SINGAPORE: Giving Our Children Roots and Wings

SINGAPORE: Giving Our Children Roots and Wings

As parents, we desire to raise successful kids. But often the measurement of success can be so vastly different depending on our backgrounds, experiences and expectations. In Singapore, academic success is one of the top measures.  Parents will sign up their kids for every enrichment and tuition centre in a heart beat, if it promises to improve their child’s grade.

For some, it could be developing their kids’ full potential in the area of music, art, or sports, and sending them to take every class to discover their talents from a young age. For others, it might be simply equipping their kids with the life skills to get them through whatever life throws at them, the kind of smart I prefer, “street smarts.”

Over the years, Singapore’s education system is slowly steering it’s direction from just developing book smart students to being more holistic, realising that there is more than one way to recognise our kids’ abilities.

I’m really glad about these changes as my daughter will enter formal education next year, and to be honest I wasn’t an ace student. Many times I felt that I was judged by how well I scored on my exams and if I disappointed my parents and myself when I didn’t achieve fantastic results. But over the years, I discovered that I have other talents and gifts that are just not related to how book smart I am.

Though I think my daughter’s pretty smart (okay, I’m a biased mom ), I know these changes to the education system gives me greater assurance that she will thrive when she starts school. But as a parent, I also have an responsibility in shaping who she is and my role is to give her roots and wings.

Roots and Wings

Just like a tree, in order for it to reach it’s fullest potential and stand strong to withstand the different elements, its’ roots must go deep and be firmly planted. These are the qualities I wish most for and I try to instill in her:

1. To be rooted in her identity
I want my daughter to be deeply rooted in the knowledge of her own identity. I want her to love herself for who she is and not strive to be someone else. I want her to recognize that she’s uniquely her, complete with her vivacious and vibrant personality, her sense of humour, and heart of gold.

2. To be rooted in character and values

Peer pressure will be a very real issue in school and that’s when our kids’ character and values are put to the test. As a parent, we have to ingrain values of honesty, compassion, integrity, kindness, responsibility, perseverance, and the list goes on. The best way to teach these to our kids? To model them ourselves.

3. To soar on wings of exploration
Besides having deep roots, I hope that my girl will develop wings to seek out the world. To be filled with curiosity and awe with a hunger to know more. I want to be the parent that says, ” That’s an interesting question, let’s find the answer.” and never to stop her from asking questions.

4. To have wings of independence

Our kids will grow up no matter how much we wish for them to remain cute and small. And the key is to ensure that they are equipped with life skills to see them through their days. As a young toddler, I’ve roped my girl to help around the house from picking up after herself, clearing her plate when she’s finished her meals, or loading the laundry.

As she gets older, she knows she has to be responsible for her belongings and pack her own bags. We’ve taught her what to do if she ever gets lost, and now she’s learning how to count money, an essential skill needed at the school canteen soon.

I also intend to teach how to manage her time wisely, budget and save,  and maybe even cook. We can start from frying an egg!

As parents, it won’t be easy for us to let go of our kids when they eventually grow up, have their own ideas, friends and all. But when that day comes, we’ll be glad that our children are ready to soar high with their wings, knowing we’ve provided them with the skills to navigate the skies!

How do you help your child(ren) develop roots of responsibility and wings of independence?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by contributor, Susan Koh from A Juggling Mom in Singapore. 

Susan Koh

Susan is from Singapore. As a full-time working mom, she's still learning to perfect the art of juggling between career and family while leading a happy and fulfilled life. She can't get by a day without coffee and swears she's no bimbo even though she likes pink and Hello Kitty. She's loves to travel and blogs passionately about parenting, marriage and relationship and leading a healthy life at A Juggling Mom.

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EGYPT: Life Skills Children Need

EGYPT: Life Skills Children Need

ID-10097438What life skills do my children need to learn to live a happier, more fulfilling, and successful life? This is a question that I asked myself while thinking about what my children need to learn. I started by looking for what exactly the definition of life skills is, and this is what I found on Wikipedia:

 “Life skills are behaviors used appropriately and responsibly in the management of personal affairs. They are a set of human skills acquired via teaching or direct experience that are used to handle problems and questions commonly encountered in daily human life.”

It wasn’t that easy to find the answer for my question as I found many, so I decided to start by checking what skills I found out, when I grew up, that I needed to learn and could make a difference in my life if I learned them earlier.

