We’re merely two months away from PSLE, the major high stakes national exam in this country for primary schoolers. Concerned ones have been asking how we are coping and it seems like a concern: It’s a first for both of us: first time candidate, first time mother-of-candidate. It all seems like a big deal with quake-sized trepidations but… we’re glad that we’re managing.
We’re managing to shrug off the stress and the pressure cooker environment.
We’re managing to prioritize our relationships above the results.
We’re managing to keep our eyes on long term goals and not invest our all on a short term sprint.
We’re learning it’s important to pace, and enjoy the ride.
We’re managing our expectations of what it means to be successful and that it’s more than a t-score.
We’re managing to find our security in our faith rather than our fight.
The best part?
We’re managing to relate deeper and build into our collective memories as mother and daughter.
Spending a sizable chunk of our time talking and communicating is pivotal. There are crazy homeschooling days when our “home room” breaks out in spontaneous conversations about anything and everything! Sometimes there’s just so much to be done, but we just talk.
It is an absolute delight when the 11year old comes to me when she’s stressed or in need of a break and she goes on and on for 2-3 hours at a time, sharing what’s on her heart.
I confess it’s nerve wrecking at times when I’m in mumzilla-mode and think of how she could otherwise be using time more effectively scribbling on some practice paper or burrowed deep in a book somewhere. I’m thankful though that there’s a glitch in me that ensures I snap out of that faulty thinking.
When our children have that much to say…we should count it an absolute privilege to listen. We learn so much about them when we do: their encounters with friends through the week, their lofty ambitions and nagging anxieties, their perspective of life, their reactions to people and random situations, their hum-tune of the week & admiration of Megan Trainor.
Over the months, I’ve listened to her spiel memorized lines from my Baby Blues comic stash that she’s read from cover to cover, over and over. She artfully throws out choice quotes which so resemble my stay-home mum struggles that we both crack up and laugh our socks off. Laughing at ourselves is so important in times like these.
She has time to draw, which is priceless. All her random sketches, I don’t take them at all for granted. Every single one, an expression of who she is, and what she’s like at a single moment in time. She’s expressed her keenness in graphic design. It’s what I aspired towards when I was her age. Life comes a full circle, doesn’t it?
Whatever the future holds, I have faith she’ll find her way. If I may distill some thoughts on parenting a tween through this:
– Always welcome your children. When they want to talk, listen. Not listen while scrolling on your handphone, listen with your heart.
– Refrain from judging and over-evaluating. Many times they know what their offense is, but they need the moral courage to do what’s right. Knowing you’re on their side goes a long way.
– Pace them in their journey. It’s always a comfort for them to know they have you near. Stretch them with warm-ups. Be a running partner at times. Otherwise, cheer from the sidelines.
With the incessant demands of today’s pressure cooker society, these are happy gifts we can’t buy but can give freely to our children. They are, an open heart, an attentive mind, a willingness to connect. Top that with an ice cream, and we’re en route to happiness and happy children!
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