Friday, October 10, 2008

An outsider view of Singapore

Read an interesting article today in TODAY newspaper of this letter sent in to the paper. The letter was a response to another letter regarding expat children not settling down in Singapore. A jarring comment by a foreigner regarding the way we parent in ways that over-protect the child.

" it true that they (Singaporean children) no longer venture out to learn and discover things on their own?"

Isn't it true that we do restrict our kids play time to indoor clean safe environment and not the get out and explore kind?

The final knock out punch from their perspective should send us thinking deep and hard:

"The need is, really, to teach our children not to regard material needs as the foundation of one's identity and instead, learn to believe in doing the best that they can in whatever fields they are interested in, without a care of societal expectations."

Very discerning isn't it? If you still are not like me, feeling guilty as charge by the accusations, think along the line of...

if you don't study, next time what are you going to become?
this kind of thing can't earn money, you know?
you study well, we buy you...
how can you not do well in (subject), you not going to be able to find a job

Think again.

We have reduce learning into a quest for future comfort, focusing on the material wealth it will provide and not giving them a chance to develop a love for learning. If they get that, it is an added benefit. The state of the deterioration has come to such a state that I came across a teacher commenting about what a student said to her when she offered to give extra lessons for the students to prepare them for the coming 'O' levels exams. Her class response to her kind, thoughtful and self sacrificing gesture was..."teacher, if we come, you treat us to McDonalds, ok?" The infuriated teacher response was you should give me a treat instead of the other way round.


BEWARE ... materialism will one day eat into the capacity of a child's ability to maximise his potential and rob him of his destiny. Helping them by motivating them through material incentives may not be helping them at all...


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Birth of This Blog

There has been much deliberation before I finally embarked on creating this blog. The first seed of the idea came from several parents that responded to me after talks I gave on cyberwellness: "Where can I go for more information?".

After many of such remarks, an idea of creating a blog mainly to talk about what I feel and see around me regarding parenting in this information technology (IT) age began to birth itself in my head.

Initial thinking was how can I have time to keep this updated as I am less of a disciplined person to be doing this on a regular enough basis. Cheap excuses...many like to hear about it and know more so today I thought, whatever, I start and do what I can. Whoever can benefit from would be a good thing. So here goes.

So whats so special today that I decided to jump into the deep end and throw caution to the wind? Well, this was my first official training and accreditation for any parenting talks under any organisation...I attended umpteen number of talks and now at least I have a little cert to prove it. Ha ha the kids I work with closely...LAME!

Just some thoughts to close off this first posting and of course it would be regarding the fresh from the oven insights from the talk I just attended which over time hopefully would have more as I digest what I heard.

Firstly, parenting is definitely a learnt skill. If we do not constantly learn, we are always in danger of falling back onto a routine that we formulated and before we know it, become irrelevant as our children would have changed in this break neck pace of a society. Now thats food for thought, when was the last time we read anything with the intention of applying them to our parenting? I have very often read some newspaper articles, especially sensationalised ones, and lament over the morality, etc of this generation but hardly go one step further to think about how it should affect my parenting.

The most important style of parenting should be that of a coach/mentor/back-boned/whatever term used for parenting that requires us to treat our kids as someone we guide through life. Yet we are rarely thinking about how we can help them navigate these situations we read about. If we do not formulate an answer to a potential issue, how are we to prepare them to be able to handle it?

Don't be lazy, we need to think through how we get our kids to where we hope they will go by thinking through the process that will bring them there when we are NOT around. Resist the temptations of becoming their motivation cum conscience where they cannot now begin to do the things they ought to be doing without external help. Think what goes into the process because the result we see may be seriously flawed since it is dependant on our presence and more often than not, our nagging.

Bring this principle in application to our internet environment and deduce some applications to your parenting...any brillant suggestions to share anyone?
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