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

1, Sep 14, 2018

My birthday, the day after, and the truth

Filed under: children — admin @ 7:57 pm

Yesterday was my birthday. Some friends sent me their birthday wishes, which was very heart-warming. I mean it would be a lie if I acted like I didn’t care. I was disappointed that my children were not among them. Oh well, my bad. I didn’t raise them well. My explanation.

Today my children sent me their belated birthday wishes and profuse apologies. I was going to tell them what I truly think. The other adult told me not to continue. I asked my children if they wanted me to tell the truth. Of course truth is better of the two. So I proceeded.

I want to be honest with my children. I am sure my children want me to open up with them. After all, what our relationship would be if I cannot even tell the truth to my children? They know it would be detrimental to my health if I bottle up emotions.

I want my children to remember this incident, not the forgotten birthday, but to always open up what they have in mind, to always tell the truth to your loved ones. In the long run, truth always win. Don’t dismiss it like “Oh well, I don’t care” unless they truly don’t care.

For me, I do care, especially when none of my relatives in China remember my birthday, even though I am always the first one to shout out “Happy birthday” to them.

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 25, 2017

Health advice to my children

Filed under: children,Health — admin @ 1:23 pm

Today I read about this in Chinese. I thought of sharing them with my children. So, here’s the English version on health.

1. On health, nurture works better than nature. You might inherit longevity gene from your parents, but you won’t be able to carry on this gene if you don’t take good care of your body. Nurture means a healthy lifestyle with diverse food intake and daily exercise.

2. Overnutrition is a form of malnutrition.

3. Getting mad or upset or low spirit or sad or depressed hurts your body as much as a disease does.

4. Getting drunk damages your liver like an attack of acute liver infection.

5. Family disharmony is detrimental to your health.

6. Loneliness hurts people more than poverty.

1, May 21, 2016

Try to learn more skills in one activity

Filed under: Career,children — admin @ 7:59 pm

I was asked to teach a group of children how to make origami. I want them to learn more than just origami making skill. I hope they can get the habit of trying to learn more skills from one activity or see the activity as a project that involves problem-solving skill.

Below are the questions that I have prepared for the children before class.

(1) Why do you want to learn origami?
My answer: have fun; gift ideas for classmate’s birthday; Xmas gift for teachers; donation; sell it among your friends so that you will have some money for your parents or friends’ birthday gifts and you don’t have to ask your parents for whatever you want to buy. I hope children will feel motivated if they have a big plan.

(2) What would you do if you forget some part of what we learn in class?
My answer: this requires your problem-solving ability. You can make friends with those who have learned it in class or who show special talent here, ask these friends for help. Remember nobody is good at everything. We are all good at something. You can help others with what you are specially good at. The key is we need to help each other. Asking help is the best compliment to your friends.

(3) It will involve a lot of work and time. What would you do if you need help to get more done and you don’t have enough time?
My answer: this again requires your problem-solving ability and other skills. You can teach your siblings, parents or friends, so that they can help you. You need to realize one person’s ability is very limited. It often takes a team to get something done. The best part of this is you can form a team with you being the boss.

(4) How do you get others’ help?
My answer: you can promise something, depending on what your parents like most. Such as, practice piano for one extra hour, do laundry on weekend, share with them your proceeds, etc. You will need to enhance your ability to convince people to work for you. The key here is to keep your promise.

Based on what we just talk, you can see that potentially you can learn both soft and hard skills, which are a lot more than origami making. How much you can learn from this activity depend totally on you.

1, Mar 31, 2016

If you think you are smart, that means one thing to others : contribute more

Filed under: children — admin @ 9:48 pm

I started teaching my son math in his early age so that he would excel over others at least in one field. Being outstanding in one field would give him a good feeling and boost his self-esteem.

When he indeed excelled in math and thought highly of himself in primary school, I told him this,
If you think you are smart and capable, that means one thing to others, that is, contribute one.

