As parents, we all want to raise successful kids. But often the yardstick of success can be so vastly different from parent to parent depending on our backgrounds, experiences and expectations. When I look at the throng of parents who send their kids to tuition centre every weekend, I suppose it’s having smart kids who ace in every single subject.
For some it could be developing their kids full potential in the area of arts, music and sports by enrolling them in a variety of classes right from a young age. And for others, it might be equipping their kids to have the life skills to get them through whatever life throws at them, the kind of smart I like, street smart.
Over the years, we’ve seen how the Singapore education system is slowing steering it’s direction going from just developing book smart students to being more holistic, realising that there is more than one way to recognise our kids’ abilities.
As a mum with a soon-to-be primary one, I’m really glad about these changes because to be honest I wasn’t an ace student and many times I felt that I let my parents and myself down when I didn’t achieve outstanding results. But over the years, I discovered that I have other talents and gifting that are just not related to how smart I am.
Though I think Sophie’s a pretty smart cookie (okay, I’m super bias), but I know these changes to the education system gives me greater assurance that she will thrive well when she starts formal school. But as a parent, I also have an incredible responsibility in shaping who she is as a person and we have the role of giving our children roots and wings.
Giving Our Children Roots and Wings
What comes to mind when you think about roots?
A tree. Or perhaps a towering sturdy tree with it’s branches spread out wide and tall? In order for a tree to reach such heights, and stand strong to withstand the different elements, its’ roots must go deep and be firmly planted.
1. To be rooted in her identity
I want my daughter to be deeply rooted in the knowledge of her identity in Christ and and having God’s Word as the ultimate authority in her life. I want her to love herself for who she is and not strive to be someone else as she’s uniquely her, complete with her vivacious and vibrant personality, her funny sense of humour and heart of gold.
2. To be rooted in character and values
If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.
As Sophie enters primary school, peer pressure will be a very real issue and that’s when her character and values are put to the test. As a parent, we have to inculcate values of honesty, compassion, integrity, kindness, responsibility, perseverance, kindness and the list goes on.
And the best way to teach these to our kids is to model them ourselves.
3. To be rooted to the ties of home
As parents, our role is to provide a safe and secure home as the fertile soil for Sophie so that her tender roots can sink deep and be nourished by love and acceptance from us. If there’s one thing I want her to always know is that without a shadow of doubt we’ve always got her back no matter what happens.
And as a very homebody, my desire for Sophie is to be rooted to the ties of home having a sense of belonging to her family. And beyond her physical home, is to also never forget her roots as a Singaporean even if she ever decides to venture abroad.
4. To soar on wings of exploration
And as her roots grow deep, my hope is that she’ll develop wings to seek out the world. To be filled with curiosity and awe with a hunger to know more. I want to be the parent that says, ” That’s an interesting question, let’s find the answer.” and not to stop her from asking questions.
5. To have wings of creativity
While I wish that schools will encourage more creativity, there is nothing stopping me from being that catalyst of creative thinking with Sophie. And we all know how things stick better when our kids gets taught in a more engaging and creative way. Plus, it’s usually more fun too!Maybe that’s why I don’t like route learning especially when I see how rigid maths questions are being tackled.
6. To have wings of independence
Truth is, our kids will grow up no matter how we wish for them to remain cute and small. And the key is to ensure that they are equipped with life skills to see them through life. For young, I’ve made Sophie help around the house and pick up after herself, load the laundry, taught her our mobile numbers and what to do if she ever gets lost, how to deal with dodgy strangers and now she’s learning how to count money, a skill essential at the canteen.
And in time, I intend to teach her to cook maybe starting with frying an egg, how to manage her time wisely, how to budget and save, how to use the vacuum cleaner…But one step at a time.
I know that as parents, it wouldn’t be easy for us to let go of our kids when they eventually grow up, have their own ideas, friends and all. But when that day comes, we’ll be glad that our children are ready to take off and soar high with their roots and wings!