Friday, August 15, 2014

Parenting & I-Ching

Below is something my graduated I-Ching student shared on the lengths he took to bond with his son, who is a hair-tearing problem.

To preserve the dignity of this poor hardworking father, I shall not detail how problematic his son is, so please trust me on this.

Because this kid is now estranged with his mother, who has given him enough caning + scolding fruitlessly, my student decided he has to... be the pillar of his son so the boy isn't lost further and went onto worse things in Life that could potentially endanger his future in the way of crime.

So he needs to bond with the boy, to win his trust, his admiration for him as a respectable father, a man, and a human being, that he might be inspired to mend his ways and be a proper person, not necessarily useful to the society in future, but just not an issue for all.

I thoroughly admire how strong-willed this student of mine is, how he brought himself from despair to patience of diamond, by learning the philosophies of I-Ching.

As I always say, my teachings are useless unless you use it fruitfully on yourself, so don't thank me before I see any result from you.

I just want you to be a better person than yesterday, step by step, bit by bit.

Rome isn't built in a day, no?

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Some of the best things we can do for the kids are free.

I once brought my son for an overnight camping trip at what I thought was a safe location - East Coast Park.

It was to give him a taste of the great outdoors in a familiar environment as opposed to say Mandai jungle. This was when he was Pri 4.

It turned out to be quite unsafe - there are huge monster rats running around once it's dark and they kept trying to get into our tent.

I made sure we brought only one small container of rice and boiled vegetables.

By dinnertime, he was so ravenous that he gobbled all his rice and vegetables and asked if he could eat my share. He then said this was the most delicious meal of his life - plain rice and greens boiled in plain water !

Finally at 2300 hrs it started pouring with lightning and thunder. It turned out the tent I had borrowed from my dad was not waterproof and we were soaked.

Anyway since it was a thunderstorm we had to get away from the trees.

When the storm ended around 3 am we went back to the tent which was by now waterlogged. We had to flip the tent around to get the water out and then crawled into a damp sleeping area.

The boy had been complaining about how cold and miserable he was and I just laughed at him.

After all I was the one who suffered more than him. by then I had been chasing rats away for hours, he ate my dinner and I had to do most of the water bailing.

For both of us it was a cold, wet and hungry experience. It was also sleepy for me 'cos I had to look out for rats till morning. The boy got knocked out despite being in the miserable cold wet tent and muddy ground.

I refused to simply go to the nearby McDonalds or take a midnight taxi home. It was make or break time for him. If I had left for him then the lesson would be to give up once you encounter discomfort.

Morning came with the glorious sun rising over the east coast. I practised my taiji for a couple of hours and let him sleep till 8. Then and only then did we go to McDonalds for breakfast.

It was just 18 hours, nothing like the week long field camps in the army but it left an indelible memory in him. He still remembers the whole experience vividly and still asked me last year when he could go again despite the lousy living conditions.

My wife said I was crazy to have put ourselves through cold, hunger and fatigue but it yielded amazing rewards.

And it was all free except for the bus fare there. The tent was borrowed, the food was from home, the permit to camp was free.

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Now please don't see this father as someone who has lots of time on his hands to do this sort of things with his hair-tearing son.

He's a middle-class executive doing stuff on the country level drawing a respectable 5-figure sum every month, and a bonus that many would drool.

So he has lots of work commitments, he has to manage politics, con-calls, and attend to work emails till late into the night. And sometimes, when the heads wanted and/or needed, he has to burn his sleep. Or weekend.

Aside all these, he has outside activities that suck lots of time, his time-table is filled back-to-back 7 days a week. so how did he do it?

Commitment.
Dedication.
Will.
Perseverance.
Tenacity.

You get the gist.

When he was about to give up on his son early in our I-Ching lessons, I say, "If you're going to give up, your son will be a goner. But if you don't, he has a chance. If you don't take charge, society and/or the law will do the job for you. It's the worst bit of Life that no one wants. So don't give up, besides, he's young, Primary school only, why give up so soon?"

A friend's wife, who spent most of her adult and teenage life in Australia shared her parenting theory with me, "Before 18, my daughter is my responsibility, any wrong she does is my wrong. After 18, she's her own responsibility, any wrong she does has nothing to do with me."

What she's meaning = she will inoculate all the right values, virtues and discipline into her daughter to the best she can till she's 18 years old.

After that, if the kid still wanna mess up her own life, it's her own choice and undoing.

I agree with what she says.

Never leave the human ( = morale, virtues, discipline) education to schools, the teachers have no obligations to love your kid.

The kid isn't theirs.

They're only paid to impart knowledge and make sure they're literate. That's it.

Your kid is yours, like how your spouse is yours, it's your responsibility to make sure they turn out right.

Or knows how to love you.

Your spouse is a human being, not God, even psychic doesn't mean he/she has Godly powers, they need to know how to love you. They need to learn how to fulfill their spousal duties.

This takes lots of commitments and communications. All these takes willingness.

If you're not patient, stay single and get a dog. It will entertain you for life, for food, water and boarding.

But if you want human love and companionship, be prepared for an arduous journey, and be rewarded with the emotions better than owning a dog.  :)