While waiting for our son's grand arrival, Deardo and I constantly have sometimes funny and crazy discussions about what kind of education we want to give to our future son, both at home and in school and I'm pretty glad that we both seems to have the same thoughts in this area.
I think when we talk about education at home, we look up a lot at parents around us, especially our very own parents.
While I believe no parent is perfect, including my own, I do believe that there are many good parenting examples I can pick up from my parent that have shaped my siblings and I into who we are today and that are essential when bringing our future son up.
#1 Be Less Judgmental
Note that I said 'less' cos I think no human being can be so perfect that they don't judge people at all. Let's admit it, even when you don't say it out loud, you will somehow think about how someone is fat or ugly in your heart, secretly.
True, growing up in a typical Chinese family, our parent sometimes use darker-skinned people to scare us by saying stuff like "Ah, you don't wanna listen to me then that 'ge leng nga' uncle will take you away ah...". But honestly my parent are the two persons on earth that I know are the type of people who would scold us kaw kaw if we judge someone or call people by names. For instance, we are never allowed to say our friends are smelly, ugly or even their spouses' are ugly; or even calling people 'dua pui' (fatty) or 'siao cha bo' (crazy woman) unless those are the nicknames already given to that particular persons. Of course, their fear is superstitiously that Karma will drop back on us but still, it is a good intention and a very good teaching.
I think Ducum and I have both took this one level up in our lives. We have bunch of friends from different backgrounds, be it races, cultures, family backgrounds, religions or even sexual preferences. I have to admit that studying journalism has taught me a lot too to see things/treat people fairly and open-minded-ly. I truly believe that not all dark-skinned people are bad people, not all Muslims are terrorists, just like not all Chinese are con men. You just have to be careful when making friends and not have the stereotype from the second you meet the persons.
Judgmental words are especially harmful to kids who aren't ready or experienced enough to take them. It really pains me whenever I read news about teenagers or young kids killing themselves because of bullies at school calling them fat, ugly, faggot, gay or whatever it is even when they might not even be one. I'm sure those kids didn't think that simple words like those could become such dangerous murder weapons when they blurted those words. Everything starts from home, so if you teach your kids not to judge people and I don't too then imagine how beautiful the world would be like without those harsh-bashing words flying around them!
At the end of the day, we are all human and if you can be less judgmental, you will actually be much happier and most importantly, have more friends who may be helpful to you in any stage of your life.
#2 Be Kind To Each Other
I must say sometimes my parent are just too kind I think it is wrong.
Papo and Mamo's belief is that no matter what people do to you, you must learn how to forgive and forget. They like to use this Chinese phrase 以德报怨 (treat people well even though that person has treated you badly). Oh, I tell you, until today I find it super hard to do this cos I'm a person who is very 记仇 (have a good memory of anybody treating me badly) and am constantly thinking of ways to get my revenge or at least, do something to proof you wrong.
I think the basic thinking of being kind to people are nevertheless, right, as in you should help whenever possible or at least be kind and polite, but don't overdo it cos in this very generation and society today, you must learn how to be kind, yet to protect yourself at the same time or people will take advantage of your sincerity.
I've been trying myself and will try to tell my son to be kind to people whenever necessary and to give back to the society once in a while, just like his Ah Gong and Ah Ma always do. :)
#3 Giving us a Loving Family
We've been very lucky as we were born and raised in very loving, fun and sometimes, cool families. Of course, there are disagreements here and there, but no big dramas yet like what you see in TVB drama series because I can see how my parent and their siblings are willing to let go and eventually fix problems very peacefully. And I believe that has been passed down to me and my sisters whom despite not always approving of each other's actions, managed to stay as very close siblings who can talk about almost everything when we get together.
I think this is very important because it shapes a kid's character and their belief in love. The closeness my siblings and I have with our aunts, uncle and cousins (especially Mamo's side) have made us all very happy and cheerful kids. In fact, we got whole loads of help from them when we first arrived in KL to further our studies sometimes I feel like crying every time I think about how 4e drove all the way from PJ to Wangsa Maju before I came to KL just to make sure where I was going to study and where I was going to stay were okay. What did I do to deserve this? I don't need to do anything because simply, she is my aunt and I am her niece. Full stop. Even until today I have no doubt, if we need any sort of help they will help us too. In fact, now that we are old enough, I'm glad to say, we are helping them back in many ways! :)
I think It's important for kids to feel like they are always loved and cared by people around them, especially close relatives, just like I always do. Hence, I shall pledge to make sure my future son will feel very much loved by not only his parent, but people around him too!
