Us and Kids, We are Family

Asking a child to choose a mom over a dad or vice versa is like asking someone whether he needs to breathe or not. The child may struggle to answer this type of question because he/she wants both. Similarly, parent could not tell the child something like, “You stay with Dad and I take your brother/sister,” because the child does not want to be separated from his/her siblings. It is understandable that parents face daily challenges, and there are times family life is just tough. Sometimes and perhaps often, children are suffered the most due to tough family life situations, such as divorce, infidelity, poverty, etc. However, it is unwise to put children in difficult position while you as a parent knows that the problem could be solved between husband and wife. 

Parenting and marriage are two different topics but are interconnected. When you decide to commit in a marriage, you should aim both for happy marriage and successful parenting. These two topics must be discussed seriously before you say “I do” and after you both say “I do.” It is also important to practice being unselfish because once the child is present in the family, roles and lifestyles need to be adjusted.  

I’ve always believed that it is a privilege to be a parent. If you are a parent, I want you to know how precious your job is. Not everyone could become a parent. Some people struggle to have children. Some people either too sick or too old to conceive a child. So, if you are a parent, I want you to treasure your journey. Raising children is exhausted, but it is rewarding. Your children will always remember the time you have spent together because memory is irreplaceable. Therefore, even if a family life is under “turbulence” tries at your best to control the situation in the peaceful way so that they will not get traumatized due to that event. Family is the first and foremost child’s life experience. It shapes child’s personalities which will continue to grow as the child gets older. Family life and every little experience in the family influence how the child sees the world and him/herself. All of these become a foundation in the child’s overall social and emotional development. When the foundation is healthy and solid, the child will grow healthy and thus could become a responsible citizen. 

Will you do it? 

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“Give it to God and Go to Sleep” 

I love hearing the phrase  Give it to God and go to sleep because it teaches me to let go and let God take control of my life. 

The phrase is also a reminder that God is our creator and thus, He is the one who has the power to make changes according to His will. 

Each of us carries our own “cross.” The word “cross” in this context means problem, worry, or illness. The more problem we have, the heavier our “cross” are. We could try so much, but at the end, we have to let God carry half of or perhaps the entire cross for us. The process of letting God to take control is tough because it demands us to fully trust God. It is easier for us to memorize Our Father prayer than to allow God to guide us.  

Little do we know that God could and will do amazing thing for us when we fully surrender to Him. 

So, will you give your “cross” to God and let Him handle it on behalf of you? 

The Complexity of Parents and Children Relationship 

Parents and children often think differently. What parents want from the child may not be the child’s preference. Likewise, culture also influences how parents raise their children and put expectation on them. All of these get tricky as the child gets older. It will even more challenging when the child grows up in a culture that is different from his/her original culture. Argument or clash could arise because the child has a different point of view from his/her parents. Both sides will argue that they are doing the right things. Both sides want to win. 

On another note, children still and should respect their parents even though they have disagreement over things. This is tough, but children must continue to exercise putting effort to adjust and negotiate with their parents in order to reduce argument. Family relationship is complicated and tough. It takes everyone’s effort to maintain equilibrium.

Life is good when one could manage both family and work life in the most neutral and healthy ways. Can you do it? 

What is your ideal spouse? 

When I was young, I wanted to marry a prince charming.

When I was 15, I said I wanted to marry an architect because he could build me a nice house.

When I was 19, I wanted to marry a guy with a job and stable income.

When I was 25, I wanted to marry a guy with a job, stable income, but also someone who would travel near and far with me. 

Now, I simply want to live with reliable and financially stable guy who share similar passion and dream. 

The list could go on and on. The ideal spouse is the one who could adapt to various life-challenging situations and still love you just the way you are.

Ways to Create Productive and Progressive Community

When I think about human’s ideal condition, I picture a human with healthy cognitive and mental functioning living in healthy and safe environment. This description reminds me of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which consist of psychological needs, safety needs, love, self esteem, and self actualization. The hierarchy shows that human needs to have all of these to become a person with optimal performance. The psychological and safety needs, in my opinion, are the two most important needs that must be fulfilled and nurtured as early as possible and maintained in the long run. Productive and progressive community could be established when the people who live in it meet their basic needs and are nurtured. 

