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Showing posts from August, 2014

Simple Pleasures

My wife Sue recently tagged me in one of the latest challenges that have been going around social media. It's called the "5 Days of Blessings" challenge, and the idea is to share 3 things that you are thankful for during the course of 5 days, and to tag 3 people to join you in the process. I'm on Day 2 of the challenge and this was my Facebook update: Today I give thanks for the simple pleasures of life: 1) For the privilege of driving my wife  Sue  to her counselling sessions each week; enjoying the long drive in the car while listening to our newest favourite radio station Lite 94.6FM and partaking in some of the most meaningful conversations about life, love, marriage and parenting :) 2) For the simple joy of sitting at a coffee shop and tucking into my morning nourishment of a good book, enjoyed with a coney dog, hash brown and a glass of Kopi O Bing. 3) For the privilege of reflecting on life, on parenting; and being blessed with the gift of wri

Contemplating Beauty

Quote of the Day: Rachel Carson, the legendary environmentalist, was a naturalist long before she shocked the industrial scene with her expose on the ill effects of pesticides. Carson's book The Sense of Wonder  presented an intimate account of the long walks with her nephew along the coasts of Maine, through dense forests and across open fields. She believed that every child was born with a deep sense of wonder; and for the child to keep this alive, he needed the companionship of at least one adult who could share it, and rediscover the "joy, excitement and mystery" of the world around him. Since they were young, our two children have both developed a deep love of nature and the world around them. Some of their favourite moments have been spent taking a simple walk along the canal near our residence. We have recently started them going on a nature journal, for them to record their observations on any plants and animals that cross their paths. It was tr

Five-Minute Fillers: Tongs and Pom Poms

We have been a little concerned about our second son's tendency to ask for electronic devices. Mark and I discussed this and realised he asks to watch TV because he is bored, and because he picks things up so quickly, we need to have a whole range of activities to keep him meaningfully engaged throughout the day. This afternoon, his brother was out and I had him all to myself, so it was the perfect time to stretch his attention span and build his fine motor skills. We took out his favourite pom poms and I decided to add some tongs and a muffin pan to the picture. Here's what we did. Materials needed: - Pom poms - Tongs (I used the kind we had from our sterilising bottle days) - Tray/ shallow container - Muffin pan - Water bottle with drinking spout - Whatever else that would catch your toddler's imagination! Steps:  Show your toddler how to use the tongs to pick the pom poms from the tray and release them into the compartments of the muffin pan. You

Imagination comes ALIVE!

Parenting on Purpose recently had the opportunity to check out the Alive Museum, which opened in Singapore on the 21st of June this year. Located at SUNTEC, the trick art museum spans an area of more than 10,000 square feet, boasting more than 80 artworks. The concept is not a new one, originating in Jeju, Korea, when the then Trick Art Museum changed its name to Alive Museum in 2012. Since then, 15 branches have sprung up globally, Singapore being the latest.  An evening of fun for the family. As a family with young children, we were rather unsure of what to expect. We had already chanced upon the Alive Museum last year while on vacation to Jeju, but had not considered a visit as we had presumed that our children were too young to know how to pose for the photos - Jeju had so many other family-friendly attractions to offer, like Psyche World , an amazing insect kingdom, and even the Teddy Bear Museum , which proved a hit with our boys. And so it was with some cautiousne

The Greatest Legacy

Quote of the Day: One of my favorite actors, Robin Williams, has passed away at the age of 63. The news was particularly sad for me, as Williams died of an apparent suicide.  I will always remember Williams in one of my favourite movies of all time - "Dead Poets' Society" where William plays the role of an inspirational teacher. I will always remember the scene when he stands on the desk and challenges his students to call him "O Captain, my Captain". This was a call for his students to stand up against the conformity of the world and to choose to lead their own lives as thinking individuals. Then there was the epic movie "Good Will Hunting". I remember the movie most pointedly during the time I was studying for my course on Counselling Psychology. The protagonist Will Hunting was being sent to various counsellors because of his behavioural problems. And all of these sessions failed because the counsellors refused to listen to Will; each

Merlion - A National Day Walk in the Lion City

How do you teach a young child the meaning of "National Day"? How do you even begin to help them understand the concept of what makes a "nation" in the first place?  Even concepts like "country", "history" and "culture" are alien to the mind of a 4-year-old. How then do we begin the mammoth task of helping our children develop a sense of national consciousness that eventually translates to some semblance of national belonging and identity? As an educator, I've developed a technique of helping children learn by using tangible concepts they can identify with. We then take things one step further by introducing new elements, reinforcing these concepts through various pedagogical tools.  To help 4-year-old Z learn about Singapore's National Day, we decided to teach him about one of the country's national icons - the Merlion. While the origins of this national symbol is shrouded in legend, at least it incorporates a ta

Reading Maketh A Boy

It started with a simple outing to our regular neighbourhood mall. Sue had a couple of errands to run, so I volunteered to take the boys to the small indoor playground there. About half an hour later, the situation in the playground started getting chaotic. A 5-year-old boy was running around wildly, and his actions prompted a reciprocal behaviour from the other children, including our older son Z. Things started to get slightly out of hand when the 5-year-old got into a minor altercation with another boy of his age. It was then that I decided that it was time to leave; I did not want our kids to get into a heightened emotional state and felt that by leaving, we would at least be able to regain some semblance of peace. The library was just nearby, so that's where we headed - straight to the children's section. It was then that the unexpected happened. Little Z, who had previously been shouting wildly with the other children, picked up a book left behind at the table, and s

The 7 Secrets of Effective Fathers: A Book Review

Over the past couple of months, I have been enjoying a lovely book as part of my time of reflection and refreshment. I normally take time to sink my teeth into good books, reading only one chapter at a time, and then allowing the essence of the writing to permeate into my being. Sometimes I take notes; and sometimes I try to see how I can apply the insights to areas of my life. Ken Canfield's  The 7 Secrets of Effective Fathers  is one such good book which I savoured in my favourite neighbourhood coffee shop over a sumptuous breakfast of roti prata and kopi bing over several fruitful mornings.  Morning sustenance at my favourite coffee shop. Written after 10,000 fathers were surveyed by the US-based Center for Fathering, Canfield shared seven distinctive things that effective fathers do differently from other dads. These, he shared, are the secrets of effective fathering - commitment, knowing your child, consistency, protecting and providing, loving their mother, active lis