Sunday, July 27, 2008

Life is full of challenges

I almost felt helpless today as my hubby headed for another of his business trip for the whole week. That left me to be the sole caregiver. Well, theoretically, I have always been playing that role but somehow, the thought that he will not within close proximity made me uneasy. The burden somehow weighs even heavier as this period is where my workload is the heaviest as well.

Then I received an email from a friend who shared with me the difficulties that many others are facing but yet, they persevere and remain optimistic. Then another who tell me that by not preparing is to prepare to failure. Both are unaware of my predicament.

I suppose for many, life is always full of challenges. And I quickly snap out of my self-pity mode and decide to face this challenge gladly. I have read about a cancer survivor that her motivation to fight cancer tenaciously, is not to dwell on the dark days but to think about the joy of tomorrow. I choose to believe that everything in life happens for a purpose. This is a test for me and when it's over I will be more capable. Tomorrow will be better because I work towards it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

P's Latest Essay

Kelvin's New Shoes
Last Saturday, Kelvin had a very big surprise. His doting uncle bought him a pair of school shoes. Kelvin loved his new big shoes very much. The next day, he wore his shoes to school.

Kelvin walked to school happily. He wanted to show his new shoes to his best friend, Clevan. While he was walking, he saw Airair. She was carrying a stack of books. She did not see Kelvin. She stepped on Kelvin's new shoes!!!!! Kelvin was upset that his new shoes were dirty. Airair was embarrassed!

Soon, it was recess. Kelvin went to the drinks stall. He stepped on some sauce. He slipped and fell. He felt embarrassed. His shoes were dirtier.

After school, Kelvin walked home. He was upset that his new shoes were very dirty. Suddenly, a car drove passed and splashed water all over Kelvin and his new shoes. Poor Kelvin, he was all wet. It was a very, very, very bad day.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

How to Write Well

Yesterday, I was having a casual conversation with my hubby in the car. I was sharing with him that P has been progressing real well in English. Not just in terms of writing, he is also more confident and able to express himself adding color to his speech.

The conversation trailed to my own writing journey. I wasn't an English person in my formal education. On the contrary, my English department was actually weak, that was precisely why I took the easy way out to major in Mathematics in varsity. Hey, no words but numbers and symbols - that was my escapee from writing.

It was only in the recent few years that I developed a passion for writing. Below detailed three simple steps, which I have been dutifully following as in a ritual.

Step 1: Set up a Writing Bank. Start with work areas. Make time to deposit into a writing bank, eg. allocating an hour or two each week. Just like we deposit money in the bank, we should also have a writing bank where we deposit good pieces of article where we can learn from.

Slowly progressing to other areas. For myself, I am now into creative writing. As I read more, I learn about using fairytale to spice up short articles. We could also use fable to add punch to a piece of creative writing.

Step 2: Create Thinking Time. I cannot understate the importance of keeping one's body in tip-top condition. The mind and body are very much interwined. So, get into your sports attire, start an exercise regime and keep it up. Have a little notebook around to jot down ideas which flash across your mind.

Step 3: Make Time to Write. Set clear and well-defined goals and work consistently towards achieving them. Practice makes perfect. If one is no good in a particular area, there must be greater impetus to do more. By practising, your brain neurons will make more connections and you will inevitably become a better writer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Helping Our Children Ace in School

Recently, I seem to have joined the league of kiasu parents in Singapore by enrolling my child in a number of enrichment courses - he is taking tuition for his Chinese, comprehension and essay writing for his English and well, piano which cannot be exactly be categorised under the academic umbrella.

In the recent news articles, one even quoted that a teacher advised a parent to send his child for tuition lest the young kid cannot catch up. During my time, most of my friends literally breezed through the initial school system without the stress that our kids face today. But today’s education system is different, and calls for a different set of responses and strategies.

While I don’t want to be a kiasu parent, I don’t want my boy to fall behind his peers either. Hence, in the selection of the extra lessons or should I term it as essential, I am pretty judicious.

I have no doubt that Perry need that extra Chinese lesson as our family is more of an English speaking family - though my husband thought that we do speak a mix of English and Mandarin, I supposed it's more of a colloquial, the sort that you can get by to buy some grocery from our friendly neighbourhood provision shops. The school's suggestion for Perry to be enrolled under the "Little Chinese Tutor" Scheme, whereby a student good in Chinese in the higher level to coach him, further supported my initial intuition. For English, I have read his earlier essays, they were at best, very boring. Today, they are much better. And also I can see that he enjoy writing.

Some people feel that sending the children to so many enrichment lessons take the joy out of learning. I beg to differ. If managed properly, these lessons can help the child enjoy the learning process. Once the child understands the concept, he will be less stressful, grow in confidence and yes, be successful in school.

Of course, nothing beats being involved in your child's learning journey. Some tips for sharing:

- Read together
- Establish a daily family routine with scheduled homework time
- Talk to your children and... listen to them, too
- Encourage the child to set high standards
- Keep in touch with the school

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I am in love .... again

That intense feeling struck me as I laid my eyes on him. His pair of focused eyes looked firm but yet gentle on me. His light brown eyes blended well with his tanned complexion and good physique. I have had experience that before - it felt as if there were a hundred butterflies fluttering their wings in my heart.

That was more than 10 years ago when I first had that feeling. It is wonderful to experience that again.

After more than a decade of marriage, I can dare say the phase 1 without kids is the honeymoon period. Once the babies come, welcome to phase 2 of marriage - parenthood. There are stretches when being with the kids drained me dry, when their company made me feel plain fatigued and easily irritable especially when work pressures also pile in. Yet, it is also a highly fulfilling job to be responsible for moulding tomorrow's leaders. I will suppose phase 3 will come at the tail end of the family cycle when the kids are kids no more but grown-ups and we will have more time for ourselves. But only, we will be much older then.

At the cusp of the middle of my life journey, I discover that my first love remained untainted by age. I ransacked an unopened box which stashed away our precious belongings when we did a major renovation for our home. I found a card which I sent to my beloved five years ago when he was posted overseas for a working trip. Dear, I love you.