The ultimate challenge to good parenting


I have heard more than one parents telling me how inexperienced they are as parents. To be sure, most of parents are without prior experience when they first become parents, definitely so if they have not been a babysitter or a teacher to young children. First-time parents are overwhelmed with lots of unknown. We all start from ground zero. As we run along the parenting line, difference will develop, due to their difference in temperament, expectations, education, cultural and economic background.

One factor will have a decisive say in how big that difference will be. I believe parents can potentially make a huge difference in a child’s life if they are willing to make sacrifice or do whatever needed for their child, even if it means a change of their lifestyle.

To start with, in the prior-child days, a parent can do however he pleases with his time, money and life. A simple example, he can use offensive words whenever and however he feels the need without having to worry someone might copy the way he talks.

With the birth of the baby, he has to share his time and money with this new life. His life is no longer his own. Like it or not, he is both a parent and the first teacher to his child. Action speaks louder than words. He realizes he is creating his own mirror in the form of his offspring. He has to consider the impacts on his child of whatever he says and does.

Here are some examples of parents’ making sacrifice and accommodation for their children.
1. An ex-colleague of mine went to work at 4 AM so that he could be home when his children came back from school. He started doing so ever since his children started elementary school. He said he would keep this schedule till his children left for college.
2. A father started learning piano at the same time when his daughter took her first lesson so that he could better supervise her practice.
3. A father stopped gaming when his child was doing homework so that his child could concentrate better.
4. A mother changes the way she expresses herself so that her child will learn how in similar situation.
5. A father told me he would leave behind all the stress that he felt at work when he returned home. And he would not show his disappointment and anxiety when he saw the disappointing grade reports of his child so that his negative feeling would not impact his child.
6. A father stops smoking for the benefit of his son.

Here’s one example of a parent refusing to accommodate himself to the child’s need. A father who promised his children to work with them on their Chinese told them to wait till he finished his TV shows, which was way past the children’s bedtime. This resulted in the children never taking Chinese lesson from the father.

Knowing that something in us is going to have negative influence on our children and willing to change ourselves so that we can be a better person/teacher/model for our children — in my opinion, this is the ultimate challenge for us parents. Such as, if a father has a hot temper, which often frightens and is detrimental to his child psychological and emotionally, he makes sincere efforts to change it so that the child will not be the victim of his bad temper.

You don’t need experience to be a good parent. You only need to know what a good person should be and be that person yourself for your children.



Gaming the system– a shortsighted approach to education


Many college applicants try to game the system by being over-achievers. They try to impress the admission officers with perfect SAT and AP scores, perfect class ranking, and a wholesome spotless extracurricular activities. In other word, the applicants look more perfect than real, so perfect that there is no believable life in these perfect metrics.

In their effort to beat the system, they behave rather shortsightedly and forget who they are and what they want to achieve in the long run.

I know someone who didn’t have perfect SAT, without even making to the top 10 class ranking, no collection of admirable AP scores, and who was admitted by some of the top universities. On the other hand, I know many with perfect everything still were denied by the school of their choice.

Make no mistakes. I don’t mean to say that grades are not important, that good performance does not count. They do. Decent grades show that you are a responsible student, that you are smart enough to handle tough courses, and that you dare to take challenges.

But one needs much more than that to tide one up to a higher level. People want to see the character, the potential of the applicants, and the whole person, perfect or imperfect.

The applicants should at least dare to be himself. Not afraid of showing their human side, that is, mentioning moments of weakness and how they have grown and got stronger over time.

Parents need to help their children to develop a goal in life, a strong character, a healthy attitude, and an upbeat approach to life. This seems a less straightforward approach to college application than simply gaming the system. Yet, in the long run, it works better in helping your child than any other way. Knowing what he wants to do with his life will benefit the child during and beyond college campus.



10 Don’ts — part of your efforts to be a nice person


1. Don’t act as if you are always right.
2. Don’t make promise or commitment easily. Once you promise something, keep your promise.
3. Don’t ask for help easily. Always try your best first.
4. Don’t impose upon others. Respect others.
5. Don’t make fun of others. Respect
6. Don’t lose temper easily. You gain nothing from losing it.
7. Don’t interrupt others. Respect.
8. Don’t underestimate appearance. That’s how you are first judged.
9. Don’t be close-minded.
10. Don’t bully the weak ones. Be nice!



Fourth of July weekend flying out to New York City


It’s been nearly a week since we got back from New York City and Boston. What a wonderful trip!

We started on July 1, a Friday morning, leaving our car at the long term parking lot. We arrived there in the early afternoon. My son went to the airport to meet us. If I had my way, I would not want him to come to meet us because he is such a busy CEO. It took us more than an hour to get our rental car at the airport. One lesson learned that day is trying to avoid coming out on holiday weekend. There were people everywhere in the airport, on the highway, even at the car rental office.

We finally got our rental car and drove to my son’s apartment, toured his apartment and met his girlfriend. Together we went to have dinner at a local restaurant called Sage. A nice dinner. After that we left for Boston. My son booked a hotel there. My daughter was waiting for us at Sheridan Hotel in downtown Boston.

It was nearly midnight when we finally made it to the hotel. My daughter was waiting at the lobby. Surprisingly there were still plenty of people, tall and short, at the lobby, due to the 2016 Little People of America National Conference in Boston that weekend.

The next day, the Saturday, we went to my daughter’s apartment, then left Boston and drove north to Burlington, Vermont, which sits by Lake Champlain. The place turned out a better place than we thought, better than Kansas City. It is a small college town, having a rather urban lifestyle, nice and clean, population very homogeneously white, with the look of having a much longer history than any cities in Kansas. Indeed, it does. People seem to enjoy a much relaxing life there than here in KC. I like the place.

We stayed there on Saturday. On Sunday, on our way back to Boston, we went to Vermont Country Store Weston, winding slowly through hilly roads on route 100, instead of taking interstate highway. We stayed at the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel, a much nicer one than Sheridan.

The next morning, Monday July 4th, we dropped my daughter to her apartment, then drove back to New York City. We said goodbye to my son at the airport. He took a taxi back to his apartment. By the time we got back home, it was already passed midnight. I was too tired to fall asleep.

It was a short trip and I enjoyed it thoroughly! Since both of my children are busy, it’s a good length visit.



Remembering my father who left us 29 years ago


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It was a Saturday, 7/11/1987, when my father breathed his last and I was in America at that time. I was not there when he passed, which has been a huge remorse ever since. I know he died of cancer which I could do nothing about. Still I often dream of other realities and of things and activities that we could do together if he were around.

More often I thought it would be a huge comfort to him if I kept doing what he wished, even though I know this is nothing but a wishful thinking. I don’t believe people feel or know anything after death. It’s all over beyond that point, as if that person had not been around at all. It’s all what the living does in order for the living to feel better. The dead lives in the mind of the living only.

With that thought, I often feel pressed for time. Time is all we have in this life. My father’s life was cut short at age of 57. So many events, significant and unprecedented, happened in China and in the world during the past 29 years and he wasn’t able to witness them at all. He was an exceptionally intelligent and diligent man and could have accomplished so much in 29 years. He would be 86 years old now if he were around. The thought of that reminds me of the fact that being healthy is of paramount importance to me now, that I need to take good care of myself especially when my daughter is still young. I don’t know what my father wants now, but I know what my children want from me and I still have a lot to deliver on.

Before I can create and enjoy life, I must have a good health. This is what I think of today, the day when I remember my father.


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