Growing Up Children 

The most important responsibility of parents is parenting. Bringing a new life, pure and innocent, into this world is not as challenging as the journey of parenting. Carrying the life for the whole pregnancy and giving birth is just for a fixed period of time. The parenting part is lifelong.

How time flies…as if it was only yesterday I’ve been awarded the status as a parent, a mom at that, for the first time. This December shall be my 19th year. In a job, I would have been a senior and well-experienced employee at least, if not a master of it. However, in parenting, why does it feel as if I’m still a newbie? 

At each year of growth, I continuously experiencing differences and changes in parenting style. My summary on this is, what used to work for a certain stage does not apply anymore for the next. What worked for the boy doesn’t necessary work for the girl! 

When a lovely young lady enters my son’s life, I guess it is normal to feel a little apprehensive. Will he be a better person, will he respect her and be kind to her, will he take care of her heart and well-being and will she be and do the same to him?

I can only pray and hope that my dear son will remember the family values that’s been instilled in him thus far. Respecting other ladies as he would his mom and sister. Oh well…I just have to let go and let them be. I’m sure they are in good hands. Of course, studies come first (*hint*). 

I wonder how other parents deal with it and still stay cool about it. I heard that some freaked out, some tried to act cool but feeling otherwise, some resorted to stalking the children. I am fine as long as I can see some positive change in him. And no, I didn’t freak out..hahaha.

As for my teenage daughter, she’ll come to have deeper understanding of friendship year after year. People grow up and change along the way. Feeling is ever changing so does the environment. The only thing constant is change. Embrace change for the better. My gentle advice to you, dear daughter, is do not hold on too tightly to things or people. Let it go if you have to, let it pass. New things will come along. Receive it while you learn to adapt and accept. The choice is yours. Therefore, choose your thought and action wisely.

My dearest children, no one has the power to determine your happiness except yourself. No one has the power to make you angry or sad. It only applies when you permit it. You are your own master. If you feel down or angry, validate the feelings. Allow the feelings to flow in you (don’t try to stop it) then wipe the tears,  get up and move on. Always remember if you don’t have the energy to get up, reach out for help. I promise you that I’ll always be there for you no matter what or when. 

Life is neither easy nor difficult. Just a bit complicated. No ones knows the answer to everything. Not even I. We learn from our mistakes and become wiser. Just ensure we don’t repeat the same mistakes. If I may add, don’t even try the “bad stuffs” in order to learn from the mistake. Some mistakes can’t be turned around so easily, for example drugs. Some grave mistakes don’t come with second chance, for instance, road racing, drink and drive and anything that is against the law.

Children, when faced with uncertainty, always think things through. Do not let others force you into making rash decisions. You’ll be able to make sound decisions when the mind is more calm and steady. 

I enjoy watching the children grow and grow up well, not perfect…I’m proud of them as they are. Walk tall but be kind and humble. Carry yourselves well, speak well and always be mindful of your action. I’m so blessed having you by my side. You are my pride and joy, then, now and forever. 

A contented parent,

Alice N.

Parental Control

To what extent do parents wish to impose parental control over their children’s action and thoughts? To what extent would you as a parent influence the behaviour of your young ones?

Noted that we cannot control another human being who is able to think independently for him/herself. However, do we realize that we can indirectly influence their thoughts and actions? If you don’t believe this, think about your own childhood growing up. How much has your upbringing shaped you? How much has your parents’ speech and action influenced yours? Have you at any one point discovered that you actually sounded and/or acted just like your parents?

I’m not implying that parental control is not good or irrelevant. There are good values which we must live by and pass on to the following generation(s). Same goes to our family culture, with or without slight improvement or adjustment. Throughout my life, I have many teachers, life teachers, that is. The first of course, being my father. He gave me almost total freedom, except for those that might jeopardize my well-being and safety. I was allowed to choose my life direction, right from which school I wanted to attend, at the young age of 6, all the way to adulthood. It was my mother who tried her best to instill more discipline on me, as to what a girl/lady should do or say and what shouldn’t. I guess that provided a good balance, growing up. I must admit that I’m more grateful now than before.

