Friday 2 November 2012


Food-for-Thought on Parenting and Life - Memoir of Dr. Richard Teo

I run and I run... I strive and I strive... I achieve and I achieve... I get better and better... but alas... I can't stop... the gift of determination and single-mindedness alas is a double-edged sword... to the detriments of other things in life...

As I sat awoke in the middle of the night... to organize my thoughts... God sent timely reminder from the memoir of the late Dr Richard Teo Keng Siang, a young Singaporean millionaire surgeon, who died this year... who had it all - brain, ferrari, lands and all...

Do take time to read his memoir... may we all learn something from it so that his death is not in vain...

Here is a video:

The memoir of Dr. Richard Teo has lessons to be learned on the parenting front. It made me reflect and reassess my parenting goal and direction.

My goal is to raise Joshua up to be a man after God's heart. But along the way, the pursuit of excellence and academic preparedness can crowd out everything else very subtly and quickly, keeping me from getting the order of things right. It ironically becomes a stumbling block to my goal.

I put a lot of emphasis in implementing Montessori - devoting all my spare time, energy and with single-minded concentration. Montessori is a good thing. Maria Montessori herself is a Christian. But nothing should replace the position of God in our lives. For what good is it to have the most developed brain without the love for God, without the love for people, without empathy and without the true meaning of life?

What I have learned from Dr. Teo's sharing:

1. It is more important to learn how to handle success than to have success

I should constantly check and remind myself that my aim for Joshua should not be to have success in life. For Joshua will have both successes and failures in life - that is the fact of life. But what matter is how he handles both successes and failures. It is a higher skill to be able to handle both success and failure well in a godly manner. For success without God is not a blessing, but a stumbling block.

2. The goal of life is to love God and to love others - love sums it all up

My aim is to pray and guide Joshua to develop a personal relationship with God, so that he will come to know Christ. It is not knowing about God, but knowing God.

Love - what does loving others mean?

It means:

- helping others in need (the story of the Good Samaritian is Jesus illustration of helping others to us)
- having empathy
- putting yourself in others' shoes
- lending a listening ear
- considering the interests of others before your own
- accepting differences
- overlooking an offence

3. I need to be a conscious role model

Have I achieved for myself the goal that I set for Joshua - To love God and to love others? No. How often have I lost my cool with people who are different from me, with people who fall short of my standard? I have no patience for incompetent and inefficient people at all. Have I showed grace? No. How many times have I wanted my own way? Way too often. Have I showed love? No. Yet I do it again and again.

For how can I look into Joshua's eyes and teach, if I have not achieved it myself? For a student can only be as good as the teacher.

I need to have more resolve.

I can only fall to my knees and pray, "Dear God, Have mercy on me. Help me to put right my actions to be in line with my goals."

I am willing to change. It is a reminder for me to make conscious effort to change. It is not easy and I cannot change without the help of God. I cannot change overnight. It will be a journey. Everyday is a new day to try again. I thank God for the gift of life that allow me to make changes. I thank God for His timely reminder. I thank God for accepting me as I am. I thank God for walking alongside me as I embark on making difficult changes. I thank God for His grace and mercy. I thank God for his forgiveness everyday.

In summary, life sums up in one sentence:

Love God and love others.

This is the most important goal. It comes with daily reflection, resolve and self-appraisal at the close of the day to get the order of things right. Character comes before academic. And character-building starts from me - the parent, not the child - Joshua.

I will continue to run and run... strive and strive... at loving God and loving others. May I get to finish the race well.

The Word of God says:

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33

"On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’" - Luke 10:25-37

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