Other people won’t admire you and applaud your achievements as your mother does. The main thing that they care is how much they can give to them. If you cannot share a penny of your gain with others, your wealth means nothing to them. You may say sharing is all they care and all that means to them.

I am not sure if he could understand it at that time. As years go by, I hope my children still remember it and come to appreciate this.

1, Oct 31, 2015

Make friends and be Healthy children at school and at home

Filed under: children,Education — admin @ 11:16 am

I read this article today Healthy School Year and thought of sharing with parents here, even though some of us already knew this, even though my children have all left home. It is a good one and I wouldn’t let go any good one without sharing it here.

“Grades may matter less than parents think By Natasha Persaud Feeling socially connected as a child could be more important to future happiness than good grades, according to new research published in the Journal of Happiness Studies. The Australian study tracked more than 800 men and women for 32 years, from age 3 onward, to discover pathways to adult wellbeing. Their model of wellbeing involved values such as:
(1) believing life is meaningful,
(2) social involvement at work and at play,
(3) having coping skills,
(4) and kindness and trust.
Remarkably, economic security wasn’t included because previous research suggests it’s not that important to happiness.

Why Parents and BFFs (Best Friends) Matter During childhood, parents and teachers assessed whether participants were confident, well-liked by peers or excluded from activities. During adolescence, the now teenagers performed self-assessments that gauged personal strengths, friendship quality, parental support, participation in groups and overall life satisfaction. Having someone to talk to if they had a problem or felt upset was very important.

Why should social interactions early in life matter? The study authors posit that it promotes healthy ways of relating to oneself, others and the world. The research, while preliminary, might be eye-opening for parents. While grades are important, fostering a good relationship with your son or daughter is more so. Likewise, helping your child form positive friendships may help him or her enjoy a truly good life later on.”
End of the article.

1, Jul 1, 2015

If you feel guilty while doing something, you’d better stop doing it

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:35 pm

The other day my daughter didn’t go to bed until 3 am next morning. I asked her if she watched the movie that she rented, she said yes sheepishly. I once told her, “You stay late at night only if you have work to do. Do not burn midnigh oil just to have some fun time, especially during weekday.” She knew it. I asked her if she felt a bit guilty when she was watching at night. She said yes.

I told her it was a good thing that she still felt guilty. It would be awful if she doesn’t. Then I told her, “If you feel guilty doing something, you’d better stop doing it, because you know you should not do it.”

This sense of guilt is our inner voice of self-check when nobody is watching. The voice comes from our years of upbringing and socialization which tells us what is the right thing to do. It’s better listening to this voice.

1, Jun 7, 2014

Good skills, habits or qualities that parents can help their children to develop

Filed under: children,Parenting100 — admin @ 8:39 pm

In my last post, I have a Chinese version of these skills, habits or qualities that good parenting can help children to develop. I am going to attempt a translation today.

(1) Help children become a good listener. Many people lack of patience today. They either can’t wait to hear out what others have to day or make no effort to understand what other people say.

(2) Help them cultivate a love for reading. Be a diligent reader, that is, seize every moment to read. Be a fast reader and don’t stop at shallow read.

(3) Ability to communicate with anyone at all levels.

(4) Develop a strong written communication skill.

(5) Develop problem solving ability in daily life.

(6) Keep your promise. Mean what you say.

(7) Respect others. Accept responsibilities instead of blaming others when something happens.

(8) Go green. Don’t waste resources.

(9) Influence people around you. Create a positive environment.

(10) Keep an open mind to things that are new to you. Get along well with others.

1, Jun 6, 2014

The best things that parents can leave to their children

Filed under: children,Parenting100 — admin @ 10:10 pm

I read this one on 6/5/2014 and was eager to share it here. I will try to translate it later.