Now that I’m a parent, a mother, I try to give some degree of freedom to my children. Allowing them to make their own life decisions while I provide a check and balance, when necessary. I have always preached to them that we shall always be responsible for our own action and choice that we made. However, we do impose parental control or rather rules here, when it comes to their well-being and safety.

They’ve been told repeatedly that life is impermanent. My presence here is as temporary as theirs. They will have to think for themselves; dare to make decisions; dare to make mistakes and to learn from them; dare to speak up while at the same time stand to be corrected; they are not perfect but many times, they made great decisions on their own, some of which I might not favour but they turned out well, better than I expected!

I always come across this : when a child (be it very young or an adult) did something greatly unacceptable, people are quick to judge and blame it on the parents. In my humble opinion, yes, parents are to be blamed in a way (if they one way or another, contribute to this delinquency) but if the child is a thinking young adult or adult, he/she has to assume the full responsibility. No excuse to pass the bug to the parents. Why? Simple because, we have the capability to think for ourselves, analyse any given situation and then come to a decision before acting or not acting upon it. If we get it right, bravo! If not, learn from it and make it right the next time. I always believe that all actions would have been thought of carefully before one acts upon them.

With or without parental control or guidance, there are people who made it in this world. What I mean by “made it” is that they live by a good set of principles and values. Some through the hard way of trials and errors in life, whilst some have the privilege to full family support and proper guidance. Regardless, it balls down to self; self-discipline, self-control, self-conscience…..

Dear young children/teenagers, when you have restricted or no passes to some thrilling actions and places, do yourself a favour, ask to understand why they are imposed on you. By having better understanding, you will be able to make wiser decisions in the future. You will know how to analyse situations and better choices. If you feel and think that your choice is right but different from that of your parents, have a discussion with them, while keeping an open mind.

Parents might know more but that doesn’t mean that they know everything and that includes you. Communicate openly with them so that they can understand you more and truly see for themselves how much you have changed and grown. Bear in mind that they are not trying to make life difficult for anyone, especially you; all they are concerned about is you and your well-being. Making them see your points is as important as you giving them a chance to present theirs to you and then come to a compromise.

Just remember, don’t rush to grow up. You have ample time to live your adult life. Enjoy your childhood and being showered with attention and adoration from your family members even though it might irritate you to your bones. Count your blessings that you are a receiver of such love and attention. Enjoy while it lasts, with a pinch of parental control. It’s not all that bad, really.

~ Alice N.


Preview on Feedage: my-trove-%E2%80%93-relationship-and-financial-matters-a-simple

Add to My Yahoo!

Add to Google!

Add to AOL!

Add to MSN

Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Add to Netvibes

Subscribe in Pakeflakes

Subscribe in Bloglines

Add to Alesti RSS Reader

Add to Feedage.com Groups

Add to Windows Live

iPing-it

Add to Feedage RSS Alerts

Add To Fwicki

Add to Spoken to You

Outward Bound Camp Experience

This is a continuation from my last posting, “Loosening The Apron String”. It’s finally the 10th day since the last time we parted with our son at the Outward Bound Malaysia (OBM) campsite. It was a 10-day camp and worth every second of it. Well done, OBM!!!

On the 9th evening, we had BBQ Nite where parents/families were invited to great food (mushroom soup, BBQ chicken thigh with brown sauce, coleslaw, salad, mashed potatoes, fruits) and entertained by all the participants, as young as 10 year-old. You’d be amazed by their talents! I was, and on that special evening, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my son could rap so well! Yeah, one proud mom and dad here 😉

A huge contrast to the first day of registration. The once shy and timid Tweens and Teens had been replaced by confident and excited young ladies and lads! The hall was filled with joy, warm and strong fellowship. If you were there, you could feel the strong bond amongst them. They no longer hanging around their parents but preferring to be with their buddies instead. At the same time, I could feel a tinge of sadness in the room as they knew that they’re left with one more night together before they part in the morning with each return to their own homes and lives.

On the final day, the closing ceremony was carried out in an orderly manner. I must acknowledge that OBM carried out their activities with much care and professionally too. On this glorious morning, all parents were punctual for the closing ceremony. During such time, parents would take every opportunity to snap as many pictures of their children with their friends. Same here…

On our way home, I was most glad to hear from my son that he enjoyed himself so much that he wished to attend the YAC again next year. He didn’t mind the “inconvenience” which came with it as he loved all the outdoor activities such as kayaking, setting up his own tent, rock climbing, jungle tracking, cooking together, etc. He even missed his dorm already. Upon hearing that, my tween daughter also echoed her brother’s wish. Great, we shall do that again come 2012!

