In the course of my solemnisation duties, I do observe the shedding of tears. Yes, it is quite common to see the happy bride moved by the emotional moment. Once, a bride could not quite compose herself and cried buckets. Only upon the prompting of her sister with these words, “Stop crying sis. Just think of your mascara!” did she stop. What is not common is to see the groom cry. And from my vantage point I have seen mothers and fathers discreetly wipe off a tear or two.
In a few months’ time, I myself will be put to the test. My wife has often joked that when our daughter gets married, one of her parents will cry like a baby. And she is quite sure it is not going to be her!
Parenting! We are often put to the test not by a one-off exam but by many events throughout our children’s life. But I guess I am quite done with active parenting now that we have three adult children. Have we done well? The proof is in the pudding. What is the product of all these 21 years of guiding, molding and shaping of our children’s growing up years? I believe (inadequate as they may be) that how good a job we have done by our trial and error ways of parenting, is shown when we see them all grown up well-adjusted. Are they happy, healthy, confident, cooperative and responsible? And will we have a life-long relationship with them? This can only come about through deliberate actions to always want to Connect, Accept & Nurture our young ones – “CAN”! Parenting appears difficult and it is sometimes fraught with pain and heartaches. However, if we get our objectives right, the journey can be easy and indeed enjoyable.
Yes, very soon we will be launching our eldest daughter into her own married life to a fine young man. It will be to their mutual benefit to connect with, accept and nurture each other.
It was not too long ago, that whenever my daughter had a relationship breakup, I stood by her as her constant companion during her lunch breaks and our hours of bowling and swimming together.
Once, I had lunch with my daughter at Bugis Junction. She was telling me that she was soaked one day because her umbrella gave way in the face of heavy rain and strong winds. Deciding not to settle for cheap foldable umbrellas anymore, she went to the nearby departmental store to purchase the most hardy one she could find. She went through quite a number and observed that the salesgirl all but left her alone while attending to others. She was wondering why. The happy answer came when she was about to pay for her purchase. The salesgirl told her that all the other customers simply left the umbrellas out of their casings or had difficulty pushing them back in, but my daughter conscientiously and meticulously restored all the umbrellas she tried back into their original state. The salesgirl remarked that her mother must have taught her the art of neatly putting away foldable umbrellas, to which my daughter assented. The salesgirl beamed and said, “Your mother taught you well!” My daughter felt real proud – of her purchase and her mother!
Not forgetting the father, otherwise why call him a pa-rent? I believe in a happy and functional family – when “Father Affirms, Mother Instructs, Little ones Yield”. Conversely, in an unhappy and dysfunctional family, “Father Affronts, Mother Insults, Little ones Yell!”
Remember, what your children see in you now, you will see in them later. So it becomes incumbent upon us parents to be the right role model to our children. This I learnt from my own father. When my children were little I used to prepare breakfast for them while my wife caught up on her beauty sleep.
Why do I do what I do? Because I observed what my parents did. When my father retired from his job he was the one who prepared breakfast while my mother slept on a little longer before facing the mountain of work that lay ahead each day. Happily, my parents divided the work to be done. I am merely following what my parents modelled for me.
My parents taught me well. Happy parenting!
Former General Manager of TOUCH Community Services, Simon Sim has addressed staff of ministries, statutory boards, corporations as well as parents in various schools on strengthening family relationships. He is also the author of The Family CEO: Building A Happy and Successful Family.