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.

Being a Woman 

Sometimes, being an adult and is happened to be a woman is a hard task. Regardless of culture, the image of a woman is often associated with caretaker, mother, and housewife. Though most women now could get education and participate in the work field, they are still challenged with the local norms in terms of what they should or should not do. It seems that women need to work twice harder than men to prove that they are smart, brave, and have important life goals, too.  

Single adult women who share a house with parents and jobless probably lives their lives hearing people telling them either to get a job or marry a husband. 

Life is still somewhat challenging for single women, who still live with parents, but have their own job because people including family members demand them to marry a guy. Traditional culture like Asian, still think that a healthy adult woman should marry a healthy adult man to lead a family life, raise kids. One same problem among these single-jobless women and single-career women is that they need to get married. Will a marriage promise a lifetime happiness and wealth to these women? Maybe, these women need more time, maybe they want to focus on something else. So long as their actions or presences do not bother us, we need to keep our mind and business to ourselves. 

How about married women? Do they free of life issues? No, not really. Adult-married women who have jobs, but childless also face issues because people including relatives asking them why they still do not have kids, yet. It would be nice for us to not ask this particular question because we don’t know what they have been through. It would be nice if we say hello and ask about their days in general instead of asking when they will have kids or why there is no kids after x years of marriage. 

Married women, no job, have kids have their sorrow, too. People would criticize how skinny/fat the kids are, why home is dirty while they actually don’t work outside home. People will question them why kids’ school grades are low. Again, it would be nice if we practice refrain from saying mean things without really looking into the problem. 

Married women with a job and have kids with special needs suffer emotionally and still have to deal with people who blame them for the things that happened to the kid. Instead of pointing on their flaws, we could offer assistance to these women who have kids with special needs. 

Big take home messages from all of these are that we need to respect anyone whom we meet, refrain ourselves from saying things that could hurt others, always think before speak, and last but not least, women and men should share same responsibilities and work together to make a world more livable. 

To all women, have faith, persevere, and even things seem going against you, do not quit. So long as what you do is right and have good purposes, God will make the way. It may not happen instantly, but it will be beautiful in its time. 

Bridge in Marriage Relationship: How solid is your bridge? 

To say “I love you,” one must learn to say “I am sorry” first. It’s difficult to say “sorry” when you feel that you are not doing anything wrong, but learning to say “sorry” though perhaps you are not 100% wrong, could save your relationship. Saying “sorry” first doesn’t mean you are weak, instead, it gives you and your spouse a chance to talk about the issues. The likelihood of both of you to have more fights about the same issues is high, if you don’t resolve these issues now. 

Of course, the best time to talk with your spouse is when both of you are not angry. Talking about the issues is the most important step of this conflict-resolution process. It is recommended to do this, as soon as the conflict/fight is over. 

People say having differences in a committed relationship is good because this means couple could complete one another. While I personally think this theory sounds true, I also believe that couple needs to have a solid “bridge” to connect their differences. Furthermore, this “bridge” should contain same goal, value, and faith in order to mend the differences. Goal refers to what you and your spouse want to achieve now and in the long run. Value refers to anything that you and your spouse think is important, for example, family time, education, stable job/career, etc. Faith refers to religious practice, for instance, are you and your spouse practice the same religion? Do any of you question the presence of God? Always look back on the foundation of this bridge when the differences in the relationship are getting wider. 

Fight or conflict in the relationship is unavoidable, but just like what marriage counselors often told us, this conflict could be solved together in the peaceful way. Couple need to practice how to express their thoughts and concerns clearly and politely. They also need to think about their “bridge” in their relationship when they are in the process of solving their issues.