Deep down, I hope from now onwards, his experience will bring positive changes to his life, besides the wonderful memories from this 10-day camp. I also encourage him to keep in touch with all his new-found friends, via Facebook, emails or occasional meetings for chats and catching up.

All in all, I’m most glad that we made that decision to register him for the YAC at OBM. Thanks to our dearest friend/brother, DKA who initiated this idea. He attended this camp when he was younger and it changed him for the better, to who he is today. Do you know that OBM has been on our land for the last 57 years and still counting?!

Cheers to Gayong YAC28!

Alice N.


Preview on Feedage: my-trove-%E2%80%93-relationship-and-financial-matters-a-simple

Add to My Yahoo!

Add to Google!

Add to AOL!

Add to MSN

Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Add to Netvibes

Subscribe in Pakeflakes

Subscribe in Bloglines

Add to Alesti RSS Reader

Add to Feedage.com Groups

Add to Windows Live

iPing-it

Add to Feedage RSS Alerts

Add To Fwicki

Add to Spoken to You

Are We Just Passers-by?

The recent hit and run accident involving a 2-year old toddler shocked the whole world beyond words! Many people were fuming mad with the van drivers, passers-by and the parents. Thank God there was this lady who was humane enough to act without much hesitation. Otherwise, I can’t imagine what would be left of the baby. So sad that it happened to such a young being (anyone for that matter) and people around the world mourned for her death. I can’t bear the thought that if she were to survive the accident, would she be whole? Would she lead a normal life? With this thought in mind, I’m glad that God loves her more….I’d like to think that she’ll be at a safer, better place, well and happy always. I can only imagine the pain her parents have to go through now for the loss of their beautiful baby.

Coming back to our home ground, many people are passers-by too; whereby they will slow down to look, hesitate for a while before moving on. In the case of snatch theft, when the victim shouted for help, onlookers just looked and shook heads feeling sorry for the victim. Sad, isn’t it? It is a relief to know that not all are just passers-by. Fortunately, there are still some Good Samaritans left. There were times when we saw people reacted quickly to help the victim to safety, some manned the traffic, or someone called the emergency line to report the accident, etc. Bless them all.

When we hear the sirens from afar, do make way for the rescue teams i.e. police patrol, ambulances and fire brigades to reach the accident site without any further delay – by simply getting out of the way! That much all of us can do for the victims. Sometimes, we encountered some insensitive people who refused to make way, and instead racing with these ambulances! You can never tell what goes on that driver’s mind! (sigh)

When we see what happened to the toddler in China, don’t act too surprised. I don’t mean to be insensitive or disrespectful. We all know that similar event happened all over the world, which could be unknown to us as they were not reported. Let’s make this a wake up call to all human beings. Revisit our moral values. Think about what we can offer to another human being. Think, what if the victim is someone known to us? When such things happened before our eyes, what would be the first thing we should do. Small gesture does make a huge difference, especially when it is about life and death matter.

For parents with young children, please keep close watch of them. You cannot afford to turn your back even for several seconds! You have no idea where they could have wandered off to. If the road visibility is low, some drivers may not see the little figure in front, side or back of their vehicles. Just keep them close to you at all times when you are in public areas. Hold on to them at all times, if you can.

Another scene is streets in residential areas. In the evening, you can find many young children led by maids or family members, cycling, running, or playing in the middle of the street! Some even play at the curve/bend of the street where no one can see any oncoming traffic! I get very mad when I see adults with a group of children playing in the middle of the street and expecting drivers to watch over them! How shall we drill this into their adult heads that the street is not the playing ground?! Every residential area has playgrounds and big fields for running around. This scene only waits for an accident to happen, I pray not. When accidents really happened, parents would be quick to blame road users and not themselves, who first allowed the children to play at the wrong place!!!