10 qualities for the children

1, May 27, 2014

Money, travel, and regret or no regret

Filed under: children,Life — admin @ 9:15 am

Early last Sunday morning, 5/25, a friend of ours and her whole family went on a three-week tour in some European countries. While they have been to Europe many times, our family has never been there once. I felt a bit sad that we were not able to go while both of my children were home with us. The trip really is expensive. Compared to some of the Chinese here, we are relatively less affluent, which is why we have not travelled outside the country as much as some of our friends. I told my son that I felt like a loser, in economical sense. I feel my children have been deprived of a lot of fun in their childhood because of this.

Shortly after I was laid off from Sprint, I had opportunities to go back IT job and maintain my IT salary if I were willing to travel to other places and take on short-term contract positions. But if I did, it would mean leaving the children behind. So I chose to give up these opportunities and stay with them till they are able to be on their own, believing I could always made money but the children needed me for only these few years. I am glad I have made this decision. Still, I feel like finding lame excuses for my financial failure in life.

No matter what happened, I have tried my best to provide a protective and well-guided life to both of my children. When looking back, the only big comfort to me is to see both of them have turned out well-bred and well-educated and are well on their way to a much better life than mine.

I regret not having traveled widely while my children were home with me, but no regret for my past decision.

1, May 21, 2014

The most peaceful and joyful moments that I once enjoyed

Filed under: children — admin @ 9:42 am

It is Wednesday morning, 5/21/2014. Right now I am sitting in my office, all by myself, with the monitor in the monitor room. Quiet and alone, seemingly peaceful and undisturbed by anything outside. Still, I think of my children, of the time I spent with them when they were little and when they are home. How peaceful and relaxing these moments were. How heavenly happy and joyful I was when I was with them.

Work is not stressful here and people at my new office are nice and friendly. Still, I’d rather spend my time at home with my children. I don’t want to analyze myself and find out why I don’t enjoy myself at work. This is how I feel now.

1, Mar 16, 2014

Spring Break for my daughter

Filed under: children — admin @ 7:20 pm

Yesterday, 3/15, Spring break began at my daughter’s school. My daughter left for New York City to spend a few days with her brother. The bus left around 5 PM. I told my daughter to text me when she arrived there. Around 9 PM, I started checking for her message every other minute. It was around 9:45 PM New York time when I finally heard from her.

She walked from Port Authority to her brother’s apartment. Good thing there were plenty of people at that time in that part of the city. She got there in 10 minutes. I can imagine the excitement there. I wasn’t able to fall asleep after that.

Well, it is quiet here today when I had to get up around 4:30 AM to send another adult in the house to the airport to catch a 7 AM flight to China. It was not 7 yet, still dark, when I got back from the airport.

1, Feb 17, 2014

When children appreciate what their parents have done for them…

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:35 am

Every time I prepare my lunch veggies, normally carol or celery, I think of the time when I prepare them for my children. They always say “Thanks, mom” and with a smile on their faces when I bring to them the prepared carrots or celery or fruits. Those are the moments that I miss most.

They always say thank-you to show their appreciation for what I do for them, even if I think I am just doing something every mother would do. It warms my heart when they do it and when they don’t take for granted the services that I willingly render at home.

1, Nov 25, 2013

Be a good parent when the children have gone to college

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:04 am

On the matter of children leaving home, most likely this is something that parents cannot change. But that does not mean parents can do nothing about it. Parents can either move closer to the children and change themselves to adapt to their children’s needs or try to be a more understanding parents to their adult children, so that they can form a good relationship with their children.

In fact, our relationship with the children has to evolve as the children grow up and the parents age. From what I can see the relationship with the children is very crucial to our happiness.

The comfort for the parents is they might sever the tie with their past, their childhood, their high school friends, etc. but their ties to their parents will survive everything.

1, Nov 17, 2013

Holiday is the homecoming season…

Filed under: children,Holiday — admin @ 8:34 pm

Yesterday, my son emailed me his itinerary for the incoming holiday. I was delighted to learn that he will be home from 12/19 to 12/29/2013, 10 days in all. Last year he came back for 6 days, 12/20-26/2012. My daughter will arrive two days before him.

