Life / Relationships / Uncategorized · June 2, 2022

What my kids taught me 1

We can learn so much from our children. Things like love, patience, joy and so much more. One of the top things I learned from my children is Time. Or to be more specific, how to treasure the time we have together.

In the beginning, we are everything to our children. We feed, clothe, love and keep them safe. As they start to speak and walk, we are their Sun, their Moon and their whole universe. When they start socializing and reach their teen years, most of the time, we cease to be their Sun, their Moon and their Universe. Instead, we are questioned, our thoughts and opinions laughed at or outright rejected.

While we are adjusting to these changing roles, before we know it, it is time for them to leave our side and go to college, university or start their own life away from us.

Fortunately for me, when my children were still in their tweens, I had an inkling that my time to have a big role in my children’s life was limited. I wanted my children to be their own person, living their own life. And in order for that to happen, one day, soon, I would have to let them go.

So I made a decision to spend as much time with them as I could before they had to inevitably, leave the nest.

One of the most rewarding decisions I made was to forego the school bus service and drive them to and from school, and to tuition and any other events that they may have. While living in KL in the late 90’s I had seen how tiring it was for my children to take the school bus. To arrive in school which was about 7 km away from our apartment, my kids had to wake up at around 5 am. Coming back from school, they could spend up to an hour in the bus due to traffic and the drop-off route it took.

When we moved back to Kota Kinabalu, was when I made the decision to ferry them to school myself. And this was the most rewarding decision because when they are in the car, with no phones or tv to distract you, we would talk about their day, their friends, teachers and sing along with the radio.

Those minutes in the car with them are where I got to know more about them, their thoughts and their characters.

My daughter continued her studies in Kuala Lumpur and then on to Canada. And she is still there making her own life. Thanks to technology, we still get to be part of her life in a way, but what I miss most are those moments where we can just be present around each other, no distractions and communicate.

My son followed in his sister’s footsteps. He did well in a Canadian college and went on to the same university as his sister. He tried to get a permanent position in Canada after graduating but ultimately ended up coming back to Malaysia.

Even though one of them was close by, he was based in Kuala Lumpur for work. But after my heart attack he made the decision to move back to Kota Kinabalu.

Although we were back under one roof, he was already his own man, with his own life experiences and focusing on his career. My father role, never reverted back to what it was when he was in his tweens.

When the C19 pandemic happened, there was a sort of return to the times in the car after school. There was very much less distraction, no social life with others and instead of singing to tunes from the radio, we got to explore cooking and doing things online. From noobs at online meetings and training, together we learned about green screen tech, zoom meeting settings and great ways to deliver content online.

Even after C19 was less of concern, his having his office at home sort of maintained the connection we forged during the height of the pandemic. That is, until today.

Today, he and his business partners are taking a new step in their business. They are setting up an office. Watching my son move his equipment, tables and chairs out of the house and to his new office, evoked a mixture of emotions. While happy that his business is thriving there is a bit of sadness as I know that there will be more hours spent in the office and with his business partners than with us, here at home.

And so I go back to the lessons that we can learn from our children. And that is that our time in their lives, being part of their lives has an expiry date. While we are still their Sun, Moon and Universe, be sure to seed in them the elements of being the best version of themselves, to be good humans.

Where do I go from here as a parent? I guess my role is to be in the back seats of their lives, watching from the sidelines, cheering them on in their journey, and supporting them in any way I can.