Friday, 28 August 2009

Hidden Worries

As my boys are growing bigger, I'm starting to see the chance of them seeking adventures in the future, which I'm sure will happen before I know it!

I never thought much about how my parents coped with my interest in outdoor activities (since neither of them was much of an outdoor person), but now as I think back, I know it must be something that was not totally easy to face as parents.

Since Ariq was 4, he started to be fascinated watching people doing wall climbing on a wall behind a shopping centre near where we lived. He kept asking me if he could go, but the guy there told him that he needed to be at least 5 to try it.

Ariq is quite tall for his age, so when he was 4.5 (and had been coming up to the wall climbing guy every time we went to the mall), the guy finally allowed him to give it a try. I wasn't too worried since I've done abseiling (rappelling) many times myself and I would be able to tell when the safety gear was properly attached to him or not. The wall climbing went well and Ariq was having a great time.

While Aza, since he was 2, every time we took him swimming, his favourite move was to stand on the edge of the pool and jump high into the water (he loves the 1.2m depth instead the shallow children pool) just to have the feeling of being under water.

I'm sure that all of you here, just as I do, believe that curiousity and interest will not stop there. There will be one day when they want to experience various things..

Being a girl, even though I had great interest in outdoor activities, I consider myself pretty tame. Bush-walking up the mountain, horseback riding, abseiling (rappelling) and camping were enough for my adrenaline.

Even so, I remember that to be sure of being able to go on trips, I used to make a note to ask my parents' permission at least 2 days before going. Not because they told me so, but I knew for a fact that my parents would need time to consult my uncle (my mother's younger brother who was truly an outdoor person) about my trip (which my uncle would interview me in detail).

Now, every time Ariq asks me to play with my equipment or walk into an outdoor shop at the mall and starts asking about the name and purposes of equipment there, I realise that outdoor is his interest too, and as a boy, he might want more than I did!

Now, I've started imagining how should I feel and react when one day, Ariq tells me that he is going caving, rock climbing or rafting.. and if Aza tells me that he is going diving, parachuting or sky diving???

Now I understand that letting me go on my trips to places unknown and unfamiliar to my parents, must be hard for them, but their trust has given me the chance to grow more than some other girls.. but, I wouldn't lie to myself, I have secrets from my parents; I fell off a cliff during a bush walk, which I was glad that a group of boys were behind my group and they pulled me up.

I never told my parents either that my reason going abseiling was to overcome my fear of heights, and I slammed onto the board on my first attempt, because I did not realise that my right hand was not able to work as a break (I'm a lefty abseiler).. that's how I found out that I could only use my right hand to do things that I have learned to do with it, otherwise, my strong hand is my left.

During those times, if things had gone terribly wrong, I could've been badly injured, to say the least.. My parents wouldn't be able to imagine the risks, since they never went on an outdoor advanture, but me? I know exactly what my sons would be doing and the risks they would be facing..

Despite my effort to start teaching them that risky activities need triple care and caution to ensure safety, I still wonder, will I ever be ready to let them go?

Friday, 14 August 2009

Very Short Children Stories

For non-English speaking parents, introducing children to English can be a tricky thing. Teaching proper English can be even more challenging.

Parents should always remember that the world these days is not the same with the one we were in ten to twenty years ago. Children these days are more observant and critical towards everything they witness and analyse everyday.

The first and most important step that every parent needs to do is just 'introducing' all kinds of knowledge and skills needed by children. The rest of the development and improvement will be happening much faster and better than we could ever anticipate. With the independent and active learning methods that are applied in schools these days, children have better self-confidence in searching for the knowledge and skills they need and applying those knowledge and skills once they have acquired them.

Therefore, there is no need to be afraid of making mistakes when teaching our children. Just keep the positive attitude to show that what we are doing is sharing and introducing them to parts of the world that we know to let them explore and develop in the ways that they need those worlds to be.

To start the introduction process to English, I have written three short stories (very short, in fact), to let parents have a feel of sharing their knowledge in English with their children. These stories can be found in my blog 'Orcalion's Story Land'.

I am waiting (hoping) for someone who can make these stories more interesting by adding some pictures/illustrations. However, if you would like to use the stories with your own creativity to share with your children, you are very welcome to do so (you are welcome to share it here too, if you like).

I hope your experience in introducing English and reading to your children is a enjoyable one.

Have a nice day :-)