As parents, we are our children's first refuge, first port of call. They come to us with great expectations of acceptance, love and hope. We set the tone for their belief in the world outside. Our words and deeds make a big difference in their life. They look up to us for guidance, direction and encouragement. They trust us with their life.
Today's article by a soon-to-be mum, Amelia Tong, entitled "Helping children choose life, not death," is about resilience and how we as parents can help to build resilience in our children. It kept me thinking, reflecting.
We have heard it many times, that raising a child takes a village. But it is still the home that our children spend most of their growing-up years in. The village may contribute to his or her viewpoints, beliefs and conduct, but behind closed doors of our little family hut, it is still the parents who make the first and enduring impression.
Our first responsibility is to love our children and allow that love to spur them on to face life's challenges. But some parents tend to put the carriage before the horse and shower love only when they earn or deserve it. Parents make love into a competition, a test, or a race for the children to complete and excel before they show it. Their love is not only conditional, it is at most times inconsistent, even unpredictable.
The reality is, some of our children may never be as successful as defined by the world. They may lag behind academically. They may struggle with grades not because they do not want to do well, but because they just can't. They just can't achieve what society expects of them. They all bloom at their own pace, own time.
So, blessed is the child who is genetically an all-rounder, when everything comes second nature to him or her. But does it make her or him easier to love as compared to another who genuinely struggles with almost everything with below par results?
Before you answer that at a drop of a hat, spare a thought for the life of a child. It doesn't start and end with PSLE or "O" levels results. The society may be conditioned to judge our child by what is written on a piece of paper or two, but we as their parents should look beyond that for the simplest reason that life is a journey, and given a lifetime, our children often surprise us in the most unexpected way.
If love makes the difference, then have faith, plant the seed and be patient. If you water it regularly, never give up and be always hopeful, the harvest of love will in time make you deeply proud. Mind you, a relationship is a distance marathon, not a competitive sprint.
Lesson? One. It is about first loves. This is my random thoughts about it this morning.
We all have our first loves with our child. It is the purest of experiences, sublimest. It is most transforming for us. We readily and instinctively celebrate these many first loves moments. They come to us with great reception and anticipation.
The first time we receive the news that our wife is pregnant is one of these moments. Our child's first kick is another. The birth of our child is the blossoming of our joy. His/her first smile warms our heart deeply.
Then comes the first word and first step and first embrace. These are first loves moments that change perspectives for us. They are the source of our pride, the sustenance of our life. We draw strength from these moments to face our own challenges, our own demons. Sometimes, our children change us more than we change them.
So, let these first loves moments sustain our unconditional love for them. Let them lift us from the disappointments and gloom we may experience along the journey.
Because if we keep the faith, hope and love, there will be many first loves moments waiting for us to savor with our children. They may even come most unexpectedly to us.
Trust me, when we keep believing in them, one day, they will come to us and thank us for it. They will shed tears of gratitude. They will understand intimately how much we love them. They will realize love indeed conquers all. And with all those first loves moments accumulated, we would have done our children the greatest favor, that is, passing down a legacy of resilient love for them and for their children's children. Cheerz.