Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Jan 20, 2018

Education is a lifelong pursuit

Filed under: Learning,Life — admin @ 11:05 pm

Today my daughter asked me, “Are you upset about the re-education? Going to the countryside at age 18.” I told her, “Not really.”

“I think it made me value the opportunity to go back to school years later. Also it made me tougher and able to undertake hardships.

When looking back, I wish I had some proper guidance when I was 18 years old. I was told to get re-education in the countryside, but I didn’t see the good qualities that I was supposed to learn, because I had no idea what to learn and what education really meant.

If you were to spend a year or two in the countryside now, I think I could give you better advice than what I received. At that time my definition of education was very narrow.

There is no such thing as re-education. Education is supposed to last lifetime and knows no restriction regarding when and where. For those with an open mind, they educate themselves wherever and whenever they find themselves.”

Learning without teachers and classroom. Learning anywhere, anytime. This is what I want to share with my daughter now.

1, Jan 18, 2018

Keep a log tracking how you spend your time

Filed under: Daughter,Parenting 2018 — admin @ 1:47 pm

This is what I write to my daughter today.

“You want to get more things done. You want to get a paid job. You want to get more skills. You want to be on your own. Since you got nobody but yourself to watch over your shoulder, you really need some mechanism to meet your goals.

I suggest this
(1) keep a log to track how you spend your time. You must be honest with yourself as we all must. If you spend one-third of your time on your cellphone, it is good for you to admit your addiction to whatever you’re on and you must wean it off. HONESTY is the key.

(2) When you were home for holiday, you bought something from online shopping and also tried to get something from second-hand stores. I hope you have stopped online browsing by now. This is what I suggest: every time you do so, associate spending money with making money.

(3) Try to get into the habit of asking yourself to learn something new each day, each week, each month, and each year. I believe this is a better habit than spending time on your cellphone.

You will soon be 23 years old. I spend time thinking about your situation and writing to you, all because I care and I know you are not happy with your current situation and you eagerly want to see a big change. I want you to be happy. And you want to be happy, too. So please do the right thing for yourself.”

1, Jan 17, 2018

Lady Bird, teenage girls, challenges to parents

Filed under: Parenting 2018 — admin @ 8:40 pm

Today I read this article on Time magazine, “Lady Bird: the pains of being pure at heart,” by Stephanie Zacharek. At some point it reminds me of my daughter when she was in high school, and some of my friends’ daughters.

“At one point, Saoirse Ronan, as disgruntled high school senior Christine, begs her mother, Laurie Metcalf’s Marion, for a magazine at the supermarket: “It’s only $3! I’m having a bad week!” Marion brushes her off, and it could be the usual mom move of just saying no–until she reaches the cash register and you realize that this respectable-looking suburban woman can barely cover the family groceries.

…Metcalf’s face betrays nothing so obvious as frustration or anxiety. Instead, it’s as if every molecule of her body has been, out of necessity, trained to count money. Meanwhile, when you’re a teenage girl wanting a magazine–so you can look at makeup ads, or pictures of rock stars, or fashion spreads featuring clothes you can’t afford but want to ogle anyway–it it among the world’s most straightforward, achievable desires. This measly dream costs $3, and Christine’s mother won’t–can’t–let her have it.”

I’m not here to make any judgment on either the mother or the daughter. I see myself as the mother, the parent and can see the same challenge facing thousands of parents like me.

On the one hand, we want our teenage children to be happy, healthy and ready for their life ahead, and we don’t want to upset them by saying no to them.

On the other hand, I can definitely understand the need to say no to this trivial thing when a mother can “barely cover the family groceries.” Also I can see a capricious teenager would want something else tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. There’s always something new that she wants everyday. Obviously, $3 magazine will make her happy for long, won’t buy her appreciation, won’t buy peace and won’t make us happy. In fact, it will do more damage than help in the long run.

If I had a chance to start all over again, I would teach my children before they turn teen about finance and the need to save for the rainy days and for their college expenses. I would ask them to save for their own expenses.

I would share my financial worries with them, trying to win their sympathy and understanding. With this understanding, they would be less selfish and would be willing to make sacrifice for the whole family. I would teach them the value of learning, the need to eye on the bigger prize, and focusing on the important things at this point of life, etc.

