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My Children, Self-improvement

Urban survival skills

strawberryGoh is away for 3 days on an overseas trip giving me full authority in the way to deal with kids in my own way. I think it is short term suffering which brings about long-term benefits. Continue reading…. My different approach on parenting is somewhat different from my husband’s.

As my 2 older children grow, I put more focus on communication with them and also teaching them practical problem-solving skill. Robin and Dominique came face to face with messy situations from time to time when they were both very young. The most vivid one was perhaps the incident happened when Dominique was at P1. He and his brother Robin took Kassim’s school bus. One day, an 11-year old schoolmate Ganga hit Dominique on the head with a water-bottle repeatedly. When Dominique cried, Ganga and the other boys laughed at him and called him ‘crying baby’. At that time, Robin was not around. Kassim feigned ignorance and asked me to confront that boy the next morning. I did not do that because I think this would not arrive at a desirable outcome and the possibility of recurrence is high. Besides arming my children with tips on how to tackle bullies, I let Robin and Dominique took public bus even though they were very young and to put up with the inconvenience of changing bus. It was not an easy process having practices before implementation. The rest are history.

As a working mother, there is limitation in the protection and support I can give, especially school work. I ‘outsource’ the task to better qualified people. They attend tuition classes in small group. School does not teach survival skills and practical problem-solving skills with daily situations (I’m not referring to the hotly-debated PSLE Mathematics questions!).

When we talk about survival skills, the first thing that comes to our mind is perhaps a situation being stranded in the wilderness. Haha! My children, husband and I experienced that before in New Zealand. Scary indeed! The survival skills I am referring to is to handle nasty situation, daily basis, in the urban context. It is the art of ingenuity and inventiveness.

Proficiency and Preparedness in 5 basic survival skills will give you the edge and put you on your way toward becoming a talented survivor. As I was from National Police Cadet Corp for 4 years, it is no stranger.

1) Fire – Knowing how to build a fire. Fire provides warmth, food and comfort so you will get on business of survival.

2) Shelter –Shelter provides an outer element. This includes heat, cold, rain, snow, the sun, and wind, insects and other creatures that seek to do you harm. The first layer of shelter is clothes. The next layer of shelter is one you may build yourself.

3) Signalling – Signalling allows making contact with people who can rescue you without having to be in actual contact with them. There are a variety of ways to signal for help. These include fire and smoke, flashlights, bright coloured clothing, other markers.

4) Food and water

5) First-aid – the initial care things for an injury or illness. Panic is number one enemy in any emergency situation, be it injured, lost, or stranded. What you need in these situations is first aid for the mind. Think Sit Think Observe Plan Your best defence in any emergency is your ability to think and make correct decisions.

Robin and Dominique learn these because they are scouts. However, to be able to apply them is another story. I do not expect them to score 100 marks for all situations and circumstances they encounter. What I can do is to guide them to improvise the 5 basic survival skills to problem-solving in daily situation like what happens today.

ROBIN 12 years old, date/time: 18 Oct, 9am

I gave $5 to Robin to buy spring onion, a box of chicken stock, a copy of Sunday Times and a copy of Zaobao from Prime Supermarket. I asked him to repeat what I said and what he would do if the total price of the items he bought exceeded $5. He said he will bring extra money. I said no, he can only bring $5. I suggested to him a few alternatives, either to reduce quantity he bought or forego a certain item which is not so important. Don’t need to call me for advice, I let him decide. He came back with all items except that the chicken stock is a smaller box. He told me he bought from a provision shop opposite Prime. Prime does not sell it. When I asked him what he learnt, he replied “随机应变” Bingo, it’s decision-making…!

DOMINIQUE 10 years old, date/time: 18 Oct, 9:25am.

Dominique did not bring the swimming card to pay the entrance fee. I asked him whether he has extra money to pay, he said no. He made the call from a shop near swimming complex. What to do? Ask the staff at swimming complex politely, “I am sorry Uncle. I forget to bring my swimming card. Can you let me enter? I will pay in the next visit.” I also told him to ask Mr Lai’s help. Mr Lai is the swimming instructor. The success rate is high because he is a child plus the staff there knows him. He didn’t call back again. I assume problem solve.

The possible environment and situations we could find ourselves in are innumerable. Although each situation has its particular requirements for successfully surviving, equipping children with problem-solving skills in unforeseen circumstances are basic lesson to prepare them for more challenges in life.

I believe my children can cope better in the situation describe here: Cabby dumped girls in deserted Lim Chu Kang. No doubt the taxi driver is at fault, It’s no use blaming the taxi driver, blaming the organiser for the ordeal. The parent and the girls should do some soul searching? Read this http://www.asiaone.com/Motoring/Motorworld/Story/A1Story20090611-147746.html

Globalisation brings about opportunity and competition. Let children soar like the kite, farther and higher and give them opportunity to learn so they can survive in the challenging world.

A phenomenon in today’s society 

Strawberry generation (草莓族) is a term coined in Taiwan to designate people born in the 1980s (between 1981 and 1991). The general perception is that these people, having grown in a protected environment and with economic prosperity, are less able to withstand pressure or to do hard work. The term is linked to the fact that persons from this generation are generally supposed to have grown in a protected environment (e.g. being overprotected by their parents), just as strawberries are grown in greenhouses and command a high price compared to other fruits.

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For more understanding: http://nccujuniorwriting.blogspot.com/2006/06/weaknesses-of-strawberry-generation_09.html

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About Pamela's Online Journal

Working mother of 3 boys, loves travelling & writing.

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