This year more than any time in the past, I am eagerly looking forward to the joyful holiday season when both of my children will be home and when my house is once again filled with lively laughter. My heart already jumps with warmth and excitement at the thought. My sister’s son will come over, too.

Busy as I am right now as I am getting ready for next Friday’s exam, I still find time thinking and planning for their homecoming.
More later.

1, Sep 30, 2013

Create a home away from home when you are in college

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:31 am

I have encouraged both of my children to make friends, form connections, create a home away from home when they are in college. This way they will not feel homesick.

I must say they all did what I told them to, which is a good thing. I bet they miss their college-friend-home when they return to their first home or when they have to say goodbye to them.

It’s always like this — they move on in life, forming new connections or relationship or even homes and naturally their tie to their first home will not be as close as before. Meanwhile we, being left behind, still cling to the old connections with them. Shouldn’t we be happy for them?

1, Sep 27, 2013

Time spent with the children prepare them for their own journey

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:21 am

Once again, below is the note that I wrote while I was in China in 2008.

One evening, my sisters and I talked about life’s journey with the parents. We all start our life’s journey with our parents. As we grow bigger and strong, we gradually move away from them and continue the journey on our own.

Parents’ loving care is very crucial in preparing us to get on our own journey, independent of them. Because parents cannot be with us throughout our lives, unless we tragically terminate our journey ahead of them.

At that time I didn’t think it wise to continue companying children in their life’s journey as long as we live, even after they become adults. I thought a successful parenting meant bringing up independent individuals, that is, children eventually stands on their own without the crutch of the parents. Now, I think it would be nice if parents and children can be together, even after they become independent.

1, Sep 25, 2013

Spend as much time as you can with your children when they are with you

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:46 am

I heard some parents complain that children take up too much of their time, that they don’t have the time for themselves, that they demand their right for their own entertainment.

I would not condemn this as being selfish. I would only have this much to say to these parents —

When the children are off for college or out of your home, when your nest is empty, you will have all the time for yourself. Nobody will fight for your time. Happy!

For your own happiness and for that of your children, we parents should always keep in mind that children are with us for only 18 years. And these 18 years flash past very fast. Value the moment when the children are with you. Enrich both your life and your children’s by spending as much time with them as you possibly can.

I am glad I have done that. And because of this, my life has been tremendously enriched by them. This much I cherish dearly.

My sister once told me this, and I totally agree with her.
parents spending as much time as they can with their children

1, Sep 24, 2013

Off to college, the children are on the way to their own home

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:56 am

On the way to Boston when we sent my son in 2007, I had painfully realized that once the children left home, they would no longer view their parents’ house as their permanent home like before.

Any time they come back, it’s always a short visit. That long term stay, month after month, with their parents is gone forever. This is just a sad unavoidable reality. It hurts me to think about this. The thought came back when we sent my daughter away, even though I have tried to avoid the thought.

I figure the only way to stay upbeat and healthy is to forget the past and focus on the future. Otherwise, there is no end of misery. And physically and emotionally, the aging parents cannot afford such misery.

One upbeat event that I need to remind myself is: ever since my daughter left for college, my son often calls home, more frequently than before and my daughter Skypes with us at least once a week. A huge comfort to me. I should be content now.

1, Sep 19, 2013

Move closer to the children when the house becomes empty

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:05 am

On Monday, 9/16, a colleague of mine was talking about downsizing her house, selling her big house and moving into a smaller one. It would be easy to maintain, as she explained. I told her I was thinking of the same thing, that is, selling the house.

If both of my children choose east coastal cities, it makes no sense for us to stay here. If we live close by, it will make it easy for them to visit us, too. As it is now, the only time my son and his girlfriend come over is during Christmas holiday. I start looking forward to this day since the beginning of the year!

This is not just a thought. I do plan to move out of this area by the time my daughter graduates from college.

So much needs to be done before that.

