2 November 2016, by Mandy Loh

A letter to Future Me of 2021

Dear Future Me of 2021,

Hello, it’s Me from 2016! By the time you read this, both Cristan and Caris would already be in Primary school! While I really cannot imagine what life would be like 5 years from now, I wanted to write this letter to remind you of the time when they were still in preschool, and things were simpler.

Future Me, I sincerely hope that you have not succumbed to the notorious pressures of the Singapore Education System and turned into a Tiger Mom. Remember that in 2016, all you wanted was for your kiddos to enjoy a carefree and happy childhood, and to be kind and loving.

When they are loving, they are so lovely!

When they are loving, they are so lovely!

Yet perhaps we can consider 2016 to be the pivotal year of change, as we reluctantly transferred the munchkins from a play-based preschool to one that was more aligned to the “local school system” (ie more focused on academic learning), so that Cristan would have an easier transition into Primary school.

cc2

Just barely two months into the new preschool, poor Cristan has had to get used to weekly spelling tests for BOTH English and Chinese. Which has meant daily 15-minute lessons at home to practise the words that will be tested each week.

Future Me, I want to remind you that in 2016, we tried to keep the focus away from scoring perfect marks at the spelling tests, and instead praise Cristan for his efforts in learning, his really cute and neat handwriting, and for his super memory power.

I love Cristan's handwriting! :)

I love Cristan’s handwriting! ūüôā

Remember that we made a promise to ourselves not to stress our children out, and to let our kids know that academic achievement is not the be all and end all of life.

Remember that we consciously decided not to load our kids’ schedules with enrichment classes, so that they would have the time and freedom to play…

Super-fun on a barrel ride, pulled by a tractor on a big open field at the Bukit Timah Saddle Club

Super-fun on a barrel ride, pulled by a tractor on a big open field at the Bukit Timah Saddle Club

go on random outings on weekends…

Walking on the wild side! A trek in the nature reserve where we saw monkeys and monitor lizards!

Walking on the wild side! A trek in the nature reserve where we saw monkeys and monitor lizards!

or even be bored because boredom sparks creativity!

Boredom makes cardboard boxes very interesting. He says he's a robot!

Boredom makes cardboard boxes very interesting. He says he’s a robot!

Boredom at dinner = random craft project at the cafe with whatever materials were available on hand!

Boredom at dinner = random craft project with whatever materials were available on hand!

Perhaps I am living in an idealised bubble now, in 2016, unaware of just how treacherous and unforgiving the education system can be. Perhaps you, being older and wiser, are shaking your head and laughing at my naivete as you read this. But I desperately want to hold on to the hope that our children, and Me as a parent, will not be overwhelmed by the system.

Future Me, I’d like to remind you of Jack Ma’s advice to his son. The founder of Alibaba Group told his son that there was no need for him to be top of the class. Being in the middle was fine, because he would then have enough free time to pursue his interests and learn other skills.

The Me in 2016 wants to believe that parents can choose not to get sucked into the academic rat race, that we can shield our kids from the crazy and unhealthy stress levels, and not be forced to contribute to the billion-dollar tuition industry in Singapore.

The Me in 2016 believes that we have the ability to define success on our own terms. Future Me, I sincerely hope that all this still holds true in 2021!

 

With lots of love, hugs and kisses,

Me from 2016

 

 

Posted on : November 2, 2016

Filed under : Uncategorized

2 Comments

Mandy Loh

Mandy

November 3rd, 2016 at 11:46 pm    


Thanks Vince for the kind words! You’re a great dad and I’m sure your kids know it! God bless!

Vincent Ooi

November 3rd, 2016 at 9:08 am    


Future Mandy
Thank you for sharing this beautifully heartfelt letter with us, your friends. Part of who we are especially when we are little are the results of the sum of choices that our parents made. The choices and attitudes that both Tim and yourself have and continue to make will shape your loving children and they will thank you for it. You are blessed to have them and they are blessed to have you both. Thanks too for reminding me about the values and choices I am making for Victoria and David. God bless, Vince

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