Thinking About my Roles as a Parent

I’ve been reading a lot about overparenting (How to Raise an Adult, Growth Mindset, Magic Trees of the mind, Excellent Sheep) and its perils. It got me thinking about how I really want to teach my dear little son. He is now at the cusp of formal schooling and I have to think about how to balance my desire for him to have time to explore his interests and to prepare him academically for the rat race ahead.

I was wrong actually, the blog is as much a place for me to privately express my thoughts so I can organize them as it is a documentation of little man’s life. When my mind is teeming with ideas, I have difficulty finding the thread of logic that will join them up in a sensible manner. I need to spew them out onto paper or print and reorganize them like I put together a jigsaw.

Instead of being mired in the day to day battles, I think it is important to think about what your long term goals are as a parent. Is it to “ace” parenting by having a child who follows the path to “success” (defined as going to an elite school,  securing a high paying job, being highly respected,  progressing in their career etc?) Is it to make sure they are happy?

For the former,  I didn’t truly care about that definition of success.  Many times, I do have to fight back the need to be “successful” and have a career, the feeling of having wasted my education and hard work etc. I was fortunate to have met an extraordinary mom with three kids and a PhD and she chose to stay at home for her kids or for herself for the past 10 years. J hit it right on the nail when he asked me why should I work, if I didn’t need to? I thought about it and realized  I have not been happier than I am right now. I felt like I did when I was in upper secondary school/ JC, I felt like the world is full of wonderful things to learn and explore. I had the time to read and pick up new ideas, philosophize….  I may not have found my calling, my passion, my lifework but I am really enjoying growing myself in many ways.

While I wish that Calvin would be a happy person, I would much rather he learn to be contented with who he is. Life is full of things that make you angry, sad, disappointed, excited, happy…. we cannot protect him from all the negatives in life forever. What we can do as parents is to teach him to deal with them and be able to move on.

So what then do I think successful parenting will look like? What do I hope to see in Calvin when he reaches adulthood?

  • I wish to teach him the value of hard work,

that you have to learn not only to do what you love but also to embrace what you have to do (to love what you do would sound a lot more “quote-y” but not everyone has the ability to brainwash themselves to enjoy everything…)

  • to be resourceful in problem solving

He know when and how to get help, or to find the information/ resources he needs to work on a problem.

  • to be resilient during difficult times

I guess this is more like emotional strength.

  • to be respectful of others needs
  • to do what is right even under pressure

Of course, now that my goals are clear, I have to think about what it means in our day to day life.

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