Teach by example

Yesterday evening, my hubby and I were engaged in a serious discussion about some rules and principles in the Tan house. Now that our daughter is of age to peer curiously at your private parts were you to walk around naked, we thought that considerable time should be spent determining some “house rules”, going beyond “don’t open the fridge” or “don’t talk to strangers.”

I thought it pertinent to note that we must teach by example. Reflecting on my own upbringing, which I dare say was completely devoid of such purposeful thought and planning because my parents were busy simply trying to make ends meet, I had always given the proper respect to my parents, for being parents. They were teachers, but they themselves never regarded the profession with more than the required enthusiasm to do their jobs well enough to be compensated every end of the month. In fact, they told my sister and me that there were better things to be in the world than teachers, and that we were not to even consider the vocation because of its mediocre returns.

As such, my sis and I thought very little of our parents’ professions. It was a means to an end, the end being our educations, and our futures. And this, I believe, made an impact on me, this very traditional method of coaxing you into doing well. “Study hard because we worked hard for you, we suffered for you”. It was very pressurising on us, especially on my sister who had a knack for doing well in her studies (I was more concerned with growing up ;)). All this care not to waste our parents’ hard-earned money drove us to excel, and excel we did.

It was the same for Lokes, although not as blatantly. His parents, I believe, are the best sort of inlaws one could have ever asked for, and to top that, they were fantastically liberal parents as well. My mother-in-law told me that she never pressured her sons to do well. Of course, a standard, responsible amount of discipline was meted out but it was always with an understanding hand. Today, both sons are doing very well.

It’s really an exacting science, this parenting thing. On one hand you want to make sure you direct your child on the right path, and on the other, you don’t want to push. But if you don’t, what if she slacks, for children are naturally curious and may stray. As they become older, their sphere of incoming influence also becomes wider, and there are many things one cannot control. However, I believe that what one can control, is oneself.

Last night, Lokes and I pledged that we will lead by example. Do what I say, AND do what I do. There will be mistakes, and there will be times we will go astray. But becoming better people ourselves, we will become better parents, in that our children will grow to respect and love us not because thye have to, not because we tell them to, but because others respect and/or love us.

Easier said than done, yea? I guess we will just have to try. And the first thing to do, is to STOP walking around the house naked!

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