Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Spare the Rod

The issue of canning children and students has surfaced again. It looks as if it is a no ending subject in the education circle and among parents too. First of all, we must agree that punishment is necessary to discipline our children and students. But is canning the way to discipline a child or a student? Do we think that by canning a child or a student, he or she can be disciplined?

With all this talk about the deteriorating morals of our youth – girls hugging K-Pop stars, Mat Rempits and the like – I wonder if the problem we are facing with our young ones has more to do with what happens at home rather than when these kids step outside.

It is not uncommon these days to encounter a family dining at a table where everyone, parents and children included, are not interacting with one another. Or worse, where the parents are watching YouTube and the child, left to his own devices, is screaming for attention from a distracted Mom or Dad. It is also not uncommon to witness kids running amok and misbehaving while the parents bury their heads in the sand.

In contrast, in many a European family, children are extremely well-behaved not only during meal times but also throughout the duration of their stay with us, which sometimes can stretch for weeks.

From where I sit, you would almost wonder if these Western parents have unlocked the secret to better-behaved kids. Frankly, I think we need to rethink how we are bringing up the babies.

Perhaps the prevalence of domestic help is to be blamed. Let’s face it – Malaysian parents still have it easier than many of their Western counterparts who do not have live-in maids or part-time domestic help. Raising children is entrusted to maids who feed, clean, clothe and even entertain the kids while parents are busy with their jobs. And children grow up not even knowing how to make their own beds or do laundry.

I think Malaysians need to take a good, long look in the mirror and come to grips with the kind of parents many of us are. If we want to raise kids who are morally upright, well-mannered and considerate, perhaps it is time we were too, especially towards our own offspring.

Realise that parenting is not like owning a pet. More than just feeding and clothing a young thing, it is about nurturing malleable minds who absorb stimuli like sponges and most importantly see you, their parents, as role models. So if the only conversations you have with your child are when you scold him or her for doing something bad, that is the only way the child will know to interact with people in general.

Like all things, the problems with our youth have everything to do with us, the adults, and how we carry ourselves in the world. That is what being grown-up means – an awareness that the world is larger than oneself, that every action has a consequence, and that someone else is always watching.

Note: I will be a father in July

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Mirror on the wall

I seem to have made a habit of writing reflective birthday posts in recent years and I would very much to like to carry on the tradition. While new year posts seemed to be more milestone focused, my birthday posts were mainly posts of self-reflection.

I am spending today in contemplative solitude and silence, I was never really into celebrating anything anyway. If anything, the anniversary of my birth serves as a constant reminder for me to reflect upon on my personal growth and why I was given life 32 years ago.

We are only guaranteed this one life, maybe there’s more after this but nobody knows for certain. Live this life, breathe the air in other places, hug your friends and your family and forgive those who you hold grudges against. Laugh at yourself and accept the little things not as flaws but as those tiny puzzle pieces that fit together to make the wonderful person that is you. Age isn't a definition of who you are, your outlook on life is. I feel happier, younger, and more excited about my life now than I did when I was 19 and that’s because I have had the fortune to be around the right people, learn the right lessons and grow each day.

If I could have one birthday wish I’d ask this, go out and do something for yourself and someone else today. Go for a run, go buy yourself a book or a fancy coffee and then do the same for someone else. Treat a friend to lunch, suprise your mom with a hug, or take your kids to the park. Let this day be a brighter one, not just for those celebrating a birthday.

Note: Alhamdulillah, thanks to all my friends who taken to respond on my facebook birthday. For some of them, I haven't spoken for quite some them. Thank for being part of my life.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Big Fish:- Gone But Never Forgotten

As I approach fatherhood, I find myself spending more time thinking about and trying to understand my own father so I can better relate to my child. I think this is quite normal. As men, we spend a lifetime trying to understand our fathers. We learn and continually relearn lessons from them throughout our lives. My father passed away recently but I often wonder how I might relate to him now, as an adult with my own family. Over the years, my opinions and views of my father have changed greatly, and the revelations of why my father did certain things are becoming more frequent and clear as I make my way.

I have a good relationship with my father, but it is a little distant. We don't really talk much about each other’s lives that often, and it always seems a little cold. He was always busy make me during my childhood closer to my mom and sibling. Yet, we love him and would never try to exclude him in any way.

Even if he comes home late from work just so he can pay for your education and the bills, his love is always unconditional, even if he may not be there all the time. He cares and wants only the best for his children. In our heart of hearts, he will always be our hero.

My father consistently prioritizes serving our needs before his own. I used to think it was really his job as my father to provide what I want, until I realized he was actually doing that because of love and sacrifice. After understanding, I now truly appreciate everything he has been doing for his family.

Note: Al-Fatihah to my late father (Haji Mohd Affandi Bin Haji Mohd) whom passed away on 26 January 2015. May iAllah place him together with the Solehins