There's so much our children teach us every day. Their unique thinking and relentless pursuit of answers, wonder, curiosity and maturity of thought and action, empathy, kindness, and positivity remind us about the good in this world. This Children's Day, we ask our community to share stories with us, how their children make them proud, and the best part of being a child.
We share a recount from Renee Sim, a mum with a pre-schooler at EtonHouse Mountbatten 717.
What is the most important thing that my child has taught me?
Parents need to be present instead of being perfect. If I can’t be authentically present, sometimes it’s better to say no.
In modern-day parenting, we are challenged with the act of balance. We managed with stress at work, deadlines, house chores, leaving our tanks close to empty but our children need us at our 100% all the time. Being present after a long day certainly takes effort. Being a perfectionist myself, I have set myself to fall apart before I even start – a perfectly clean and neat house, the evenings routine to be perfectly tantrum-free, meals to be perfectly made and plated, the weekend family activities perfectly planned, my alone time perfectly peaceful, and the list goes on! I call them now the impossible standards.
Share a story or anecdote that highlights this.
The first question my son asks on an early Saturday morning would always be, "What we going to do today, Mama?" and the next to follow will be "Where are we going?"
There was a particular weekend in which I was not in an excellent state to head out for our usual weekend trips to the nature parks, the beach, or the playground. I had to be honest with how I was feeling and explained to him that Saturday would not go on as promised.
I was worried that I would disappoint him. The last thing I wanted was for my son to feel that he was not significant and worthy of my time. How could I possibly expect my 2.5-year-old to understand perspective-taking and practice empathy? However, Nathan surprised me with his response.
"Hmm… it's okay, Mama. Maybe you can try again?"
His hand came reaching out to my forehead to give me a gentle pat. I wasn't sure what that meant and if he was genuinely okay with cancelling the Saturday plan.
"Thank you, Nathan. I will get better, and we can head out next Saturday again. Would you be okay if we just stay home today?" I asked.
"So you can play with me? We can build the Lego blocks so high and tall!" he replied.
I learned two things that day:
Firstly, my son does not need a fun-filled, well thought out weekend activity to feel special and know that his Mama loves him. All he wanted was my undivided attention. It didn't matter what we were doing or where we were. It just mattered that I was present with him at that moment. We could be playing with playdough or Legos all day, and he's perfectly happy!
Secondly, my son does not need me to be perfect all the time. As parents, we are often our worst critics, but we need to learn to be kinder to ourselves too. I can have moments and days to zone out to rest my mind and recharge my energy. The key is to be transparent and open with my son about how I am feeling. I was astonished at his ability to empathise and understand what I was going through. I am also allowed to apologise when I miss an opportunity or mess up in other ways. I can always try again and make sure I honour my statements of wanting to do better.
Why is childhood special? Share your thoughts on your childhood.
Childhood is special and holds many memories that play an important role in how we make sense of the world. The experiences we have as a child set the stage for all the relationships we have later in life.
Time spent with my parents was scarce due to their busy work schedules. Whenever there's an opportunity for my parents to be back at home, we will plan grand trips to theme parks, movie theatres, indoor playgrounds, toy stores and restaurants. Growing up, I admired my friends who had opportunities for regular family time on weekends with their parents. I believe my childhood experiences have an impact on how I parent my child today. Through my childhood experience, I have learnt the power of presence and the importance of showing up for my child. I try to be at my best and will always prioritise my time with my son no matter how busy life gets.
Ask your child to share his happiest moment.
"I like to go to the beach because I use my shovel to dig the sand like the construction uncle. The construction uncle use his tools and excavator to dig and scoop all the sand. After we play, I can have chocolate ice cream with my Mama and Papa, and I can eat it all by myself."
Happy Children's Day!