The Mirror That Parenting Is

siblings

“Be kind to your sister, you don’t have to yell at her!”
“What she did was wrong!”
“I know, but you can tell her nicely, can’t you?”
And I was reminded of the countless times I yelled at her wrong doings. I could have told her nicely, couldn’t I?

“I am busy! Go away!”
“Jie jie! Be kind to her, help her draw the cats please.”
“But I am busy drawing my bride, Mommy. I have no time for her right now!”
And I was reminded of the countless times I shoo-ed her away with her paper and pencil from the kitchen because I was busy cooking.

“Be patient with mei mei, she is still a baby.”
And I was reminded of the countless times I lost my patience, she is barely four.

They say the modern parenting has become a narcissistic undertaking.
At its core, parenting is forever a humbling mirror.

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One Grain of Rice, One Million Drops of Sweat

Image Source: www.cgs.sg

Image Source: http://www.cgs.sg

It was shocking. 786 million kilograms of food waste were generated in year 2015 in Singapore, according to the advertisement board I was staring at. That is equivalent to two bowls of food wasted by every person in this island every day for that year.

The numbers were just too mind boggling. And I can’t be exaggerating to say that it was as if all the food I did not responsibly use were thrown back at my face there in front of the ads board.

What could have been the excuses to such wasteful act? If I can brainstorm out some possible answers:

  • there’s too much food to finish
  • the food’s taste doesn’t suit my liking
  • the food has passed its shelf life
  • the food has turned bad

Those are possible excuses. What are the actual reasons? Gluttony, ungratefulness, ignorance, and laziness.

Uh oh, awful truth.

Could we do something to consciously place our food into responsible consumption instead of into the bin? Definitely!

Practice temperance, order or cook just enough, be truly thankful for the food we have and be thoughtful of the many who are not as priveleged*, be diligent to plan ahead for the use of food ingredients and be mindful of the date of expiry. Also, take the trouble to bring our own food container for any left over when dining out. These are just some ideas I can think of, what else do you think we can all do to reduce the food waste?

Let’s see to it that we leave not a single grain to waste. Because “sebutir nasi, sejuta keringat.”**


*According to the United Nations, about 21,000 people die of hunger and hunger-related issues each day, most of them being children.

**An Indonesian proverb translated as “one grain of rice, a million drops of sweat.” Indonesia is currently the world’s third largest producer of rice.

Not Mini Adult

littleadults

Children are not adults in wee little size. Though often we, the adults, expect them to be and treat them as one, to our own frustration. It’s probably about time we accept that being children means:

1. Covering their mouth AFTER, not before, sneezing (God forbid, with a full mouth, at someone’s face).
2. Asking pointless questions endlessly.
3. Cannot sleep when you want them to sleep.
4. Cannot wake up when you want them to wake up.
5. Wearing their slippers the wrong side.
6. Needing to pee, poo, at the wrong time.
7. Asking you to do the same thing again, and again, and again (please auto repeat).
8. Cannot find the ‘missing’ toy that is right in front of their nose.
9. Being so engrossed in what they do that they are deaf to you calling them.
10. Being so in tune with your voice that they know it when you whisper to yourself “let me get some chocolate”.
11. Do not understand/operate based on/respond to common sense.
12. Always moving (or talking).

And a thousand more.

Science will tell us that some of the above are because it’s in their wiring, and the rest are because it’s not yet in their wiring. What then, if it’s their wiring and there’s nothing that adults can do to make these little ones otherwise, does it not make more sense to conclude that this time window must have been meant to be a learning and growing opportunity for the adults?

Apparently, children are not the only ones growing and learning. Adults must, too. When the adults learn to forebear children’s childishness, with tenderness and compassion, that’s when the adults learn to be parents.

God help us to be parents.

“The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” – Psalms 103:13-14

A Husband’s Love

hubbyandkis

A husband may show his love for his wife in many ways; he may buy her flowers, telling her “I love you”s, taking her out to romantic dinners, the list is non exhaustive. But it doesn’t always need a fancy expression. Sometimes, loving his wife means helping her with her chores after a long day work. Sometimes, it means accompanying her little kids up and down the slides so she can sit at the playground bench.

It may sound simple, but every love expressed is every self denied. Sacrifice and self denying are unusual and counter intuitive. To the observers, it is an anomaly, for before long they begin to ask:

“Why is your husband very different? Men don’t usually come fetching their wives and kids at the playground straight after coming back from work.”
“Oh, there’s no one else at home so…”
“Well, they’ll love it all the more when there’s no one to bug them at home. They can sit all they want in front of the screen. It’s their me time.”

Or make remarks,

“Your husband is a rare find. I seldom see man so willingly do child care. Even if they do, most do it with face glued to their phones.”

“He helps you scrub the toilets? For real?”

Surely, all husbands will love to enjoy their down time and do away with the house chores. But there are those who choose to put down their pleasure and roll up their sleeves to love their wives and children. Not because their wives and children are always lovable, no no, we wives know this better than anyone else. It’s because they have themselves been loved by the great Love. In denying themselves they say, “we love because HE first loved us.”

As husbands emulate this Love, the world will but notice and wonder:

“What prompts him to do so?”

Husbands, love your wives. For your love will tell of the greatest Love story, in which a GOD once laid down His life to love the fallen mortals.