I thought about how to highlight the importance of these skills to my kids or how to tell them to start building these skills. I came up with the idea of presenting them in the form of a list of tips to apply in their daily lives to make them a habit:

  1. Work hard and Play hard: Work hard when it is work time; and play hard when it is fun time.
  2. Listen: Listen attentively to your heart, your mind and to others to understand what they really want to tell you.
  3. Ask questions: Be curious and ask questions to understand and check with others about what they want to say and if it you understood right.
  4. Follow your passion: Find out what your passion is, what you love, and what you do effortlessly and do it.
  5. Learn to solve problems: Problems are essential in life, so learn to find solutions for the problems not to avoid them.
  6. Be courageous and face fears: Do not avoid what you don’t like because of fear of failure, it is your opportunity to learn something new and strengthen your will power muscle. Take a small risk every day by trying something new.
  7. Do make mistakes: Do not be ashamed of making mistakes.  We all do, and it’s a must for learning.
  8. Let go of criticism: Don’t let criticism negatively affect your life. Sometimes people criticize others just to feel good about themselves so find out why they are criticizing you. Are they really caring about you? If yes, consider it; otherwise let it go.
  9. Learn:  Life is a long learning journey, so never stop learning and developing yourself. Commit yourself to learn something new every day.
  10. Be goal-oriented: Learn to set goals and work toward these goals; it is very powerful as it allows you to live a purposeful life.
  11. Work in a team: Cooperate and help others. Working in a team allows you to build new skills like good communication skills, leadership skills and unselfishness.
  12. Be grateful: Focus your attention on who you are and what you have, not what is missing in your life, and be grateful for what you have in hands.
  13. Learn to manage your resources wisely: Be careful about your health, your money and your time. They are your most important and precious resources so don’t waste them.
  14. Give amply: generosity in giving and sharing everything like material stuff, emotions,  praise, encouragement and love can bring a lot of happiness and fulfillment; as it allows you to win other’s love and respect.
  15. Dream big: Don’t fear to dream big dreams and to follow your dream. Just believe in yourself and in your ability to achieve your dream.
  16. Believe in yourself: Be confident and believe that you can do it.
  17. Never give up: Persistence is key factor for success. “Winners never quit and quitters never win” ~Vince Lombardi

These are the skills which are essential, from my point of view, for my kids to acquire. What other skills do you think your kids need to learn to live a fulfilling and successful life?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Nihad from Alexandria, Egypt. Nihad blogs at  Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

Image courtesy of “Girl Writing Abc Shows Kid Learning” by Stuart Miles



Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.” She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.” Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.” Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

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AUSTRALIA:  Helicopter Parenting

AUSTRALIA: Helicopter Parenting

I’ve been a mother for almost 23 years and a nana for just 4 short months and I thought I’d heard it all. Maybe I’ve just been out of the loop for too long and not reading all of the parenting books that I used to. My education has obviously been lacking though because I’ve only recently heard about helicopter parents and lawnmower parents. What the…….?

So maybe I’m showing my age now, because when I became a mother at the tender age of 17 we were warned about not wrapping our children in cotton wool.

It seems that the more common term now is ‘helicopter parenting’, whereby there are parents who hover overhead, rarely out of sight of their children whether needed or not. Or if you’re a lawnmower parent then you smooth out and mow down your children’s obstacles.

In essence, it’s about over-parenting; parents solving their children’s problems and keeping them from harm. It’s about not letting children learn for themselves by letting (more…)

Fiona Biedermann (Australia)

Fiona at Inspiration to Dream is a married mother of three amazing and talented MM’s (mere males, as she lovingly calls them) aged 13, 16 and 22, and she became a nana in 2011! She believes she’s more daunted by becoming a nana than she was about becoming a mother! This Aussie mother figures she will also be a relatively young nana and she’s not sure that she’s really ready for it yet, but then she asks, are we ever really ready for it? Motherhood or Nanahood. (Not really sure that’s a word, but she says it works for her.) Fiona likes to think of herself as honest and forthright and is generally not afraid to speak her mind, which she says sometimes gets her into trouble, but hey, it makes life interesting. She’s hoping to share with you her trials of being a working mother to three adventurous boys, the wife of a Mr Fix-it who is definitely a man’s man and not one of the ‘sensitive new age guy’ generation, as well as, providing her thoughts and views on making her way in the world. Since discovering that she’s the first blogger joining the team from Australia, she also plans to provide a little insight into the ‘Aussie’ life, as well. Additionally, Fiona can be found on her personal blog at Inspiration to Dream.

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