Parents reading this and unaware where your children are playing at, please check and set strict safety rules for the children and the maids to follow. There is always a right place for doing something. If you love your children and do not wish something bad to befall them, this is the time to act. If it has been yourself allowing your own children to play and cycle in circle on the street along your house, stop this instant! Don’t be lazy. Take a short walk to the playground to let them play safely there. Otherwise, they would think that the streets are their play areas too, without knowing the grave danger lurking behind that bend of the street.

Let’s decide to do a good deed by not being just passers-by and to always watch over our young children like hawks! Keep them close-by, within eyesight and ear shot. Never mind if people call you paranoid or whatever. It’s better to be safe than sorry…..

~ Alice N.

Dear Children,

I have always wanted to be your friend. To speak words which are soothing to your ears, words you like to hear. To agree with you, to please you. To do things your way. To agree instead of disagree. To earn as many star ratings from you. But…..

My wonderful children, as much as I wanted to be your best pal, I am also your mother. I don’t want to choose either one. I want to be both with you; I choose to be your MOM and your FRIEND. There is no hard and fast rule which comes first or second. Depending on the situation, my role will switch from one to another, where applicable.

By being your MOM, naturally, I shall set some boundaries. I don’t enjoy being strict on you, but I have to, sometimes. However, I do allow certain degree of freedom as long as you can handle it. I shall always discuss with you when I decide to take away any benefit. It is only temporary, my precious. When I feel that you’re ready for more freedom, rest assured, you will have it. Please don’t rush to grow up. Every bittersweet experience you go through now will form the firm foundation to your adult lives. I shall hope that you would cherish every single day of your life.

As your FRIEND, when you are hurt, upset, angry, disappointed, frustrated, afraid or in doubt, I shall always be there for you. Just call and I’ll come to you; lending you my ears to listen to your troubles; offer my shoulder to lean your tired head on; a warm bear hug to comfort you; sitting next to you, accompanying you in silence till you are ready to talk about it; or to brainstorm the issue together, if you wish. I shall first allow you space to handle the situation on your own, unless you ask for it and when I feel that my intervention is appropriate, then I shall step in. Of course, the mother in me would do anything to chase away the blues to see that sweet, heart-warming smile and listen to the lovely tune of your laughter again. But, I must prevent myself from jumping off my skin and start taking over from you. You must at least try first, okay?

As your MOM and FRIEND, when you are wrong, I must let you know and give you the chance to make it right. You will surely learn from the experience, my sweethearts. Please understand why I choose not to be too protective over you, for your own good. Also understand why I want you to learn to be independent. As I’ve said before, I won’t be with you forever. For as long as I’m with you, I shall guide you as walk along your path of life. In short, I shall teach you to fish, instead of fishing for you. That way, you’ll Learn to survive well with or without me.

Children, all parents wish for the best for their young ones. Likewise for me. There will be times when you are confused or even puzzled over some actions or decisions I made. Please feel free to ask; no question is silly when you seek further understanding. It is best to get the right answer than to make a wild guess. You may get it right, you may not. If not, it may cause unnecessary misunderstanding. We don’t want that do we?

So my lovely prince and princess, always remember that you can count on us to be there when you need us, your Daddy and I. We love you always ❤

Love always,
Mom

BFF vs WFF

In the Sunday class yesterday, my fellow teacher talked about Friends and Friendship. Everyone has friends and most, if not all have BFF (Best Friend Forever, a term made popular by Paris Hilton, I think).

What makes a friend a BFF? He/she must be one who likes you for who you are, respects you and your differences, not afraid to voice out when you are not right, loyal to you even in your absence, a good counsel to you, be there when you need someone to lean on, sympathises with you, is a ‘helpmate’, etc.

As opposed to BFF, there is the WFFWorst Friend Forever. Who are these people? These are the ones who used to be your friends or once upon a time, your BFFs. They know enough about you but have either betrayed your friendship or hurt you deeply, which resulted in them being your WFF now.

Who are WFFs? They are :
#1 The ‘leach/robber’ – who appropriate a friend’s possessions and give less but ask much,
#2 The sweet-talker – who talks how good he/she was in the past and future, tries to gain your favor using empty promises,
#3 The flatterer – praises when you do evil, disapproves when you do good, speaks well in your presence but bad in your absence,
#4 The ruin-bringer – indulges in intoxicants (alcohol and drugs) and worthless activities (gambling, “lepak”) hanging out till wee hours of the morning (clubbing constantly).

