I’m currently reading this parenting book called ‘Making the “Terrible” Twos Terrific!’ by John Rosemond. In the introduction, the author poses a question which I thought was worth a think: What do you want your child to be at thirty years old? He proposes that parents should come up with a description of their child’s character at age thirty to serve as a character-based goal for the child.
This idea resonated with me because as a new parent, I would like to raise my child in a conscious and informed manner. I don’t want to bumble my way through it haphazardly and constantly have to fire-fight as issues arise along the way. Of course, my parenting will be far from perfect but I think that it would be really useful and helpful to have this kind of a road-map that I can rely on to guide my decisions when parenting Raeann.
Should I or should I not … ? Is it in line with the values that I wish to inculcate in her?
After giving it some thought and discussing with G, we came up with our ‘wish-list’ for Raeann. I thought that I would share it here.. to serve as a reminder to ourselves and perhaps also as an inspiration for you, if you choose to come up with a ‘wish-list’ of your own. It’s something like the list of ‘gifts’ that Sleeping Beauty’s fairy godmothers bestowed upon her. Just without the magical powers. 😉
Here’s what we came up with, in no particular order..
Like all parents, we wish that our child will be blessed with good health. Unforeseen and unavoidable illnesses aside, we hope that we can help to set her on the path to a healthy lifestyle. I’m kinda off-track for this one right now but we feel that good health will keep her both physically and mentally fit which will go a long way in helping her achieve her goals in life.
While we hope that there won’t be too many difficulties and hardship in her life, we know that obstacles in life are inevitable. Hence, we desire for her to have the resilience to plod on and see herself through whatever challenges and unpleasantness that might beset her in her life journey.
This one I think is very important for girls. To not look to others for validation but rather to allow her inner voice and compass to steer her when she is plagued with self-doubt. So that as far as possible, she will not question whether she is intelligent, pretty, slim, capable or good enough and will know with conviction that she is inherently worthy.
This is inspired by a phrase ‘柔中带钢’ that I learnt from one of my best friends. A close equivalent for it in English is ‘steel magnolia‘. We used to be in the dragon boat team in university and dragon boat is a sport that calls for a lot of physical endurance and gruelling training in order to row competitively. Hence, some people might be misled to think that most female dragon-boaters are tomboys and masculine.
What my friend told me was that you can be physically and mentally strong and still retain your femininity. Your strength does not have to be at the expense of your femininity. In fact, there is a certain strength in being a woman.
This is what I wish for my daughter. For her femininity to be a source of inner strength for her. For her to be gentle yet possess a core of steel.
While advancing and looking out for herself, we hope that Raeann will be able to empathise, to put herself in others’ shoes and think from their perspective. In this way, the decisions that she makes for herself will be also be based on treating others with compassion and kindness.
This value is inspired by NYGH’s school motto. While I was a student in Nanyang, I used to think that our school motto 勤, 慎, 端, 朴 (Diligence, Prudence, Respectability, Simplicity) was very “Cheena” and preachy. Now that I am older, I have come to appreciate these values more and I think that these are indeed admirable values for a student to strive towards. I particularly like “Simplicity” because as Raeann grows older, there will be more and more distractions, especially material ones, that might cloud her vision and prevent her from seeing clearly the truly important things in life. Therefore, I hope that she will be able to achieve contentment with the simple things in life.
What do you want your child to be at 30?
Many of the values here are inspired by the women in my life, particularly my best friends, who exhibit values that I hope my daughter will also develop.
p.s. I hope that you do not see these values/characteristics that I have listed above as expectations that we are imposing on our daughter. They are not our expectations but rather a way for us to make more sound parenting decisions in raising our daughter. 🙂