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Life is more than great CSEC results


We in the Caribbean get stuck in our elitist attitude around education and careers. We do it for CPEA when our children sit the exam to enter secondary school and for CSEC when they are leaving secondary school and need to take more exams. Yes, congratulations are in order for students who do well on the CPEA and CSEC. They studied hard, dedicated themselves, and you the parents paid for those lessons and exams. Job well done. 

But by now the excitement of how many subjects a student passed is waning and the stress of looking for a job is beginning to set in.

Please know that exceptional CSEC results are not a guarantee of a good job. Great results are also not the only way to build a good life. God made us all with different skills. Some people are exceptional with their hands and do not need to have outstanding CSEC scores (although reading, writing and math are important for living). 

We all don’t have to be doctors, lawyers, teachers and office workers. I am proud of my carpenter/farmer father. I am proud of my husband who is a licensed, professional CDL-A tractor trailer driver, who has provided for his family with this job for many years now. His career choice allowed me to pursue my career.

We should be able to celebrate CSEC results without belittling career paths that are different. 

We should be thinking about the following for all young adults (young men and women). Can your young adult:

1. Conduct a conversation in proper English without going into an incomprehensible dialect?

2. Fill out a job application correctly?

3. Create and balance a personal budget?

4. Advocate for themselves without feeling the need to curse and burst out in anger?

5. Cook a healthy, well-balanced meal?

6. Do their own laundry without colours running and clothes getting damaged?

7. Iron their clothes?

8. Clean a home properly? 

9. Deal with an emergency without losing their cool?

10. Change a car tyre?

11. Build professional relationships and collaborate with others in a team setting?

12. Be sexually responsible?

13. Ask for help when they need it?

14. Accept constructive criticism without having a meltdown?

15. Write a clear, concise résumé/CV?

16. Say “no” respectfully and without guilt?

17. Write a proper handwritten thank-you note?

Please allow your young adults to find their talents and gifts and honour them.

3 Ways to Come Up Higher

1. Parents, do not beat or berate your children when they don’t do well on exams.

2. Don’t compare the achievement of one child to another.

3. Encourage your child with positive words on a regular basis.

Karen Hinds is an author, consultant and CEO of Workplace Success Group LLC, a consulting firm that helps organizations develop the next generation of leaders. Social Media: @KarenHindsWSG