Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Your Children is not "You Version No.2" - Prose of Ramadhan Part 28

Testing his father's chair for size. But I am not adamant
that Mikhail follows in my footsteps.
Mikhail barged into the room last night and immediately started to arrange the bed for sleep. "What are you doing, Mika? It's only 8.15." I asked. "I want to sleep early, Papa." He said. "So I can wake up early tomorrow  and have a long time to eat sahur (pre-fast meal around 4 - 5am). It's your fault I didn't fast today. I wanted to but you didn't wake me up for sahur last night!"
This is Mikhail and
Taufiq Version 2.

Mikhail fasted most of Ramadhan last year, but then he wasn't schooling. Nowadays, with school, then later out for his Kumon maths tuition, he gets hungry and thirsty, a fact he made patently clear to everyone in the house. So I thought that he can have a break, especially on Monday, the beginning of his school week ("I  hate Mondaaaays...!" He would bleat). Oh well, perhaps I underestimate my son's resolve. When I drove him to school this morning, I asked and he said that he was fasting - "Otherwise, why would l wake up for sahur, Papa!"

I admire my friend Amirul. I have seen him in action with his kids. He is not like me. He would constantly be alert to his kids' (He and his wife has 2 daughters and one son) conversations. My attention, after half an hour of Mikachat, often drifts to other things. Amirul is different, he is a constant listener and almost Machiavellian in his parenting ethos. He recalled to me one incident during a parent-teacher meeting he had for his youngest girl. "The teacher really didn't get it! I was giving her eye-signals to indicate that she shouldn't praise my daughter too much!" He complained. "Hana has been No.1 in the whole grade... but then she started getting cocky!" I stared at him, and asked "Well, what is her score now?" In a tone of resignation he replied, "She is No.2 now... " Amirul absolutely doesn't relent in keeping up the pressure on his kids. But don't get me wrong, he ain't no dragon daddy. He jokes, he cajoles and he keeps up the light but honest banter with his children. I think he is a great dad. But then he also had his own legacy of success to pass on to his kids. I remember some 20 years ago when he and I was sharing the same university dorm and he showed me an old letter from West Point Military Academy USA accepting him as a candidate at the world famous army school (he was then studying in the Royal Military College, Malaysia). He opted not to go though, saying that he was more interested in business and money. Hehehe. That's Amirul for you.
"West Point? Ahh... thanks but no thanks." said Amirul.
Often we limit the scope of our children's ability by our own conditions. Sometimes we forget that the little manifestation of  humanity that is our son / daughter is a separate living and breathing personality from ours - so why should they be restricted in their promise and potential by our mistakes and prejudices? It is a most unfair thing to do to our children, I think.

So I hope that I shall learn to be more fair to my son. And remind myself that he has an entire Universe at his disposal to fill with his ambition, drive and dreams. Our job is just to get him the wings, give him some money for his fuel and see where his love, determination and conscience shall take him from there on.
See you later, Papa! I will be on my way!
Have a lovely Tuesday, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.


Denise Emanuel Clemen said...

Lovely post.

Milky Tea said...

It was a lovely work writing it, Denise. Drop by anytime!

Anonymous said...

Fa, enjoyed reading this post. Cheers Mate.