Monday, March 26, 2018

Feed the fish, or fish to feed?

Ever since I became a parent, every day I have to think about choices and its implication. I often wondered about my role as a parent, and thought about whether I am making the right choices right now that might affect my son in the future. So sometimes, I feel guilty that I am relaxing in front of the tv, instead of teaching some stuff to my kid. You know, stuff like that.

As a parent, my role to my son is two-fold:

1) Make sure he survives, so that will include feeding, bathing, changing his diaper and be safe from harm.
2) Make sure he survives without me around.

The first goal is easily done. You can do it with a foreign domestic helper. You can do that with any grandparents around. You can outsource it to a childcare center or infant care center. It took me a few months to get to a stage where it became routine for me. Me and my wife knew what to do everyday and we can do this all the time without much disruption to our own personal lives.

But the second goal...that is something. If the first goal is to feed the fish, the second one involves teaching my son how to fish. This will broadly encompass education, including teaching of moral values to the alphabets and the plus minus times divide, to learning how to pick up after himself, feed himself and so on.

I have a feeling the second goal is a goal that will take me all the way up until my grave. It is never ending, and in a good way too. I hope I am wise to always have something to teach my son too. But it is so hard. Say for example changing his clothes. It's so efficient to just take it off him, whether he is struggling or not. A few things will go through my mind: do I involve him in the process, no matter how clumsy or how distracted he will be? Or do I quickly go through the routine without his involvement so that I can move on to the next task at hand? I know what I should do, but sometimes the mind is willing but the body is weak. And I suspect these kind of choices are making me guilty every now and then.

I think my job as a tutor is the same. Student asks a question. I can answer it straight away and we can move on to the next agenda. Or I can take the time to make him understand, so that the next time he encounters such questions, he don't have to ask me again. While it is right to always do the latter, sometimes circumstantial time constraint means that I have to make a judgement of whether to feed him or to teach him how to fish. It's a balance between the two. If I keep feeding him, he won't be able to survive without me (hmm, that's a evil thought as a per hourly paid tutor). If I keep teaching him to fish, he'll starve to death right now, nevermind the future.

Balance, balance, balance. Everything in moderation.


LadyYouCanBeFree said...

Hi Bully the Bear,

Check out this korean series where dads are left alone with their babies. It will give you good ideas what could be a good parental approach. Here's a sample

la papillion said...


Wah, so cute! I'll watch it :) Thanks for the tip!

Suzan Baker said...

You can take the time to make him understand.
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