Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Lesson in Perseverance

The words came out of his mouth most unsuspectingly.

We were playing with a pair of toy chopsticks and I asked him to try to use it to pick up some felt balls. Without even attempting a try, he merely paused for a brief moment before declaring with a cute face, "I don't know!"

"I don't know"? Since when did he learn those words and from whom? Ok, redundant question. If it's not from the parents, then it's most likely from school.

While I think it's good to admit that you don't know how to do something, it's not a good idea when you decide that you'll not want to at least give it a try.

That was exactly what my boy did. After saying those words, he sat back, looked at me and said, "Mommy do!"

While it may be no big deal in the eyes of another parent (after all he’s just a two year-old right?) but it was enough to sound off an alarm in my head.

Think I overreacted? Well, you need to understand what kind of mom I am.

Big on values

of course, I'm no supermom, in fact, far from it. I know my weaknesses – I find it a constant challenge to come up with interesting educational crafts and activities to do with my boy. I even use it as an excuse sometimes not to think of something and just let him do free play (after all we sent him to school right? He should have quite a bit of structured play and learning in class).

I once thought I’ll be quite the kiasu mom who diligently trains her son into a future Einstein, but I quickly realised that it doesn’t resonate with me.

I discovered that I’m big on VALUES, as well as EQ. I believe that if I inculcate the right values and principles in my son, help him develop good communication and interpersonal skills, he will go far in life.  Look at how many of the successful people aren’t usually the smartest students in class and you’ll know what I mean.

Plus I’m never for the corporate rat race, I think it sucks. I mean, your income will never truly reflect your capability and hard work, and the best worker doesn’t always get the next promotion he deserves.

So if you ask me what’s my dream for my son, it will not be that he will grow up and get the President Scholarship and then walk down a career path that someone has laid out for him, no doubt it’s gonna be quite a cushy path and daddy and mommy will not have to worry about his college tuition fees and can use the money to travel round the world!

I’m not saying that he can then neglect his studies, I think it’s still good to acquire knowledge and learn to be as smart as he can. If not, he’s gonna get eaten up by the sharks!

But I wish he will be an enterprising individual who has the freedom to pursue his passion and live a fulfilled, meaningful life. Oh, I wish too, that he will earn lots of money. Not so that he will live a life of luxury (he can indulge a bit). I hope he will have greater means to change the world and make it a better place, and people who have the money can do so much more than those who don’t.  Heart plus money – it can be real powerful!

Success is usually just another try away

Anyway, I digressed!

Back to the “I don’t know” - I felt that it was an important learning moment, regardless of whether he really understood where I was coming from. I wanted him to learn perseverance and the importance of not giving up easily, and I believe values need to be inculcated from young.

So I told him if he doesn’t know how to do it, he can say so and asks me to teach him.

I took his small hand in mine and showed him how to use the chopstick. When he finally managed to pick up a ball on his own, I cheered and applauded will all my might and heart.

I ended the play session saying, “See Kenan, you can do it! Don’t say you don’t know, at least try.”

A few days later, he was playing with his wooden blocks and was building something. I was at the dining table working.

Suddenly, he shouted, “I can do this, yeah!” I couldn’t believe my ears. I stopped whatever I was doing, rushed over to his side and hugged him tightly. The joy I felt was immense. I’m not sure if it was because of what I taught him days before, but still I am overjoyed.

 Son, that’s the right attitude. Well done and keep it up! Persevere and don’t give up easily, because success is usually just another try away.

Do you feel like giving up on something? Or you have a dream, tried pursuing it but failed. Well, don’t let go of your dream too quickly and easily. Not everyone succeed on the first try. Give it another go, your dream is worth every second chance. If you don’t give yourself that chance, who will?

So go and be that strong woman and mommy. When you persevere with your goals and dreams, your child will also learn to pursue theirs with the same tenacity.


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