Tuesday, January 05, 2021

What's your competitive edge as a parent?

 As a parent, I always wondered what I can pass down to my kid in order that they have an advantage later in life. I have a student who works as an occupational therapist. She has a kid (yes, I know I'm super old because even my students are married and have kids of their own!) and I saw from social media that the kid can walk, squat and crawl, plus all the daily activities at a younger age than my own kid. That makes me think that the special skill that she can impart to her kid is somewhat related to her own career.

There are some parents who are rich and I hope what is passed down to their children will be about having a rich mindset and how to start businesses and so on. Not money. I think having too much money passed down to the next generation can be debilitating and demotivating. The right amount of inheritance should be an amount small enough not to make a huge difference to their life decisions, and at a time when they don't need it. I can fantasize just how nice it'll be if my parents are super rich, and my car and property are fully paid by them. But that's just it... a fantasy.  I don't think I'm that rich, neither am I a business owner, so what exactly can I pass down to my own children?

I hope good values and character will be one of them. I will be more proud of him helping others and having a heart, rather than being the top of his cohort (of course, it'll be best if they have both hahaha). And yes, that includes picking snails off the pavement on a rainy day in case someone runs over it. How do I ensure that? I think a lot of lessons, especially those involving values, are taught to children without specific instructions. You don't need to have 1 hour of moral & civic lessons every week to teach values to them, because they will learn based on how you act, rather than what you say. Hence, if I want my children to have good character, I must be exemplary in conduct 24/7. If saying thank you and please and helping others in need is as natural as breathing at home, I'm sure my children will absorb that and see this behaviour as normal.

The next important trait to pass down is how to learn anything independently. I believe strongly in this because I think in my kid's generation, the new illiterates are those who finished their learning in formalised institutions (like schools). To be able to learn anything requires a loop of trying and failing and trying again until success is achieved. Hopefully, my years as a tutor can be an advantage in this aspect. I also intend to show my kid that I'm learning all the time. Either reading, or practising on the piano, or whatever else might interest me in the future. I can't expect my kid to be a life-long learner, yet I'm slacking and watching TV on the couch every day, can I?

The last thing I want to impart to my kid is about health - both physical health and mental health. Health is the underlying foundation upon which all other things are built on but is often taken for granted. At the earliest possible age, I'll introduce meditation to my kid. I know it'll be a great tool to manage mental health and I wished I had been introduced to it sooner. Regarding physical health, my child is a very active person, so I hope I can very easily introduce him to regular exercise. I think starting a life-long habit of exercising will be a superb habit that compounds greatly for my child in the future.

Am I going to send my kid to enrichment camp for robotics and coding? Very unlikely. If I have it my way, I'll rather send him to a meditation camp or a sports camp, rather than a coding workshop. But I reserve the right to change my mind later, hahaha


Adrian said...

Welcome back! Can totally identify with you being an educator myself and a recent father of 2. I find myself also wondering what can I expose my kids to if all I my main business is in teaching and learning. I guess one thing is general knowledge about things around us and how the world works, how to discern and reflect, how to delay gratification.

Patty said...

Family traditions can be a powerful tool as well, especially a child growing in the same household is exposed to it all the time. Identify the good ones so that the child can inherit the same.

I had begun to realize it's ok not to be perfect, even in front of a child. This prevents the incongruence between what the child sees and learns. I say sorry to my kid for my bad behavior and get him to forgive my transgressions. This way he learns what I do is not ok.

la papillion said...

Hi Adrian,

Delay gratification is a great one! Sometimes I make my kid count to 10 before getting something. Can obviously see him excited and jumping up and down but he still counts his 10 first. I think that's a good one.

la papillion said...

Hi pat ge,

Very true. I think this is less of an issue for us cos me and my wife have a habit of saying sorry. I know a household where the kid refuses to apologise even though she knows she is clearly in the wrong. Then I dig out more and realised the parents don't say either. Very good addition Bro, to see pple make mistakes and that's okay, just apologise and strive hard not to repeat.