Saturday, March 6, 2010 ;
9:05 AM
Suddenly have some thoughts and comments to post...

After reading a picture story book together with ds2. He brought it home from his school library.
It is based on the local Sg context. Cannot name the author because she is a well-known local Singaporean.

I'll tell the story in brief first:

1. There's a little boy who wakes up very early to go to Kindy. The picture shows him at home. It is dark.
2. The next page shows his parents still in bed. He says to himself that he shouldn't wake his parents up, because they had to work till very late the previous night, and they need the rest.
3. So he gets changed himself, packs his bag, gets his water bottle etc etc.
4. The next page shows a domestic helper setting out his breakfast for him and the words said his housemaid prepares a good breakfast for him and brings him to the school bus.

The story aimed to teach kids to be
- independent
- considerate

But I had a lot of problems identifying with it.
So did ds2.

First of all, I had to explain what a "housemaid" meant. He didn't know what it meant.
Next, even though when he was a baby, we had a helper, the helper was never in charge of preparing breakfast for us, not the kids nor adults.

Next, I wonder if the examples chosen were appropriate in teaching kids independence and being thoughtful for others. It kind of just lets the adult reader think, "Man! These parents are so lucky? They get to sleep in!"
or "Man! These parents are so lazy. They don't even wake up to send their son off to school. They don't even have breakfast with him. They were probably working so late the previous night that they didn't have dinner with him as well."

I certainly can understand how sleepy a parent can get. After waking up many times at night, or after working late into the night the previous night for Bio lectures I had to deliver in the past, yes, I didn't feel like waking up early either.

But if you have a child that attends school the whole day already, won't you wish to see him and share a meal with him either in the morning or night?

That aside, the thought suddenly struck me that:
if we were trying to bring up a generation of kids that are considerate towards us parents, and independent at a young age...

THEN, when we are old, we need to tell ourselves, just like the boy saying to himself:
"My kids are so busy working. They are so tired. I am not going to burden them. I will check myself into an Old Folks' Home. So that they need not spend any time having meals with me or talking to me. They shouldn't bring their kids to visit me either. They need to spend their free time resting and being with their own kids."

Then only we'd be considered as considerate, aren't we?

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