I can’t say I will be better off with this preparations. But I will keep trying and talking and making sense with the teenage children, and always keep in mind they won’t be teen forever.

Good luck, parents of teenagers!

1, Jan 16, 2018

You must have a plan for a semester, a summer, a year…

Filed under: Father,Learning,Life — admin @ 11:00 am

Lately I had a rather difficult exchange with one of my relatives. He goes to a local college here. He went back to China for winter break and came back on New Year’s Day. As soon as he got back, he made it clear that he would go back to China in May for the summer. That means he would spend both winter and summer breaks in China, totally four months out of a year. Two trips and four months in one year! This is crazy. I mean when I went to school back in 1980s, I lived on scholarship. Not much, of course. I made a trip back home once in three years. I just cannot wrap my head around this!

I know they have money now, still it makes no sense. I cannot advice them not to waste money since they seem to have too much on hand. I can only approach them about making good use of time, three whole months in summer.

I wrote to my relative, “What ultimately matters is no matter where he spends his summer, he needs to have a goal, a plan, so that he can get something done, so that he won’t waste his life. It’s OK if he desires the comfort that Beijing home offers to him. It’s OK that he wants to be high with his friends in Beijing, but it’s not OK to waste the whole summer without getting anything done.”

“I remember when I was in elementary school, my father always asked me to make a plan for the summer break, expecting me to complete at least one thing during the summer. I didn’t know better at that time and was rather resentful of writing any plan. When my children were little, I set the same expectation of them. Now both of them have got into the habit of planning and finding a goal for a set period. So much so that even my son’s girl friend is going to write a resolution for this year. I think it a good practice. It helps us not to waste time.”

Since I spent some time on this issue, I found it rather meaningful, helpful. So here’s the record.

1, Jan 11, 2018

Remembering my father…

Filed under: Father — admin @ 1:08 pm

On 5/4/2017, while I was in China, my sister mentioned one thing about our father. When he was around, he never spoke ill of people behind their backs, neither did we at that time. But after he passed away, we all started bad-mouthing people, including our mother.

What she said is true. Why so? Why do we start gossiping and bad-mouthing after my father left us?

I don’t know the answer at this moment. In fact, the answer is not important. What matters is the fact that we realize this and we want to get back to the way my father wished if he were still around.

I am genuinely sorry that I have deviated from the teaching my father exemplified in his life. I want to be a nice and kind person like my father. Apples do not fall far from the tree. I want to show to myself that I am my father’s daughter in deed!

1, Jan 10, 2018

How I handle distractions

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 3:00 pm

If I sit for too long doing one thing, my legs get sore and I tend to become less attentive and efficient. So I always set a 30-minute timer when I sit down.

Very often some random thoughts crop up while I am reading or in the middle of a 30-minute timer. On the one hand, I am tempted to do something right that minute because I don’t want to forget these thoughts. On the other hand, I hate to “break my concentration during pomodoro sessions” or get sidetracked.

So I write them on a post-it note and will take care of them later. When I handle one issue, I set timer for however long I allow myself for this issue, so that I don’t let one issue take over my day or my plan for the day.

I wrote to my daughter today, “I am sure the situation sounds familiar to you. I hope you have some mechanisms to handle this.” She wrote this to me, “Yeah, I also write things down on a notepad window when I don’t want to break my concentration during pomodoro sessions.”

1, Jan 9, 2018

End of holiday, Start getting serious with New Year Resoluton

Filed under: children — admin @ 2:32 pm

We drove to the airport early this morning. My daughter needed to catch 6:40 am flight to NYC. After getting back from the airport, I was waiting at home for news of her safe landing.

A little after 9 am, I received a message from Delta notifying me of the arrival of the flight. Soon I also heard from my daughter. It made me feel better after hearing from her. Then I drove the car to Firestone for oil change. From there I walked back home.

I planned to do some cleaning after I got back. But as I moved around the house, seeing clothes lying here and there, I felt rather sad, so much so that I felt like crying. I miss my children very much. They are so far away now.

So I thought it not a good time to move around the house. I need to focus hard on something. I need to start working on my New Year Resolution. I really need something to keep my spirit up, something my children will be proud of.

For today, I picked up John Grisham’s novel The Firm.

1, Jan 4, 2018

New Year Resolution 2018

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 8:42 pm

I am going to save this as the desktop screen on my laptop. I will check it at least once a month.

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