Sunday, April 1, 2018

Parenting with Love: Educating for the Future World

I never thought that I'd say this but comparatively to many to other mums, it's evident that I will never qualify to be a "tiger mum". To be one, you must have an iron will as well as the tenacity to weather all storms (including rebellions and meltdowns), not to mention pretty deep pockets. :p  I bumped into a mum a few weekends who stopped me in mid tracks to ask about a Netball organisation that Dumpling was with for the last 2 - 3 terms. From that discussion it evolved to many other side topics but all driving towards how I am steering / preparing my child for an elite Secondary school.

It was clear that this mum was at the top of her game and mind you, I must say that I am very impressed as her child is a good couple of years younger than Dumpling, having only started in Primary 1. Honestly, I could not keep up.

I have recently moved on from the Early Childhood industry (after having spent the past 6 years in this industry) where I am now taking back on a team leader position, overseeing a department. (Please stay with me, this is leading to something.) As the role was left vacant for a while, there are "headcounts" to fill. So, over the past few weeks, I have been actively interviewing candidates for 2 positions as well as understanding the dynamics of my new team, and learning more about my various stakeholders and colleagues.

After viewing what feels like a gazillion CVs, it suddenly hit me that my managers and I were hardly looking into the academic achievements of the candidates. Rather, the candidates that caught my eye were those who cited leadership experiences, commitment (e.g. no job hopping), problem solving skills, etc. During the interviews, traits such as a willingness to collaborate, high EQ (I sometimes ask fairly far out questions to see what response I'd elicit), creativity are things that I look out for.




Dumpling is turning 10 this year and it made me rethink ~ is the future world or are future jobs just about grades? Will interviewers be looking into her PSLE and O level scores comes 10 - 12 years time? Or are there other skills which are more important? What are the jobs which are yet to be created, for the future world?



As parents in this meritocratic society, I believe that many of us were brought up with a view on the utter importance of grades. But what is an irony to me is while as a society, many areas such as technology, medical research, etc. have progressed but our education system seems to be stuck in some sort of a time capsule. The relentless chase for grades is still ongoing, evident in the thriving billion dollar tuition industry here in Singapore.

And I must say that some parents start their kids "early" on these. Dumpling had an interesting encounter with a classmate last year where they had to construct a boat individually but work as a group to present and share their thoughts, findings and rationale for the choice of materials for their boat. Dumpling was in charge of collating the slides and was repeatedly "chasing" for the slides from a classmate. After 2 - 3 weeks (nearing the deadline), the girl shared that her parent does not allow for her to email or share her slides with anyone prior the presentation. Frankly, I was mind-blown. 😐

Collaboration, problem solving skills, conflict management and the ability to lead, to me, are skills which I'd like for Dumpling to hone as they are key to her working well with her colleagues and team mates, no matter where she goes. After all, no one has all the knowledge in the world. And if anything, always choose to be kind. The world is not just about grades, and certainly not just about possessing this tunnel vision of being so "me-centric" and causing much inconvenience where, in this instance, the form teacher had to insert the students' (lone -ranger) slides into the group deck so no one else could see them prior.

I still recall my brother purchasing his first computer (286!!!) from years ago and that the shop assistants were playing computer games when we got there. I recall that "gaming" was being frowned on then, by the older folks as it was not really "a job". Just take a look at our children now. Many parents are signing them for robotics and coding classes, and even MOE has released a statement to share that all primary schools are to set up an applied learning programme by 2023. So who's to say what future jobs will be created in 10 - 15 years down the road?

So are grades, then, truly enough? Or are we, as parents of this next generation, missing out something that's beyond the academics.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Mortality

“Mama, you will be fine right? All you have to do is to take medication which the doctor prescribed and you will be fine right?” Dumpling asked with tears streaming down her face. My heart shattered as I held on to that very fine thread of sanity for strength.

Please allow me to “rewind” back to the start of the year for January was a really challenging month for me.

My helper had to leave very urgently on compassionate leave and because everything happened so fast, I had no turnaround time to look and arrange for a part time cleaner. As I had very few days of leave left transitioning into a new job, I had to juggle work + scheduling for the pick-up of Dumpling + working out her food schedule as she was staying back in school from Wed – Friday weekly. Add laundry, medicating the dog, cooking / washing of dishes + mopping, supporting the kiddo with her homework; you can tell how packed each day was over the course of those weeks. 

Along the way, I went for what I thought was a “regular” Pap Smear test. “Regular” because the last round was almost 5 years go. Yup yup, before you diss me, this was what happened. My gynae appointments are usually made way in advance (like months ahead) because his schedule is really packed. What happened was I totally forgotten about it and I got busy with the everyday "busy-ness" and mum duties and then it dragged on and on until very strangely, I had this sudden and persistent “urge” to head for the test. So I booked myself one and a week after doing the test, the nurse called me up and said “Alicia, your test came back with inflammation with Parakeratiotic cells seen. Doctor Ong would like to see you tomorrow.”

I was totally taken aback “Para what?” I asked. “What does this mean?” And of course, she couldn’t answer further and the next day, I met up with the doctor to explain to me that basically because there’s inflammation in the cervix, the cells sort of build up as they layered and layered over, almost like a self defense mechanism to deal with the inflammation. BUT here’s the thing, HPV also causes inflammation and for some kinds, they are so called the high-risk (types 16 & 18) lead to the majority of cancer and get this, cervical cancer is most commonly linked to HPV.   

