Monday, August 10, 2009

Of Courage And A Nine-Year-Old

"It's okay to fail. Everybody fails once in a while. The important thing is how you react to the failure. I would rather be someone who is able to bounce back after a failure than someone who has never failed."

"Look at the positives. It's a good chance to learn how to rebound from a setback. Try to think about what went wrong, figure a way to improve your shortcomings, make this failure worthwhile, make it a seed for future success."

Try driving these pep talks to a nine-year old little girl who had just brought back a poor exam result and were feeling down after a session with her mother, and you'd realise how difficult parenting can be, effective parenting, that is.

My little girl has always been up and down with her grades. My wife and I practise a good-cop-bad-cop routine on her with her academic progress. My wife, being the bad cop, would exert pressure when required, and I would come in to release the pressure from her when I think fit. In this particular instance, it's especially bad for my little girl.

She's a bit over-confident prior to the exam and was slightly slack in her preparation, despite numerous reminders from her mom. Therefore, when she brought home a poor mark that barely extended beyond the passing mark, she was in for a storm.

Lesson learnt? I guess so. I hope so.

Did my subsequent pep talks work? Well, she seemed blur on the message "Look at the positives from the failure", but she could totally accept and understand "It's OK to fail" - loud and clear.

But her worries were not over yet. She was to receive the results for a few other subjects the next day. Her confidence being on the lows, her eyebrows were locked the whole night fearing another round of bad marks comes tomorrow.

Another opportunity to practise my parenting skill? - Definitely.

"Be brave. Own up to your work", "Have courage to face the consequences of your own doing", "Be brave, be courageous", "With bravery and courage, nothing needs to be feared", "Be brave, be courageous" - "Baba, you said that already."

After another round of ineffective pep talks on a blank and frowning face, I finally accepted the wisdom of "It's OK to fail", and went to sleep with the "Look at the positives from the failure" at the back of my mind. It's a good thing I don't have to present my marks from effective parenting to any cops.

So, how do you instil bravery and courage into a nine-year-old?

The next day, I think I did it. I hope I did it.

When I got home that day after work, I was a bit anxious about how my little girl went through her day. To my relief, my little girl ran to me and gave me a big hug with a big smile. I think my "trick" worked. I hope my "trick" worked.

Right before I left for work that morning, inspiration struck me. I tore out a piece of paper, and on it I wrote the word Yong Qi (Courage in Chinese). That's it? No. I felt something was missing, it lacked punches - there is nothing there to back it up.

"Jie Jie, Baba's going to give you Courage to bring to school today, OK?" I told my just-awaken daughter, with a cheeky, but encouraging smile.

"Huh?" My little girl put on a puzzled and skeptical look. None the less, she accepted the piece of paper. The piece of paper with the word Yong Qi and signed with "From Baba who loves you very much!".

I'm not really sure the trick worked for you that day, Jie Jie, but I hope soon, you'll be able to draw bravery and courage from within you and face any problem with your head held high, and a smile on your face. But I guess that piece of paper is a good start. Love, Baba.



Dorothy said...

This is my first time on your site I'll be back.

Dorothy from grammology

czaroma said...

Thanks for sharing this post! What you did work wonders on the confidence of your child. You're girl would definitely grow up strong & courageous.

I have learned from this. Sometimes my preschooler would show me stars and sometimes she would ask me if it's okay because she got X marks on her papers... I would always tell her that it's ok as long as she did her best too:)

Sir John said...

This is very interesting. have a 10 year old that we always try to lift up.
Johnny Ray

Buzzing J said...

Thanks for the visit. Awaiting your next ...

Sometimes, I wish it would be that easy - I mean, by one trick, and the desired characteristic will be built into our children.

In this case, I think the trick worked for one day. I'm sure the problem will arise again in the future, and we'll have to think about the solution again. I guess the important thing is to keep letting them know of our love and support for them.

Sir John:
Know what you mean. With kids, we'll have to be creative at times when words fail to do the job.

kenwooi said...

your daughter must be very obedient.. it's amazing to have a 9 year old going sad about her results.. but anyway, i think maybe giving her some rewards will lift up her esteem? =)

Buzzing J said...

Oh, don't be fooled. She's not sad about her results, she's upset about us being upset with her result. If she thinks we're ok with it, believe me, she won't feel down at all. But that's parenting, we always need to find the perfect balance.


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