1, Feb 26, 2013

When other people’s children died…

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:15 am

Photo of the year by Paul Hansen

It was a sad and gloomy day when I saw this picture, the crying adults carrying little bodies seemingly so tranquil. True I don’t know these people, still I feel the pain of the adults. I hate to think further because it hurts when I think of the fact that these innocent children died so young.

1, Feb 1, 2013

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell at home

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:23 am

During the MLK long weekend, a friend of mine called and we chatted for a while. After that, I kept thinking of what she said about her attitude toward her daughter. She told me they adopted this Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy at home in regard to her daughter. If the daughter doesn’t tell her something, she does not ask.

For example, her daughter, who can drive, once said she would go to library and didn’t come back until after 10 PM. My friend didn’t ask where her daughter went, even though she knew the library closed at 9 PM.

“If I don’t ask, everybody goes his own business and peace prevails. If I ask her, there must be unpleasant encounter and that makes everybody unhappy.”

I think it sad this way. I would not allow this with my children as I firmly believe keeping an open communication is the key to better understanding and a good relationship between parents and their children.

By the way, when I told my daughter this on 1/22 while we were at the doctor’s office, she said “Auntie…is wise in doing this.” She might be right, though it is quite a different view from mine!

1, Jan 24, 2013

The next generation might not surpass us in social status and prestige

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:31 am

Last weekend, a friend of mine called. Of course, we talked a lot about the next generation. I told her that the next generation would certainly do better than us since they have a much better opportunity than us.

“It might not be the case,” my friend claimed. “They might make more money or live more comfortably than us, but I doubt if they would enjoy a higher social prestige than us.” She is a medical doctor at KUMC.

In a way, I agree with her, especially when I look at our generation, my two sisters and I. I must say none of us has got even closer to the position that our father once held, let alone any prestige at all, even though we make a lot more money than our parents.

That left me a little bit sad when I think of it, as I believe my father would like to see us surpassing him. Then again, I certainly wish my children will enjoy much much higher social status than mine.

1, Nov 16, 2012

When my son calls home…

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:29 am

Before my son quit his job, he always called home on his way from work in the evening. Normally we could hear the background traffic noise. As he was busy at work and also back in his apartment, he used the time on the way back to call home.

Now he is working from home. He calls back when he takes a break from his work. I can hear from his voice that he is tired, having worked for a long stretch of time.

On 11/4/2012, Sunday afternoon, he called home during one of his work breaks. After the call, I told my daughter, “Your brother always remembers to call back whenever he has a second. I hope you will be like your brother when you are away for college.” She nodded her agreement.

1, Sep 10, 2012

My son went back to New York yesterday

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:50 am

By now, going to the airport has become a familiar experience for me. This month we went to the airport on 9/5 to get my son home, then again drove there on 9/9 to send him back to New York.

There are always a trip to get him back home and a trip to send him away. On the way back home with my son in the car, we are always excited, endless talking and laughing. I am trying to find changes in him. I am always amazed at his level of maturity and depth of thinking. We are always so happy to see him back.

On the way to the airport sending him back, we are often quiet. I feel like everyone is too sad to talk. I do not wish for the day when he will not go away any more. That’s too unrealistic. I only wish he can get back safely and he is doing well, no matter where he is.

1, Sep 2, 2012

My son’s coming visit

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:05 am

Yesterday I said I loved September, especially this one. My son will come back on 9/5, which is two days after his third anniversary with his girlfriend. He will need to go back on 9/9.

I have been looking forward to his visit since this spring. We talked about it in summer. I know he is always busy either at office or back to his apartment in New York. It has been this way since his high school days. I know it is a good thing and I wouldn’t want otherwise.

Hence, I am going to take some days off, stay home and enjoy his visit as much as I can. We will take walks down to the Overland Park Convention Center, and chat all the way like the old days.