When you are judging your friends whether they are BFF or WFF materials, look at yourself too. Are you a BFF or WFF to your friends? We cannot be a TAKER all the time. We must balance it by being a GIVER to our friends too. Then, you’ll enjoy having a harmonious friendship with your friends. No one likes to be taken for granted, which we unintentionally do sometimes. It is alright if you realize it soon enough and make it up to your friends.

Friendship is such a beautiful relationship amongst friends. Let’s not be ‘fine-weathered’ friends only. Let us be ‘all-weathered’ friends to our buddies. Meaning, we’ll be there for them through good and bad times. We need a friend most when we are down, to share our sorrow or disappointment. Who will be objective to help us see the truth and think with us for a solution. Someone who understands our sorrow and sympathizes with us. During good times, we enjoy sharing the joy with such good friends too.

If you have such BFFs, treasure that friendship and grow with it. Take care if it, nourish it with love and attention. Life is little bit more difficult without friends, especially quality and genuine ones.

Cheers to Good Friendship and BFFs!

~Alice N.

Fear, Therefore Lie…

Let’s make a wild guess…many people lie, not because they enjoy doing that, but because they are afraid of the receiver’s reaction. I strongly believe that human beings were born with conscience. They were born with analytical mind. Deep down everyone knows what is right and wrong, well, most of the time. Either you know it immediately or learn from mistakes committed.

Now, that makes us wonder, isn’t it, why people want to lie to another? Between children and parents, between spouses, amongst friends, siblings, colleagues, strangers, etc. We all know that the truth will one day, somehow or rather, surface! Not only will the liar feels embarrassed and sorry; Regrettably, it makes one feels more difficult to trust that person again.

What I heard mostly and from personal experience are little lies which children tell to their parents. It is usually school-related, about homework and exams results. Every parent whom I came into contact with would share that his/her child lied and hid incomplete homework, lied to teachers, about report card, money, books, etc.

What I found out from the young ones is that, they lied because of fear. Fear of being scolded or punished and the possibility of causing disappointment or sadness to their parents. In their little innocent mind, when they realize the “oops! effect”, to them, the only way to cover it up is via a little lie so that mummy and daddy will continue to enjoy a happy day and loving them. They’ll face the consequences when they cross the bridge. Meanwhile, they’ll carry that burden on their small shoulders.

I continue to give assurance to my children that if they tell the truth, we parents, will not get angry. We may get a bit disappointed with their actions, but we also want to hear them out, and giving them second chances to make it good again. We want them to know that we love them and would appreciate their honesty. There is always a solution to everything.

Children often feel relieved to know that they can tell the truth and still get parents’ support as they learn from their mistakes. Mistake done….what we want to do, moving forward, is to let them to learn from it. By doing so, we are making them understand that Honesty is the Best Policy! They are also learning that making mistakes is common but most importantly, not to repeat them in the future. Of course, after all, they still have to face the consequences as a result of their lies. By being there for them helps them recover better from that situation, without crushing their self-esteem.

I never fail to let them know that when they lie, not only will they be hurting the ones they love but themselves too. Simply because, by lying, they will be consumed by guilt, they cannot sleep well and be happy, and always live in fear that the truth will finally come out in the open. Then, they have to suffer from the embarrassment of being caught lying.

A far as I know, children love their parents very much and deeply. They will not want to hurt them at all, at least not intentionally. They are especially sensitive to their surroundings. Always seeking approval and love from their parents. They enjoy basking in their parents’ attention and happiness. It’s like angel’s wings wrapping around their little body, keeping them safe and warm always.

Growing up, children either learn to stop or continue lying. It all depends on how parents react and manage this delicate situation. Either you offer love and understanding (behind gritted teeth) or you scold and punish heavily. When you choose love and understanding, that doesn’t mean the child get away scot-free. He/she will still be reprimanded for having lied in the first place. You decide on the right punishment. Make them understand that, what you disagree with is the action, not the person. No harm letting them know how you see and feel about them as an individual – their good qualities which you know so well.

Having said all that, you know and I know, that the children forgets easily. Parents will still be challenged repeatedly but you’ll find that when you use the right technique, giving them a safe platform to speak up, the lying will eventually become lesser.

