Friday, November 19, 2010


As a parent, I found that an astonishing amount of my time was spent on waiting. Just the other day, I commented to Clarissa that I spent on average 2 hours waiting for her. On an normal day, I would spent half an hour waiting for her in school before she get picked up, another half an hour would be spent ferrying her to tuition class. Night time, I would be waiting for her to finish her dinner so that I could go through some of the tougher homework with her.

I have never thought about such time spent on waiting until I found myself repeating the same sentences day after day like "Please have your dinner now!" or "Please start doing your homework now!" Unfortunately, my "patience" was not always reciprocated. If Clarissa wanted something from me, she would want it now, without a moment of delay. In fact, it came to a point when I had to explain to her that I too had to spend time waiting for her. Initially, she found it hard to believe and began to itemize every single event that took place throughout the week. To both our amazement, there was only one instance that she actually spent time waited for me. I won the "competition" of waiting hands down, without a doubt.

When I examined my own spiritual life, it came as no surprises that I treated God, like the way Clarissa behaved towards me. "Dear God, it would be great that my prayers could be answered ASAP (read NOW)! But as to my shortcomings, I need a bit more time before I could surrender to you!" or "Lord, I am tired of always waiting for You to answer my prayers (and I have no idea that You have spent a long time, waiting for me to listen to what You have to say as I was too busy with other less significant matters in my life!)" Being a parent made me realize that our Heavenly Father had made more sacrifices than I had realized.

Lord, please help me not to take you for granted. For every moment that I spent waiting for Clarissa, remind me that You are also waiting for me, to pray and spend time with You.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Risk Taking

All of us take risks when it comes to parenting. It all comes down to how much risk we are willing to take. When it comes to Joseph, I admit that I am more risk adverse than I would be to Clarissa as the thought of him complaining and whining, would made me think twice about it!

With his school concert just round the corner, I was shocked that the teacher had selected him for a key role in a play: the Prince in the Frog and the Princess! “How could the teacher forget how difficult he was, when he was two! He was just crying throughout the time that he stood on the stage!” I was complaining to myself. “Ok, now that he is five, he might have improved very slightly but in my opinion, he is not up to that role!” I concluded.

Here is my strategy: In front of Joseph, I would try to put up a brave front and assure him that he could do it, while behind his back, I would convince his teacher that this is a risk not worth taking! “He put up his hand for the role himself.” explained Ms Teoh, his school teacher. “Are you sure that you didn’t see the wrong hands? He has been complaining everyday about his role to me, telling me that he can’t do it!” I insisted. I mean who in the world would take a child seriously about such things right?! To my dismay, my attempt at trying to change the teacher’s decision has failed. Now, I have only one option to go, which is to convince Joseph that he can do it! But, who is there to convince me that he can?

For the week leading up to concert, I had to brace myself for the worst. On the first day of the rehearsal, Joseph was crying in the hall, making a scene. In the next rehearsal, he was wailing and refused to step onto the stage. Although I have been praying with him every night, that God will grant him courage to perform, both us were not convinced that such “courage” could come on time.

On concert day itself, I had to dragged him to the hall with other parents staring. There were many children much younger and all dressed-up, surprised that this big Ko-Ko was behaving strangely! For the next half hour, I was desperately praying as I didn’t want him to mess up the play…afterall, there was no Prince on reserve! There was no turning back! As the clock ticked, Clarissa began to felt uneasy on her chair and whispered to me “Mum, I think I heard Joseph crying! Do you think he could do it?” “Pray for him, that he can do it.” I said. With that, she too was clasping her hand and praying away. Finally, when his turn came, Joseph was a transformed person. After giving a short speech confidently and clearly, he proceeded with the play with other teammates. I was clearly amazed, as I didn’t recognize such confidence and courage existed.

As Joseph excelled in the performance that day, I was humbled and ashamed by my lack of faith in God. I am now beginning to see Joseph in a different light. All of us, on our own strength, we could be weak and vulnerable; but when God gives us courage and faith, we will be transformed and be equipped to do things that we have thought to be impossible. 

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...