I used to think so hard about the future without focusing on the present. Little did I actually register that the present usually determined the future. How foolish.
With the sudden influx of children, the idea of giving a child a ‘childhood’ in Singapore is highly debatable at my dinner table. Well, in all honestly- I did have a childhood. One that probably ended when I was 8 years old (or so I remember). I used to think it was essential that every child have their childhood intact until it was necessary for them to assume older roles. Ideally when they can start learning to reason effectively when they’re about 10-12. But yet again, if you constantly shield them from the harsh truth in society, will they grow up with understanding or grow up with hatred or negligence towards something they can’t change? Going against the flow that they can never fight against?
Written from a real life example:
(Names have been changed to protect their confidentiality)
Auntie Mary’s Son, Jay, is 13 this year and studying in one of the top SAP Schools in Singapore. Jay is an only child and Auntie Mary loves him dearly. She does everything for Jay, from wearing his shoes and socks from the time he went to kindergarten even till the time he started secondary school.It came as a shock when Auntie Mary’s Brother, Uncle Gary saw her showering him when he was 12. She only stopped when Uncle Gary intervened to say that something was not right, and that she was over protecting him. Auntie Mary argued, saying that her son was ‘special’ and required ‘special’ treatment.
You see, when Jay was young- he questioned everything. Auntie Mary- a woman full of heart, tried reasoning with him- with the idea not to ruin his childhood by unleashing the raw truth : That the world spares no thought, no reason and no compassion for others. If you lose, you lose.
Jay grew up with the idea that things went according to his watch. He stomped at train stations when the train wasn’t on time, he rushed for seats on buses and screamed on them for his mother to come and sit beside him. He even talked back to teachers and was labelled by peers and relatives as ‘special’ because of these few instances. When there was a man on the road who fell off his bike and was injured, Auntie Mary stopped the car to offer help. This angered him as he screamed and cried in the car, “Why should we help this man? It wastes our petrol!”
However, when you are alone with him in a room while his parents are getting ready, he is able to maintain eye contact with you and try to carry out a conversation with no initiation.
So the question is, is Jay really ‘special‘ ? Or was this just a concoction of his parent’s way of protecting his childhood?
No one’s to judge whose parenting style is right or wrong but in this instance, how do we determine the situation of Auntie Mary and Jay?
Trust me, even I’m confused.
Just the other day, it was one of those days where my mother randomly comes into my room and lay on my bed with her eyes closed. I was churning out some work and continued typing, completely focused on my task, and then I heard “you know, you were such a difficult child to look after. You were much easier to take care of when you were a baby.”
I turned and looked at her and it took me awhile to really register what she meant. I laughed and said that’s a factor why I shouldn’t reproduce.
And then I heard my brother from afar chorusing Maroon 5’s daylight song : ” we knew this day would come, we knew it all along.”