Sunday, 14 July 2013

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J Summary (4Y4M9D) - Making a Schedule Together

I firmly believe that for children to be well-behaved, there should be a good routine and schedule. When J was a baby, I made schedules for different stages of his babyhood and toddlerhood and sticked with them for 3 years. The burdens of life, the growing demands of J and the heavy demands from work have wore me down, and slowly the routine and schedule started defraying.

The author Dr. James Dobson mentioned that it is very important that your children see you reading the Bible. It is not sufficient just sending them to Sunday School, reading Bible stories to them. They need to see you knee before God as you ask God to direct your life, and as you read the Word of God. Parents have to set a good example.

I have kept this at the back of my mind and I still do not know how to implement it. It is too distracting to read the Bible in the presence of J, as I would not be able to focus on God. However, if I read it after he goes to bed, he does not get to see it.

I am slowly regaining my health and slowly restarting School Time with J, but I could no longer keep up with it as J wanted to do everything - Montessori activity (currently practising how to use chopsticks at the moment), cutting activity, Maths, reading Chinese, English and Danish books, practising the piano, practising ball skill with Daddy, Bible devotion for Preschoolers and the Chinese workbooks - all in one session of School Time. However, it means that our School Time is going great, and he is enjoying it and asking for more. I am thankful for it. He is developing the love for learning and could hold attention if I am there with him and supervising him. I could at most allocate 1.5 hours each evening.

We started doing Bible devotion for preschoolers in English (I got to know the Lord Jesus in English and English is our love language between God and I), something that J used not to have the liking for, perhaps because it is in English and not Chinese. The burdens I have for JN and emotional energy spent on JN has ironically made J more receptive to Bible devotion, even though it is done in English. When one gives, God actually blesses one back. I know it is God working in the life of J, as mom is busy praying for JN and has not much energy left. (Slowly I will introduce bilingual Bible - Chinese and English with J, as he is more comfortable with Chinese).

This evening, I had to prioritize and I prioritized Bible devotion as the only book we read after practising the piano and practising using chopsticks with J. All other activities were scrapped. As we sat in bed, I asked J if he was disappointed that we could not do everything.

An idea came to my mind that I should plan a new 4 year old routine and schedule and that I should do it with J. So we sat in bed with a pen and paper and writing down the time-table that we agreed together.

He said that he preferred to practise writing his ABC letters in the morning and we planned it in. He said that he preferred to brush his teeth after breakfast, so that he does not have to brush it twice - before and after breakfast and I allowed it. We also planned time to make the bed. In order to save time, we agreed that while mommy is busy with preparing breakfast, J should on his own go to the toilet, pee, wash hands with soap, change out of his pjyamas and put on his dressing out clothes, which he agreed. In fact, he has been doing this occasionally as he walk the steps towards independence. According to Dr. James Dobson, we should prepare our children for independence from the day of babyhood, and I am slowly doing it. So with this new schedule we make together and encouraging him to do things which he can do on his own on a more regular basis, we are taking a step further. J also agreed to be cooperative so that we would not waste time. But of course, being human, I know there will be days that he falls back - and often. But I am touched that he has set in his heart the desire to cooperate and work together to get the schedule to work so that we can free up more time for School Time.

After making the schedule together, we prayed about our schedule and asked God to give us the wisdom to finetune it. Then I told him that I have to leave him to sleep so that I can go and spend time with Daddy and reading the Bible, which is very important for mommy. J said that he want to read the Bible with me. So we plan it into our morning routine. Later, he came over and said to me in Chinese, "Mommy, I love you." It brought almost tears to my eyes. At that moment, I begin to understand the verse:

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

As I surrender the academics to God and work on J knowing God personally, God gave me back a lot more. J actually becomes more motivated in the academics and it is from his own inner motivation. When you teach a child moral development, it has benefits on the academic side as well. Of course, it does not mean that he will know all his letters and numbers, speak English, Chinese and Danish fluently. J is just a normal little boy, not a gifted genius, and like all normal kids, it takes lots of repetitions for him. But he has the inner motivation to learn, and that I don't have to nag at him. He is doing his best, although his best may not always be an A grade. And if he has done his best, that is the matter.

J's time-table schedule we agreed on:

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I am excited about tomorrow!

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