However, we know that a truly perfect condition is rarely happened due to numerous reasons, and as a result, supportive elements are needed to create acceptable living condition that could foster the growth of healthy population. What I am going to discuss here is solely based on my opinion and experience working with families. Through this writing, I hope to share with you how parents and/or primary caregivers have important roles in shaping a person’s personalities and nurture his/her skills into a responsible adult. I also want to show how adults such as, teachers, doctors, and government play supportive roles in helping a person to reach his/her full capacity. 

Situation 1:

Ronald (imaginative name), is living with his parents and three other siblings in a rented house. Mother is a stay-at-home mother, while father works full-time as an office manager. A lot of crimes in their neighborhood, but the family can’t move because of their limited budgets. Family owns a car, and this car is used by the mother to transport children to school. Mother helps Ronald and his siblings with their school assignments. Mother is making sure that all children eat properly and have clean clothes. She rarely buys new clothes unless she has extra money left. She doesn’t feel shame, when a friend or a neighbor donates clothes and toys to her children. She and her husband want to ensure that Ronald and his siblings could get proper education and graduate from colleges. They believe that having a good education and degree could help their children to get a better job and thus earn more money. 

Situation 2

Sandra (imaginative name) is the only child in her family. Her parents are both working in offices. Sandra lives in a nice house and safe neighborhood. Parents are way to busy that they do not spend time with Sandra. No one is supervising her school work and her social circles. Sandra’s friends manipulate her and encourage her to smoke and drink alcohols though she is still young. One day Sandra’s teacher caught her smoking weed and drinking beers at the school parking lot. Sandra is then placed on school detention and have to go through medical tests. Parents are blaming each other because of this. They feel shame because their daughter is taking drugs and is almost expelled by the school. 

Situation 3

Rin (imaginative name), is an orphan child. Her parents were dead when they tried to escape from the war in their city. Rin was found by the Red Cross relief worker and has been stayed at the camp since then. Nurses and doctors took care of Rin because of her trauma and malnutrition. She attends school at the camp and soon will be moved to another city that is not affected by the war. Her social worker is searching for a foster family who could care for her wellbeing. Rin finally lives with her foster family, but she still feels scared of them. Her social worker convinces Rin that she will be all right and the worker will check on her on monthly basis. Her foster family is responsible for providing basic living needs such as food, clothing, safe house, education. Rin still needs to see a counselor to help her with her trauma. 

Situation 4

Rocky (imaginative name) is a child with learning disabilities. Rocky’s parents hire a tutor to help him with academic work. Little did they know that this tutor often called Rocky name, like  “stupid,” and often said”you never ever able to graduate.” Rocky has been begging to his parents to not bring the tutor home. His parents thought he was just lazy and did not investigate more. Years later, Rocky turns into a moody depressed young boy. He likes to hit anyone who doesn’t agree with him. When he beats another person, he says “stupid, stupid, stupid guy.” Rocky is taken to the police station due to his behaviors. 

These 4 situations are just a glimpse of examples from countless possible situations that could happen to any human beings. The common theme from these 4 situations is that safe and healthy nurturing environments could lead to positive and better outcomes. When supportive elements are not present, even the naturally good conditions could turn into bad conditions. 
It is crucial for parents to spend time with their children on consistent and daily basis. Small things like eating together, reading books could create bond and foster positive interaction. 

It is also important for educators to provide healthy learning experience for students in the classrooms. Acknowledging students’ difficulties and working together to solve the problems in the neutral and healthy ways are always encouraged. 
Mental health and health practitioners need to educate and spread awareness to community about the importance of creating safe and healthy environment for children by discussing about the long term benefits of creating and maintaining safe environment for children. 
Law enforcement and government need to coordinate all segments and work together to promote healthy environment by ensuring that community members have enough food and proper housing and create safe communities. 

Finally, the above scenarios require all of us as a community to work and collaborate with each other to create healthy-safe environment and maintain it in the long run. The maintaining process requires every member in the community to educate and remind each other what is right, just, and positive for our community. 

Mama’s Wishes 

When I was young, Mama wanted me to be a piano teacher. She sent me to music class after school, in hoping that this would be my career post college. 

Years later, I become a teacher, but not in the music field. Mama understood. We both know that I love what I do, though she still hopes that I would play piano again. Maybe one day, I will play piano again. Yeah! 
**p.s. I recently joined a writing competition. The story is written in Bahasa, and the above paragraphs are the summary of the story.