Thursday, November 6, 2014

How Do We Sound to our Kids?

If you need a mirror to check on how you are doing as a mother, try leading a pre-teens bible study! A few weeks ago, I was scheduled to conduct a bible study for kids aged between 8-12. We were focusing on the book of James - the taming of our tongues. “Therefore, let’s all try to speak positive words to each other?! Joseph, could you try to say positive words to your sister this week?” I asked my son expectantly in the study. Before he could reply, my eldest Clarissa who was also in the study, interjected by spilling our family secrets: From how negative mummy (aka bible study leader) usually is with her words on their school homework, behaviour to other people in the family. If there is a list she could make, I suspect it would be longer than Santa Claus's present list!

I was left red faced, hot from embarrassment. It dawned on me that the study IS for me! As soon as she finished which sounded like forever to my ears, another child also commented on how negative parents generally are! “Gosh! We parents also have a lot to learn about taming our tongue! So kids, we are in this journey together, & as a mother I will try to be more positive in the weeks to come!” I tried to sound as convincingly as I could!

Dear God, forgive me that I was blind to my own negativity. I need to have more faith in You, in order for me to speak word of life to my children.

James 3: When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

My Testimony

At a very young age, I recalled asking myself & people around me, what was the point of life? I didn't understand why people were born, lived, earned a living, raised children and eventually died. The worst part was, when I asked the adults about what happened after death, they would either shun the question by telling me that it was an inauspicious topic to discuss or that we would only know when we died! There was no answer!

Being in a Buddist family did not help. I was told to good works so that I could have a better after life, but when I asked how much good work I needed to do, no one could give me a definite answer. One thing did stand out though, if I did anything wrong, my mum was sure to send me on a guilt trip making me feel lost & frustrated: No one offered me forgiveness or assurance that life was going to be alright, I could always start afresh.

However, God heard my plight and sent a Christian domestic helper to work in our household. When I was seven, Vera brought me to church & my parents were not happy. Church going was prohibited by my family, but that just made me want to go to church more, as I was excited to break house rules! Gradually, I became more rebellious & my mother would clamp down on me even harder through various punishment: I retaliated wherever possible, thinking that I would be happy. The truth was the more I disobeyed my mum, the more guilty & unhappy I grew.

When I was ten, I went to Singapore to study. There, I had all the freedom to do what I wanted but strangely enough, I didn’t do anything that would upset my parents. Eventually when I reached teenage, Vera came to Singapore to study at a missionary college. We were re-united and this time, I went to church for myself. There, I found forgiveness through Jesus dying on the cross for my sins. I could start afresh not just on the day that I accepted Jesus but daily! I felt set free from my years of guilt heaped on unconsciously! The best part didn’t end here. The bible says that Jesus is preparing a room for me in heaven. Therefore, I have no fear of death, as death is only the beginning of my heavenly relationship with God. My life now has a purpose: I felt completed with Jesus in my heart, as now the hole in my heart is filled!

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Monday, May 12, 2014

My Perfect 3

In the past year, I’m learning and relearning how to be a parent. In fact, as my kids grow, I need to be more creative in connecting with them. What worked last year, may not work this year!

Just today, my eldest is teaching me that SHE can be sarcastic and when I responded with disbelief, she spelt out the word to make sure that I got the picture! Thankfully, God has sent a little package in the form of Prissy to remind me to take life a little easier, preferably with humour. J

Joseph on the other hand, likes to say harsh words with a smile at the corner of his lips. He has a soft heart but a hard shell. Punishment has now reduced down to: “If you don’t finish your work, I’ll punish you with a kiss!” A peck on the cheek has become his most dreaded discipline. “And, I used to hug and cuddle him!” I do miss him as a baby, but despair not, when he’s asleep I would have my fill of stroking his head.

And of course there’s Prissy, who is hoping to become like her sister or brother one day! She would remind me of the many good years I had had with Clarissa and Joseph. Although she is only 3 y.o, she behaves like a little lady. She loves being the centre of attraction, and copes with my outburst of emotions exceedingly well. Thank You God for giving me my perfect 3. I have learnt so much from them and I know, there is still more to be discovered.

Monday, May 5, 2014

When A Serious Mum meets a Humorous Child

I’m convinced that God gave us children, so that we could be better for Him. Prissy, unlike her older siblings, loves to sing, dance and wriggle (no prize for guessing her favourite shows) all day. Her cheekiness sometimes is a challenge but most times, will bring a smile to my seriousness.

I’m the serious type, in fact, I don’t know any other way as a parent but THAT.  A week ago, Prissy stationed herself on her bike, stopped at the top of the staircase and asked “I go down the staircase ok?” If there were an uncontrollable wild cat in the house, it would have been me!

Frantically, I told her in a stern and loud tone, intercepted with lots of alarming words such as needles, injections, blood and hospital. Repetition, unfortunately, is a mother’s ill habit of which I had not been spared. So, there I was repeating myself, with my hands waving in the air; while my 3 y.o moved from her bike to the sofa. She waited for me to finish, before asking “WHY so fierce?” in an astonishingly calm voice. I didn’t know whether to laugh with a snort or be mad at her. Either way, I was amazed by her ability to control her emotions, in front of an infuriating mummy! I guessed that spoke volumes about her, and about me too. “Perhaps, I should take things a little lightly, with a pinch of humour!” I told myself.

The next day, Prissy was with me in the bedroom when she slide her fingers in the gap between the door and its frame where it was hinged. Having learnt my embarrassing display of emotions from the day before, I told her sternly that she should not put her finger there. “Instead, you could put your finger on your head, or your nose, or even fold your hands together to act in a stern manner.” I told her. Together, we acted out our silly manners and had a good laugh.

It took no. 3 for me to realise that there IS a different way to approach parenting, and truly Prissy is God sent. Thank you Heavenly Father for your patience with me, and your humour, for showing me that sometimes its ok to laugh it off.  

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...