Today is 1 January 2011 (1.1.11), perfect numbers for a new beginning of a new year. Looking back on the past one year, I marvel at how much my daughter has grown. She is now a bubbly, chatty and inquisitive 3-year-old who has a penchant for books and loves to ask "why" to almost anything she does not have an answer.
If there is anything I am most proud of in achieving in the last one year, it’s seeing my sacrifices (in terms of my career, time and efforts) paid off in how my child has developed thus far. She is eloquent, bubbly, joyful and well-behaved most of the times. Of course there are the usual tantrums and occasional misbehaviour that is expected of a child her age, but generally she is a good-natured child with a big heart.
My only regret about her is her social life, or the lack of it. Being the only child and having been homeschooled all this while, she is not exposed much to people outside the family and is extremely wary of strangers or people she has seldom met. She doesn’t play easily with the other kids and takes a while to warm up in a social setting. But once she has warmed up to you, she will chat with you anything under the sky. She is also not shy to show her affection with kisses or bear hugs to her loved ones.
Looking forward, I am excited for her as she will be going to preschool for the first time when school term starts. I am happy that she will be meeting new friends and enlarging her social circle. She will also be learning new things from her teachers, apart from me. I sure hope she enjoys school as this marks an important milestone in her life. But I am also aware that I should continue to inculcate good family and social values in her, and not depend on her teachers just because she is now in school.
Especially after I came across this meaningful and thought-provoking poem by Dorothy Law Nolte, it set me thinking how easily influenced children are by the people around them and the home environment they grow up in. Children are like sponges, they absorb whatever they are dipped in. It made me realise how crucial my hubby and I are in molding and imparting values to our child, not through teaching her but by setting an example. It can seem scary to have such power as it also means huge responsibilities. And as human beings, we are not perfect and may sometimes fail in setting good examples.
So this poem serves as a timely motto for the start of a new year, that we should constantly strive to be a better person so that our children will benefit from it and hopefully do likewise for their next generations. It’s like paying it forward.
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.