So I went for a further test / scope and the waiting game started. It was a week of yoyo moods for me. I hadn’t intended to tell Dumpling anything but she knew that I went for my regular check up as I had picked her up from school that late afternoon and so, she was really intuitive as to why I needed to go back for the second time. Sigh… Hence the water works started.



I’ve always been iffy about the mortality discussion. When suddenly thrusted into this situation where I may be at high risk for cervical cancer, my first thoughts were “Oh dear. What’s gonna happen to the kiddo? How am I gonna break the news to my parents, who will be utterly devastated?” I started tearing in the car, texted some close friends & colleagues and called my bro who unfortunately was away on business travel.

Over the course of the week (where my helper was still away), I tried very hard not to think about it but honestly, that’s akin to ignoring a time bomb ticking away in your head. I posted up a status on FB asking for prayers and many replied back / PM / What’s App me.

And for that, I am utterly thankful ~ mummy friends helped me to pick Dumpling up from school, close friends prayed for me daily and continued to encourage me and some met me for lunch to cheer me up. I was reminded to be still, and to trust in God. Dumpling and I prayed together and amazingly, she kept assuring me that I will be alright. As for me, I basically passed the driver's seat to God. I told Him that my life was never mine in the first place so I am good if He wishes to take me with him. But if possible, I'd like to be able to parent and witness the kiddo grow up and to spend more time with my parents and loved ones. 

I am glad to share that I am tested negative for HPV (Thank you Lord!) and I am on a course of medication for bacteria where I have to repeat my tests again in 3 months time so it will be another waiting game. :( 

Having gone through this crazy scare, I was encouraged by my gynae to go for a HPV vaccine which I will be doing so. A girl friend incidentally texted me last evening to check on me (thanks June!) and I will share with you all the same thing that I shared with her then. 

I am also not a big fan of any vaccines but this episode has made me really glad that I’d still have that option to choose. If you were to be tested negative for it and the vaccine can provide some degree of coverage for HPV, then why not? 

To quote a read on a website:

"Cervical cancer: Virtually all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, and just two HPV types, 16 and 18, are responsible for about 70% of all cases (7, 8). Anal cancer: About 95% of anal cancers are caused by HPV." 

So, have a think about it, my mummy readers and friends. Let's take some time for self care so that we can continue for a longer period and go a farther distance. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Parenting with Love: Developing Good Habits

My post is a tad late I know, as most of my friends posted their “Goodbye 2017” post end of last year. While I slowed down towards the end of the year (especially with a small accident) and reflected internally, I did not really have the time nor was I in the right frame of mind to sit and type it all down.

On the parenting front, one of the hardest challenges I faced last year was parenting a “tween”. I did not experience any terrible 2s with Dumpling so I was totally unprepared for the struggles we had last year. Then I went on to google and realize that 9 is the start of TWEENAGE. Yup, welcome to this urban term where it is defined as girl aged about 9-14...too old for toys, but too young for boys (thank God!)

One of the key areas which I would like for her to work on is to develop good habits for this year. As a FTWM, time is something which I lack and with her in Primary 4 this year, I’d like for her to take on more ownership of her work and responsibilities. Add to the fact that I am a Type A, I need things to be planned out properly and way in advance because of the big E word – Efficiency. With a helper to the equation, I realise that Dumpling hasn’t quite been given the chances to plan and manage deadlines on her own. This has resulted in many nagging sessions from me which sometimes lead to intense frustration on my end.

For this year, her schedule seems to be getting crazier primarily because of supplementary classes - the kiddo will be staying on in school for E2K twice a week (will blog about this once she starts and when we have a better understanding of the programme). Added to the fact that she has to also stay on for CCA, I am really worried about her ability to finish her school homework on time and have a little down time to herself.

So with the imminent tight schedule, I took the opportunity to talk to her about setting goals and creating an agreement. I hope that I do not have to nag too much.

So yes, for 2018, my focus is to for her to develop good habits because I believe with good habits,  everything else will follow. And these are what we agreed to:

1. Be responsible for her homework. Namely:
  • No devices from 330 to 5pm until school homework is cleared (on days where she does not have to stay back in school)
  • Complete school homework on supplementary days after taking an hour break upon reaching home

2. Keeping to the scheduled time slots to complete the individual items then personal time

3. Practising violin daily (even if it is just 20-30 mins)

4. Understand deadlines – e.g. be in room by a certain time

5. Praying before bed



As for me, here’s my focus for the year

1. To set aside me-time: my weekly Yoga and to continue with my self-care skin care regime (Mary Kay!)

2. To guide the kiddo in planning her schedule though it is much quicker for me to do it!

3. To be more prayerful and continue to have positive thoughts  

EDIT: Here's a simple goal setting file which I created for Dumpling so that she can list out her top 3 goals where we can pin it up and we can both view daily. It also includes a simple sheet where you can track your progress some weeks (determined by you and your child) down the road. I hope that it is useful for you guys!

Goal setting printable for children

Do you do goal setting with your child? How do you do it? Has it proven to be successful? I intend to review this a month down the road so wish me luck all! 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Be warned: All content in this blog is copyright protected.

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected