Wednesday, May 26, 2010


It is tough to live with negative feelings, at least for me. The recent episode of conflict between Clarissa and me has made me examined my relationship with God and thanked Him for His forgiveness, especially for each of my repetitive failings. In addition, I could see the good that this has brought upon Clarissa. A few months ago, she was so upset by Joseph (ie the usual annoyance that a little boy could bestow on his big sister) that she had started to keep a journal of the wrongdoings that he had done!

"For all the misery he had caused me, I will no longer buy anything for him from my school, not even a sticker or an eraser!" she exclaimed infuriatingly. "What if he pleads for forgiveness?" I asked, feeling sorry for my mischievous boy. "He doesn't mean it (the apologies) as he will start annoying me all over again!" she answered adamantly. I tried to show her some bible verses about forgiveness but to no avail.

Finally, God gave me an excellent opportunity to teach her about forgiveness. One day at the start of our tutoring session, she had agreed to be well behaved but within 10 minutes, she was slamming her pencil, giving me her usual "bad attitude" treatment. "You see, you have promised to be good but failed. And if I were to keep a record of all your misbehaviour like the way you did for Joseph, I could also deprive you of many things. Therefore, it is important that you forgive your brother, just as I am going to forgive you." I said seizing the opportunity. Immediately, she was quiet. In fact, from that day on, she had stopped keeping track of what Joseph had done to her although her complains remained.

More importantly, as a parent, I recognize the need to draw on God's infinite resources of love and forgiveness so that I could carry on loving her, in the presence of conflicts.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One Small Step

I came from a family in which my parents, apart from sending me to the right school, had no idea how I was performing, academically. They hardly asked me about my exam grades and if I had problems with any of my subjects, I was expected to sort it out on my own. Right from the start, my mum explained to me the importance of education and that was that!

Now, it is my turn to oversee Clarissa's education and I find that I am feeling it more than her. If she were to fair badly, which she had for her mid-year exams, I felt a certain failure probably more than she had ever felt; There was some inexplicable sadness hovering over me as I realized that whatever time and effort that I had put in for the past 6 months were inadequate! Instead of viewing it as her failure, I felt that I had failed her in many ways. I couldn't pin-point why but I could certainly feel the weight of the responsibility behind.

Suddenly, I began to examine my teaching method, and to a certain extent, my parenting skills! Was I wrong to allow her to indulge in her favourite programme? Did I give her too much room to decide how to utilize her time? My mind was filled with numerous questions including if I had found her the right tuition teacher!?!

First, I had to come to terms with my own "failing" and accept that Clarissa is weak in certain topics. Then, I have to garner enough courage to persevere in my effort. Unlike her classmates who are being tutored 24/7, Clarissa would still need to continue in her extracurricular activities, being BB, art and music classes. Both of us would need to work out some time for her to do some practice worksheets and yet at the same time, she could still have the space to read or go to the park. She is at this stage where her co-operation is to be sought rather than imposed.

A friend reminded me recently that the journey of a thousand steps begins with one small step. Parenting a child, who is struggling academically, does require one small step at a time.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Unwavering Love

I know that as a parent, I can't always expect my child to share the same view as me. However, under certain circumstances, I would secretly pray that God will make Clarissa listen to me and take my view! It was May and mid-term examinations were round the corner. Instead of focusing her effort on revision, Clarissa seemed to have found one hundred and one excuses to prevent her from picking up her text books. First, I tried the soft way, giving explanations along the way and coaxing her to do some test papers-This was met with defiant stare; Gradually, I began to lose my patience and start to raise my voice and insist that she finishes a certain number of chapters a day-she did the necessary work without giving any thought to it, resulting in numerous, pointless mistakes!

How I wish I could throw in the towel and say "That's it! This is your life, you can do whatever you want with it. If you pass your exam, I am happy for your; If you fail, I can't do anything to help you!" At this stage of parenthood, I am torn between allowing the child to "take the lead" for her own school work and spending the time, laboring and tutoring her. But at the end of each of these so called tutoring sessions, I felt a great need to be counseled myself.

Afterall, I was trying my best to teach my child but she looked upon me as though I was torturing her! My every good intention had aroused her bad temperament, resulting in unnecessary conflicts. My explanations and ideas had met with great disapproval from her. But if I were to turn the table around and asked her if she would like to improve her presently low grades, she would give a positive "Yes!"

Well, I guess I am no different at times. I would have loved to be taintless and obedient to God but due to my limited understanding, I would at times disobey Him and questioned His perfect intentions for me. This is the real crunch: As much as Clarissa mis-interprets my good intentions, I too have misjudged God's will for my life. And the amazing part is: He never gives up on me.

Dear God, thank you for loving me with your everlasting love. Your love is perfect. Help me now to love my own child with Your unwavering love.

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"1 John 3:1

Joseph restoring joy to a friend

We were at a family retreat at Cameron Highlands. Children were having a fun time playing frisbees when one child, Ashton, threw the frisbee...