24 June 2013, by Darren Lim
Recently I was with the kids at the Singapore national museum, SAM at 8Q enjoying this year’s children’s season when I witnessed a moment between mother and daughter (of about 3-4 years of age) that went something like this:
Mum: “Come on, draw something! You have been at the table for such a long time and still nothing has been drawn!”
Child: (still contemplating)
Mum (after a while): “Look, all the children have finished already and you are still here and your drawing is still not finished …. What’s that there? Is that a sun? Why are you painting blue over your sun?” …. (and mother rattles on about how her daughter should colour faster , not do this or to do that to her drawing etc etc etc……)
At the other end of the table I saw another scenario where another mother was just patiently looking on as her young child scribbled onto his A4 sheet of paper, doodling away as he pleased:
Child: “This is a bird!” (referring to an undecipherable patch of black on the paper)
Mum: “Wow! Look how big and how high it is flying! What about this other thing I see here (referring to yet another undecipherable patch of another colour), it has a very interesting shape! Can u tell me more about it?”
Child continued to launch into a vivid description of what he had drawn, obviously pleased that his mum was so interested in his drawings.
I did not know what had happened to the ‘first’ mum earlier in the day before she arrived at the museum, that had set her in such a foul mood that she was not able to enjoy the experience of the visit with her daughter, but I definitely know that all parents would love to have that kind of bonding time with their children, talking with them and simply enjoying them as who they are, as in the case of the latter mum. Yes, no man (or woman) is a perfect being and we all have our failings — how often have I ‘lost it’ with my children when they made too much noise in the car as I was driving (the men would probably understand this better) and how often was I careless to return the affection of my child when she comes running to hug me and I was halfway through replying an SMS—-but one thing I do know is, as a parent, one MUST NOT exasperate your children! Otherwise we run the risk of racketing up the tension that will ultimately lead to a breakdown in our relationship.
I have realised throughout these years that often, my responses to their misbehaviour can sometimes be tainted with my emotions related to other matters in life, be it stress from work or anxiety about life. And even when it is because of them—- “Why can’t he/she get it? How many times have I told him that already?!” Familiar? — Patience should be demonstrated instead, to encourage the child to strive harder for better results next time. Sometimes, we harp on the things we want to see changed in them over and over again but it takes time (and maybe many more episodes of ‘nagging’) before we may see any results! And between then and when results materialise, we must not grow weary of doing what we must do (encourage, motivate, provide practical support) or get discouraged or grow negative or even vindictive!
Just as we need second chances to be better parents every day, the children need us to see them in a new light and with renewed hope for a ‘better them’ every morning! If there had been offenses made the day before , they should have been dealt with there and then so that there are no more lingering grudges or feelings of resentment or blame the next day or even better — straight after the mistake or misbehaviour had been addressed!
We should really take a leaf or two out of their books—-after all they are the ones who, at the end of the day, will still call us ‘Best Daddy’ or ‘ Best Mummy’ ever! Let’s take time to forget their trespasses and appreciate them for their pluses today……. …
Before we work on those OTHER areas tomorrow …..