Let’s make them see that Honesty is still the Best Policy“. Of course we are the Giant role model to them. We must first walk the talk! Let them see that it is alright to admit a mistake and face the consequences. In fact, it’s most honorable and brave for a person to do just that!

~ Alice N.

Have Faith

Being parents, when friends come together for a chit-chat, we can never escape the topic of our children. Their diet, well-being, education, current issues, etc.

When they are young and living with us, we would watch over them. Though not the wholesome 24 hours, at least part of it, everyday. We try to teach them as much as we possibly can to prepare them for the world, like what to do when meeting strangers, making new friends, school, making choices, taking responsibility, so on and so forth.

Now let’s fast forward several years. These young children have grown older and leaving home to further their studies. Many parents at this stage shared their apprehension; what if they mix with the wrong crowd and learn the wrong things?! Mothers are usually the worry warts. All they can do is pray hard and hope that their children will remember what had been taught to them all this while.

I am thinking aloud if I may; if these children have been exposed to their own faith since young and been instilled the right practice, I dare trust that when they are away from us, their faith will be there to guide them. When they are faced with challenging situation, their conscience will kick in, sooner or later.

Having faith is like having a compass with you throughout your journey of life. If they ever stray from the right path, I would like to believe that they won’t go too far off course. When they are in fear, one of the ways to calm their nerves is to say a prayer. When you communicate with God, somehow or rather, you’ll feel this sense of security and hope enveloping you. When the mind is in a state of calmness, you tend to see things more clearly and make better judgement.

Right now, as they are still young, we may not see much result from our “teachings”. Of course, we must do what we preach too. We are after all their first role model. Do continue to expose them to religious teachings and right practices as much as possible. All these will internalize over time and will one day emerge, in time of need.

This is my personal thought and I speak based upon what I heard, observed and experienced. I trust that besides family, faith also plays an important role in our daily lives. Faith is like a walking stick we use to help us walk along this uneven life path.

Having faith makes one more confident and independent. It makes us become brave enough to reflect and make adjustments in any situation we are stuck with. It also makes us aware of consequences to our every action.

If you think otherwise and have different experience, do share with us.

~ Alice N.

Quality vs Quantity Time

Earlier today, I told my teenage son that I felt guilty for not been spending enough time with his sister these couple of months. I would be home in most mornings with him than in the afternoon with the sister, as I would either go to the office to do some works or meeting clients. To which he quickly replied, it is fair, because I had been away in most mornings for the first several months this year and now it is his turn to enjoy my company!

I had read books in the past, where they gave different views in respect of quality vs quantity time for children. This issue usually applies to both working parents in the family. Many writers said that it is alright because you can make it up to the children with “quality” time. Most adults would agree when you could differentiate between the two. However, do not be surprised when it comes to children’s perspective, they don’t bother about quality; to them, quantity means quality. In their minds, they are counting the number of hours you spent with them everyday, not how well you plan your time together during those weekends when you are home, or where you take them for holidays once or twice a year.

“Quality time” as defined by my teenage son : as long as I am with him, he feels happy enough, even though I could be in my study doing some paperwork and he, in another room or merely sending him to his co-curricular activities. He told me that he doesn’t necessarily need me to sit with him or do things with him all the time, in order to feel my presence.

When I asked the same question to my tween daughter, she said that she would prefer to have me at home more (the same). Also, she wants me to sit at the same table doing my work while she does her school work. After she has completed her school work, she would like me to go for a walk or to play with her. This is the definition of “quality time” by my daughter.

Two different behaviour but with so much similarity, isn’t it? To sum it up, to children, Quality = Quantity time. So, when some parents said that kids don’t care how high quality time you spend with them, they are right! It’s worth paying attention to it.

I know time is never enough to complete our tasks in a day. Like I used to comment before, “if we can complete everything in a day, with nothing to be carried forward to another day, I guess our purpose on earth has come to an end. There’s nothing for us to look forward to”. There will always be something incomplete for us to continue the next day. Our life activities run on circle. I think the only time everything stops is when our heart stops beating and our brain stops working.

We really have no choice but to make the most out of our time. We need to provide some time for our children in the beginning or at end of our tiring day. Not to worry, once they grow up, they’ll need lesser of your time, if not at all. I feel that it is important to be there for them as they grow up and I’m sure you all know why.