1, Aug 22, 2012

Be flexible, open-minded and less dogmatic

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:35 am

When I heard one of my young relatives in Houston planned to buy an ipad for his girlfriend using his first paycheck, I immediately thought of his mother, my youngest sister. Next I shared with him my thought on this matter. Of course, my lecture started with trite stuffs like his success, kindness, and loyalty being the best gifts that a man could give to a woman. I am even tired of hearing myself saying this.

I told him of one of the deepest regrets in my life. That is I had not made my first trip home earlier. I came to the States in 1984 and my first visit home was in the summer of 1987. That was also the time when my father passed away. I bought him a color TV, a big deal at that time. He was in hospital all the time and didn’t even watch it once. The regret still hurts me after so many years.

Had I known he would leave us so soon, at age of 57, I would have come back home in a year or two, bought the TV earlier, and spent more time with him. I could say I was young and stupid and not understanding the fragility of life. But that won’t change a thing.

I shared this with my young relative, hoping he could take my message. That is, pay your filial duty while you can. He and his girlfriend are young and still have a long way to go.

My relative said he did not like being told of what he should or should not do. He would do it only when he wants to, not when somebody told him to. Of course, what I suggested was not something that he wanted to do at this moment. I feel like facing a rebellious teenager who would not do it simply because he doesn’t like to be told to. Honestly, I felt a bit hurt. But I am sure things will improve, given time.

I share this with my children. The take home message is this —  Adopt a more mature and open attitude. No matter who says it, do it as long as it makes sense. Listening and following other people’s advice do not belittle us at all. On the contrary, it reveals a broad mind, capable of accepting ideas and advices of others.

1, Jul 27, 2012

The Fountainhead essay contest and proud parents

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:03 am

When I heard the news that my daughter’s The Fountainhead essay contest had won finalist prize, I was very happy for her and proud of her. I thought it quite an achievement considering the large quantity of submission for this contest. We were told they received over 4000 essay entries this year.

Immediately I shared it with my circle of friends. This reminds me of my father. He used to keep my writings and took them out when friends came over. Oh boy, he was beaming with proud smile. I am sure he would be very proud of her if he were here.

I told a friend of mine “Now it’s my turn.”

1, Jul 21, 2012

My daughter came back yesterday…

Filed under: children — admin @ 1:29 am

The day before my daughter left Pittsburgh, she did not sleep, spending the whole night packing and chatting with friends.

Yesterday morning, I set my alarm at 4 AM, which is 5 AM eastern time. I called her, making sure she was up and getting ready for the trip. To my surprise, she was already on the bus to the airport. She told me she left school around 4 AM.

That was scary. I can’t imagine how she dragged two pieces of luggage plus a backpack and a portfolio bag to the bus station. Her flight was at 8 AM. She would be super early when she got off the bus, found United Airline, got her boarding passes, and reached the departure terminal/gate.

I told her to take a nap while waiting. Of course, that was all I could think of at the moment.

She made a transfer in Newark, NY. Originally, the flight should leave at 12 noon, but it delayed again and again until about 4 PM. I was worried about my daughter as I kept thinking of the previous sleepless night that she had.

Finally, she made it back at about 6 PM. She told me she had a wonderful time there, learning new things and making new friends, having a taste of college life, etc. That makes all the hardship worthwhile and tolerable.

1, Jul 7, 2012

Looking back, six years ago…

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:23 am

That was the summer of 2006, when my son was 17, the summer before his high school senior year, he went to Russia for a summer internship. He funded the trip with the money he made through his internet venture.

After he came back, he told me some people missed home and spent lots of money calling home from Russia. Before he left, I told him to send me an email everyday so that I knew he was OK and that he did.

He told me he spent as much time as he could in lab doing experiment and writing research paper. As the result, he submitted the paper to two national science competitions and both reached semi-finalist level. In fact, he was the only one out of that year’s interns who completed and submitted a research paper.

When I looked back, I can’t believe he was so mature. I am sure he also missed home and also wanted to spend some time playing around in Russia. It has been five years since he moved out of home for college and then for work. Now I miss that summer when I knew he would return home in a few weeks.

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