Thursday, 8 August 2013

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A Reminder to Ourselves Why Our Family Have Chosen What We Have Chosen


I am writing down to remind ourselves why we are choosing what we will be choosing for the sake of J and JN, so that...

when days of discouragement come,
when our direction is clouded with doubts,
when temptation strikes,
when the going gets tough... and we forget why we have chosen what we have chosen...

I will take this journal out and remember why we have chosen what we have chosen, helping us to remain steadfast in our decision.

1. The Urgency to Be There

The risks are high, but there is still hope for JN. But someone needs to provide the moral support and comfort. No one else will care enough to make the necessary investment. The urgency is now and it requires time. My heart aches as I read into the possible pyschological effects such children face. The hardship is further aggravated by ADHD. Here are quotes from various sources:

"The neglectful parent doesn't express much love and also doesn't really care enough to discipline. Their children tend to grow up with little or no lasting relationship with Mom or Dad. They're estranged because they feel forsaken. The parents' neglect may not necessarily be intentional — they may simply be in the midst of their own traumas and chaos, and consumed by their needs so much that they ignore or neglect the needs of their children. They don't purposely desire to neglect their kids, but they don't know how to deal with their own issues adequately and don't have the tools to be healthy parents.

Children with neglectful parents also have difficulty in school. Neglectful parents often shift the responsibility of monitoring the education of the child to another child in the family or the school system. As a result, when these children struggle in school, there is no parental guidance to get them the help that they need.

The result of these types of experiences can be devastating. These children are likely to feel alone, empty, and timid. Such a person is more prone to promiscuity, fear of failure and weariness toward life. They will find it more difficult to handle feelings of insecurity and withstand unhealthy peer pressure. They may experience trouble forming healthy relationships. Because they do not receive the necessary love from their parents, they often struggle to develop appropriate social skills with others, which lead them to loneliness. As a result, they often end up alone or in difficult marriages. Since their emotional needs were not met, they continue to seek to have their own needs met. This seeking can lead to the person becoming a neglectful parent themselves.

These children grow up with unbelievably deep emotional scars, and their only hope is to find Christ. The good news is not all children end up this way. There are some intervening factors that can prove helpful. One factor is if the child encounters healthy adults who are genuinely interested in their growth and are willing to serve as godly role models."

2. Building Competence

Many books talk about the importance of building competence one of the ways to building self-esteem, especially for children with ADHD. To do this, it spells TIME. It takes time to help a child discover his strengths and to develop a skill to compensate. Again no one else will care enough to make the necessary investment.

3. I Chose to be There. Full Stop.

The success or failure of this investment will not be a determinant factor of our decision. I chose to avail myself to JN. We chose to make this investment. It doesn't matter if it hadn't turn out well. The determinant is to provide a mentor for JN. And the most important thing is that at least I have tried and given my best. We shall not look back with regrets.

4. Closing Window of Opportunity

We had a meeting with J's kindergarten's principal. She brought up a very good point, that the window of opportunity is closing. J will be entering primary school in two years and JN will be a full-fledge teenager. If mom is to have any influence, it is when the child is young, and are looking up to parents. When the child enters school, his worldview will be pointed outwards, and parents will become more and more uncool to hang out with. If it is only to be the most important few years, it will be now. Kids grow up at lightning speed. Once missed, we will miss it forever.

5. Trilingualism Path

In our family, we have chosen the trilingualism path for J. I spoke with a colleague who is trilingual. How did her mom do it? Were there any trade offs and sacrifice? She told me that she attended language classes on weekends. Since her mom was working full time, she sacrificed her weekends (while her husband worked a lot). So, no one can do it all. Daddy and I are not willing to give up our weekends. Counting only waking time, J is experiencing Danish 10 hours a day, which is 70% of the time, leaving the remaining 30% for Chinese and English. Without a sufficient amount of time for interacting in Chinese and English, our trilingual path would not fly. It is important for me to have more time with J so that he is experiencing a higher percentage of his wake time with Chinese and English.

6. Making Memories

I choose to be the one to chauffeur J around to his activities, because I want to be the one in his childhood memory, when he grows up. We could have easily employed a nanny, but I won't be making the memories, because I am not there. I want to be there for his activities to cheer for him; to pick him up, when he falls; to encourage him, when he is down; to lend a shoulder, even if there are no words that I can offer. Kids grow up at lightning speed. Once missed, we will miss it forever.

7. The Importance of Reserved Time

On days when I feel that I haven't been so efficient and productive, that I haven't achieved much, but have wasted precious time, I will remember the importance of reserve time, and remind myself why we have chosen to make this decision.

8. Self-Discipline

I am easily consumed and absorbed by my job. I don't have the self-discipline not to place my job above everything else, and it can become an idol. As such, it will be better if I take the decision to scale down.

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