youngest graduate of a prestigious university. All of that news is similar in one thing; the headlines came off as a pride as if the younger you’ll graduate from school, the more successful you’ll become.

From that viral news, I can’t help but notice that our society has still equipped by the idea and stereotype of the correlation between being successful and young at the same time. Age becomes a crucial factor in our society, especially in the eyes of the baby-boomers parents, as an indicator of being successful. Maybe that’s why in these recent years, based on The Ministry of Education and Culture, the percentage of the children under 7 years-old who are enrolling the elementary school, is increasing continuously.

The basic hypotheses are; when you’re young and have graduated, it means that your cognitive skill is beyond average as you were capable to attend the classes, pass the examinations, and finish all the required tasks which were designed for the people above your age. Your resilience and intelligence toward those academic obstacles were highly valued, simply because you’re young. On the other hand, starting this 2017, the government is encouraging parents to wait for their children by the age of 7 to be enrolled in elementary school.

So, why does age become controversial when it comes to education?

People tend to forget that besides the cognitive aspect, there are physical, psychological, and emotional aspects to be considered when children attend school. Based on psychologists, in the age of 7 years-old, a child is ready to receive academic lessons by attending a formal class, because they are physically ready to sit still and concentrate as their motoric and cognitive aspects have been developed enough to control their behaviors. Not to mention that they are emotionally more stable and independent compared to the younger children.

Not only about enrolling the elementary school, I personally believe that physical, psychological, and especially emotional aspects of the students, need to be highlighted in each of the educational stages. Age development has been one of the concerns when it comes to emotional maturity. It means that age development is crucial when it comes to maintaining the student’s mental health condition. Even though external environment has played the part of developing student’s maturity, we can’t deny that biological aspect of age will also influence the way they think, interact, and cope with all the circumstances that they confront on daily basis.

Instead of encouraging the society’s success standard on age, let’s start to put our attention to the student’s mental health well-being. Our formal education curriculums have been ‘heavy-packed’ already with its long duration of study hours, not to mention those high standard requirements to be graduated. It’s time for us to put aside the society’s success standard and focus on the solutions to develop student’s emotional intelligence and talents.

Parents need to remember that in the real work-life condition, people who are five years older or younger could be placed in the same positions anyway. So, instead of asking our children to graduate as fast as they possibly can, let’s encourage their development of soft skills and talents, because in this millennial generation, age is nothing but a number.

Parents and teachers can help their children to explore more about their real passions and develop their potential simply by doing interactive discussions every day. Encourage them to join some extracurricular activities or committee organizers. Let them sign up as a member of community groups or youth organizations. Encourage them to be the project officer or the coordinator in their campus. Let them explore as many new things as possible and then discuss what things they loved the most in order to find their suitable career paths.

At the end of the day, what really matters is the contributions which our students could give to the society. It is awesome if they graduate at such young age, but it only means that they have more time than the other students to contribute and bring positive impacts with their degree for the society. Always remember that it’s never about your age, but it’s always about your positive impacts for others.                

Featured image via falllenskies
Published at Magdalene (October 17, 2017)