#4 Be Happy because of the Simplest Reason
Point #3 brings us directly to point #4.
While Papo and Mamo had their moments of being angry, sad or the non-stop mumbling that we hated, I find that the five of us laugh quite easily at every single small jokes or stupid matters. It's true! Deardo is always left speechless when we can laugh like crazy at something that he thinks isn't funny at all!
My point is, there is no way in life that everything can be so perfectly perfect, just like the way you want it to be but when you frown, you cry or when you take things too seriously, you are just making things worst. I mean, I'm sure Papo and Mamo went through tough times in their lives, especially bringing us three up, but they have never failed to make dumb jokes (I'm telling you, the older they get, the lamer they are now okay), laugh and in turns, make us follow their footsteps and always carry a positive vibes with us. And when you have that positive vibes, people love to be around you more!
Every single night now whenever I pray for our future son, I pray that he will be a happy kid cos I think that's easily one of the most important characters anybody should carry with them. :)
#5 Give Back to Your Seniors When You are Capable Enough
See, I grew up looking at Mamo and Ah Ma fighting over paying for a meal, like literally almost every meal we had outside. Mamo and her siblings too, 'practice' this 'ritual' a lot that it is so scary that one of them (normally my mum lar, who else) would sometimes pretends that she was going to the loo but actually went to the counter to pay in advanced so nobody else can pay before her.
I strongly believe this act of sincerity, especially out of respect to your seniors is very important. Imagine, these are the people who have been paying everything for you since you were a baby - pampers, baby clothes, meals, up till university education! Now that you are old and capable enough, won't you feel there is a need to pay back?
I'm not saying you have to pay for everything lar unless you are dirt rich then that's fine. But personally, I feel it is a sense of achievement both to yourself and to your parents/relatives if you are able to give them simple treats like a meal treat or bring them on an all-paid trip somewhere. Most of the time when my parent are in town I'd make sure I pay for their meals but if they want, they can pay for coffee and desserts afterwards, which are often cheaper because duh, they are my parent who have probably forked out millions and millions of money to bring me up and gave me the education that I desired.
But what I vividly remember was my first treat to my 4e and Ah Ma back when I got my first official pay, when she said to Ah Ma something like how proud they should be feeling right now that their niece and granddaughter is capable enough of buying them a proper meal already! Wuah, I tell you, that made my day man!
Recently my lil' sister, Vivian had her moment too as she paid for a Korean lunch as a treat for the family since she just got confirmed by her company! Must have been a proud moment for my parent!
So I really hope that our future son would grow to become a successful kid, yet knows how to appreciate his parent and relatives who would be treating him well throughout the years and knows how to give back to them, at least once in a while. :)
#6 Don't Spoil Your Kid
I've heard of so many stories these days about kids who are unwilling to do some simple chores at work, so much so that they change jobs so easily, mainly because they have been spoiled their whole life without anybody asking them to do so at home. To put it simple, they were groomed like and to become a princess or prince.
Mamo was a 100% 'rapper mum' to us. Every Friday after school, she starts 'rapping': "soak your school shoes and socks, soak em' now or you will forget!" A day after she will then say "Wash your shoes and socks up, do it now and hang them outside or they will not dry off on time. Oi! Do it now!" Hahaha... It was so annoying but I'm sure you know what I mean! :p And she never spoiled us in any ways - we had to help clean the house, clean the toilets, cook, do gardening, clean the car and even sometimes paint the gates under the sun whenever needed too.
And I'm really proud to say that all these house works have make us more independent and less spoiled. It makes things easier when we started working part-time during college and university time at restaurants especially where not only bosses and customers can be difficult, but the amount of standing, walking around, and the cleaning can be so tedious you feel like giving up. But to Ducum and I at least, we adapted quite well and we understand that these are just small things to sacrifice to finally get your well-deserved pay at the end of the day! In fact, until today where we work in an office, you still can't run away from doing some work that are possibly sounding a bit offensive for a degree holder to do but we still do it because those are not even the hardest things we've ever done in our lives!
In fact, it would be even better if my son can learn from his papa and become very 'resourceful', fixing almost every single stuff at home, from assembling Ikea furniture till fixing the toilets, etc. His papa is a REAL MAN in this sense and I hope my son will grow to become a REAL MAN too! *wink~*
Sure, I'll love my son a lot like he is my prince, but I want to learn not to spoil him at the same time, I want my son to be a capable man in the future where house chores isn't a problem and let him learn hardship at work is only necessary for a better future.
It is of course, easier said than done, but fingers-crossed I will be able to past some of these good values down to my son. :)
So what are some good parenting quality you have learn from your parents too?