Have a great weekend and chat more with one another face to face, instead of using hi-tech gadgets. My colleague always says, “High Touch is always better than Hi-Tech”. He’s referring to communication amongst human beings – the old fashion way still works better. I concur with his statement.

Dealing With Some Life Issues…

Past week, the sweet harmony of our family was challenged again. I was at my wits’ end having to deal with IT once again. It is most tiring for both my husband and I. We are just a simple family who always welcome friends, including children’s friends, to our humble home. We treat everyone the same, with concern, kindness and sincerity.

Family harmony is extremely important. I trust that all parents think alike; values that we parents want to instill in our children is to avoid harming others, physically and emotionally, and to help them as much as we possibly can, so that we can all live harmoniously with others.

That brings me to a sensitive subject, which I promised myself, two things I would not write about, Politics and Religion. But, the latter is inevitable because some insensitive people have invaded my peaceful fort again! Yup, this is not the first time. As parents, we will always protect/defend our children when they are threatened, in any ways. As a result of that “invasion”, my poor child became confused, critical and lose interest in his studies! If you were in my shoes, you would be on hyper-protective mode too.

Religion should not be forced on anyone. Today, when we sent our children to school, they are not only faced with challenges from peers, academic achievement, growing pains, they are also bombarded on daily basis with kind invitations from classmates, to their places of worship with them! Since when schools became recruitment ground for religions? Pardon my choice of words but it does look like MLM (nothing against MLM) recruitment! Seems to me that these students are more concerned to achieve “brownie points” on religious issue than learning the right thing in school. Please don’t be amazed when I tell you that these students are as young as seven years old!

As we live in multiple-cultural and multiple-religious society, it is inevitable to have such encounters. When I asked my students in my Sunday class about it, 90% of them told me that they have such experience all the time in school! So, we are not alone…but WHY? I thought we go to school to gain knowledge not to do God’s work to try to convince our friends to convert to our faith! YIKES! Where and what has gone so wrong in today’s world? Is it the world or it’s just us? (sigh)

What do we do if our children are the “victims”? I think, we should prepare them by discussing the fact that people have different beliefs and thus mutual respect and tolerance, for one another, are important. Do not let religion separate what could have been a great friendship. If you find that your child is being enticed or pressured to convert to his/her friend’s faith, you should intervene early on. Describe ways in which your beliefs and values can help your children dealing with daily life issues. We have to teach them how to answer to their friend’s questions about their own faith and how to think for themselves when faced with such challenges.

If you are the one encouraging your children to influence their friends to embrace your faith, please stop this minute for everyone’s sake! You have to set your priorities right when you send your children to school. How would it make you feel if the table is turned. Instead of you trying to convert others, it’s now your children’s friends trying to entice your precious children to join their faiths. How would you react to that? I sincerely hope that your answer will make you more sensitive towards others. Please set the record straight for your family, especially the young ones, before your children take the blame for lack of guidance from you. Always do to others what you want others to do to you. We are all human beings, with very little difference, actually. We should respect one another’s religion and culture. We must be the role model to our children so that they can live and respect people’s differences. Tell our children that every religion is good and is to be respected. Do not try to tarnish something so pure and holy with your lack of understanding. Get to know our own faith well and adopt the right practice.

If you feel that my choice of words are inappropriate, I shall not apologize for them. These are words from my heart, as a mother who will do the right thing to protect her youngs. If you could witness how my child had changed, I think you would encourage me to say more and use stronger vocabs. Like I said, we are just a simple family who knows very well who we are and we don’t have to shout to be heard. So long we do what is right in our lives, I strongly believe God will pave our paths with firm, level surface to walk on. We respect people and their differences. We can accept people around us to grow freely and make their own choices, and in return, we don’t expect any lesser from others.

Remember, don’t let differences separate us all. When we learn to respect and tolerate all these differences, we can live harmoniously with one another and be best of pals too. It’s exactly like back in time, some three decades ago! Everyone lived in peace and harmony, respecting one another’s differences. Share that sweet moments with your children and make them understand; it happened before (living harmoniously) and it can still be so today if we do what we did back then.

I hope I make sense after all….

~ Alice N.