In late 2014, I was invited to lend a hand to a long-time friend in a curriculum development programme for toddlers. I was drawn to it not because of its potential monetary returns. Rather, as a mother to two young boys, I was disturbed by how families in Singapore have become so burdened to compete in the rat race just to pay bills. I was sickened with how my co-workers and clients were always talking about money. I noticed that parents, teachers and students have become so pre-occupied with beating the education system that day-to-day communication between parent and child is centred mainly on academic achievements. All these observations were making me very ill and depressed. I was desperate to move out of Singapore. I needed to be in a community and society that embraces life in a more holistic way.
While I assisted my friend in the development and publishing of the curriculum, I felt compelled to remind parents about what our roles and duties are as parents. Instead of embittering our children, it is our responsibility to love them for who they are. Loving our children involves teaching them how to love and respect the gift of life, their personal identity, their family and the community. Teaching involves encouragement and courage to discipline our children when they deviate and cause harm to themselves and those around them. Love and discipline must be consistent. It is our responsibility as parents to nurture our children so they that mature healthily physically, emotionally, mentally, psychologically and spiritually.
I wrote the ‘We Love Learning Together’ series with the intention of helping parents establish conversation starters with their toddlers and younger children. I covered topics on how a child is conceived, how a child ought to do when he encounters a stranger, what a child should do when he is alone, how a child should love himself and how a child should observe personal hygiene. These are day-to-day subjects which some busy parents have taken for granted, and deliberately outsourced to grandparents, helpers and childcare teachers. From my interaction with parents, grandparents, helpers and childcare teachers, I realised that not all of them are equipped with the gift and skill of teaching and asserting themselves. The result is a growing generation of youth who have no confidence in their identity and who do not know how to love and cherish themselves.
I was an avid painter during my youth. Unfortunately, with the expectations of a full-time career and family commitments, I rarely have the time to draw. It’s been tough to find a committed artist and illustrator that understands the style and treatment I wish to have for my books. After working with a few, I realised none is able to deliver. Publishing in Singapore is a dream. I am not interested to work with mercenary business persons whose motivation differs from my value system. Education is a vocation. Just like writing, education comes from the heart. With the encouragement of my friend Soo and my beloved teachers who have given their lives to all of us at the convent, I have decided to publish my writing on Kindle. I hope someday I will come across a modern Mary Blair who is able to transform my dream into a romantic reality.
As a society, we can cultivate a culture to love what we do, and to love others before ourselves. Life is meaningful when we give sincerely because the joy and satisfaction we receive is always more than what we have asked for. This was what my teachers taught me, which I will continue to live by for as long as I live for the word of God says:
My child, never forget the things I have taught you.
Store my commands in your heart.
If you do this, you will live many years,
and your life will be satisfying.
Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.
Then you will find favor with both God and people,
and you will earn a good reputation.
Proverbs 3:1-4 New Living Translation
The first book of the series, “Where did I come from?” helps parents and caregivers to explain to toddlers and children how they were made and born. Parents are encouraged to create a scrapbook together with their children, using their own pictures to personalise their stories. We hope that this exercise will give parents courage and confidence to bridge difficult topics and build conversations with your children.
You can purchase a copy of “Where did I come from>?” at https://www.amazon.com/Where-come-Love-Learning-Together-ebook/dp/B01N9LS41M/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8