Scholars Working For Farmers. Really?

By: Colin Goh
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Main Points:

1. ‘C’ students grow up to be phenomenal success, and hire ‘A’ students to work in their businesses.

2. Many average ‘B’ students often work in government-type jobs.

3. Never crush your children’s dreams.

Do you agree with the points above?

Author of phenomenally popular “Rich Dad Poor Dad“, Robert Kiyosaki urges parents not to be too obsessed with their kids’ letter grades in this book with a rather controversial title. Instead, he asks that parents focus on helping their children find their true genius or gifts through letting them pursue their passion.

“What sacrilege!”, I already hear some parents scream.

Now firstly, let me say you will either love or hate this book, depending on which school of thinking you belong to. I rather enjoyed it, knowing that there is hope for “academically-poor” children and their parents. But I half suspect my wife, who’s rather a fanatic on mainstream education, hated this book to the core.

In this book, Kiyosaki explains why ‘A’ students who do well in exams usually end up being attorneys, accountants and architects. Yes, they are paid well, but they are often not the most creative thinkers or dreamers. Conversely, ‘C’ students tend to grow up to become contractors, cafe owners, and even CEOs. Right in the middle are the ‘B’ students (like yours truly), who end up in government-type jobs such as teachers, hospital health practitioners and uniformed officers.

How apt!

There’s no need to ask why this is so, because there will always be a rebuttal following an answer. But suffice to say, I think highly-educated students (and their parents) tend to take less risks after graduation, because they can almost guarantee a good salary for the next 30 to 40 years. Those who frequently flunk their exams, however, end up fending for themselves and have to literally use their hands and creativity to feed themselves. I guess in paper-chasing Singapore, this book describes us to a tee.

Now what I truly learned from this book wasn’t the notion that we can console our children should they score bad grades, but the ideas to how we should guide our children to dream. For instance, instead of telling them that they will never live in a big house with a big lawn for a small dog, ask them “what would you do so that you can afford one in the future?”. By simply twisting the way they think – don’t say “no” but ask “how can I?”, their little brains will be triggered to find answers, often creatively.


Now I was faced with this situation with my daughter last year. She was lamenting that she could’t fly like a bird (she was 5). I told her that’s only true if she thought that way. I then challenged her to think how she could fly. Her unexpected answer blew me away – “Daddy, I think I can make a rocket pack when I am bigger, so I can fly like a bird”. To say that I was proud was an understatement.

Now this book isn’t perfect. If you purposely find fault with it, you will find lots of repeated writing across chapters and preaching for you to attend Rich Dad‘s seminars (they have an office in Singapore too).

But look beyond these gritties, and you find yourself a highly motivational book for parents to inculcate healthy values in their children. It opened my mind to teaching financial literacy to children, which I never really thought of beyond opening a savings account in their names or saving the spare pocket money in piggy banks. It taught me that if my children want to try running a pasar malam stall, I shouldn’t shun on that. Most importantly, the book reminded me never to quell the wondrous curiosity in children.


Put simply, if they paint a cat purple, let it be. If they want a toy car to fly, don’t tell them that it doesn’t happen. If they aspire to be the next Steve Jobs, don’t tell them its not possible; ask them instead to teach you how.

I leave you with this quote from the book, which I rather like.

“We are not in a financial crisis. We are in an educational crisis. This crisis begins when our children enter school, spending years learning nothing about money and being taught by people who know little about money.” – Robert Kiyosaki


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Posted on 14/03/2015

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