Sabtu, 26 Oktober 2013

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Parenting

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Parenting

Grab these openings


Nestle is recruiting children with passion and interest for adventures in cooking, the arts and flying.

IF your child has a passion for adventure, a love for crayons and art, or simply adores food, we want to know! Nestlé NAN Grow 3 is looking for little ones to be part of the Nestlé NAN Grow 3 Super Kids recruitment drive.

For the first time, mums and dads with children aged between three and six years of age have the opportunity to submit their child's application online to stand a chance to secure one of six coveted prizes and win super experiences for your child.

Nestlé NAN Grow 3 Super Kids contest gives the lucky winners the opportunity to go out and experience first-hand what it's like to land one of the coolest experiences in the world. The contest has three openings for six adventures.

Current openings are for:


For those moms and dads with children who can't stay out of the kitchen, get their taste buds ready for an exciting cookout session with a Wondermama chef. Have fun shopping for ingredients and preparing a variety of yummy dishes.


For children with an artistic flair, they can unleash their creativity and join renowned artist Ernest Zacharevic while he shares tips and supports them on creating their own artistic masterpiece. 


Nestlé has also teamed up with Firefly Airlines to give your child a chance to experience a real-life pilot briefing session and aircraft tour.

If your child enjoys an adventure, has a passion for art or loves helping mom in the kitchen, log onto and click on the NAN Grow 3 Super Kids icon now to register your child for one of these openings. The contest closes on 31st October 2013.

Let the music play


This mum nurtures her children with music.

MY missionary-turned-sekolah kebangsaan alma mater had a huge music hall with plank flooring and an ancient piano sitting in a corner.

It was literally our musical world. When I was 10, I became part of the much-coveted, almost elitist choir group (even though some talented members were actually coerced into the club; their objections vetoed by the intimidating music teacher).

The reason membership was so special was because our music teacher Mrs Nirmala made the whole process so darn difficult – we had to audition, be sorted based on pitch range, and recite our pledge to attend the regular practice sessions.

Mrs Nirmala expected her students to turn up with a recorder during lessons and be able to play the musical instrument.

We even had proper exams. I remember sweating over scales and notes to sit for the term papers as those who failed had to face the music (pun intended). In fact, some dreaded the subject even more than the mostly-hated Maths (I speak for the majority).

Music is very much a part of Sanyuktha (right) and Pavan's playtime

Music is very much a part of Sanyuktha (right) and Pavan's playtime.

She taught us to sing Autumn Leaves, the folksy Jong Jong Inai, patriotic Malay songs which were then a staple for local TV channels, songs made popular by Disney cartoons such as Colours Of The Wind(Pocahontas), and even silly ones. I remember religiously singing along with others:

Sarasponda, sarasponda, sarasponda ret set set

Sarasponda, sarasponda, sarasponda ret set set

A doray-oh, A doray-boomday-oh

A doray-boomday ret set set

Ah say pah say oh

This particular ditty has been described as a children nonsense song, believed to be of Dutch origin and doesn't really mean anything (what!!).

I did move away from these genres when I reached adolescence (when boybands reigned, pop songs ruled and education hindered), but since they formed the foundation of my musical knowledge, I still find myself drawn to and seeking out similar gems. I loved these songs.

It's only natural that a mother passes on her passion, interests and whatever she knows and loves on to her children. It's like giving a piece of herself to them.

I still sing my favourite songs to lull my children Sanyuktha and Pavan to sleep, like Any Dream Will Do(Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat).

Some songs make me think of my children (like Can't Smile Without You, the Barry Manilow version which I used to listen to when I had to work on weekends and felt bad about it). I also like My Favourite Thingsfrom The Sound Of Music, as my five-year-old will sing along valiantly (she'll skim the words when it reaches the second verse, making it cuter still.)

When I listen to Miranda Lambert's The House That Built Me, instead of conjuring up an image of my own home, I want my children to remember the one that their father and I gave them – a place to remind them of themselves when they are all grown up.

So, it was spot-on when I came across this posting by blogger Joyce Slaton, who blogs under parenting website BabyCenter Community which I subscribe to:

"Surely falling in love with your child is worth a million soppy, gooey love songs. Even though each of these songs is not really about parent and child, when I hear them, I can't help thinking about my darling, darling girl, and how happy I am to be her mum".

She also put up five of her all-time favourite songs that reminded her of her daughter.

I agree with her.

I'm sure she's not the only one who has a list of songs that bring her daughter to mind. Many do, some subconsciously.

Then, I came across an article by this writer cum music enthusiast, who confesses of "training" his sons since young to listen to two albums before bed so that they can pick up the art of listening to music before they even develop preferences.

I'm sure he felt by doing this he is bonding with them as a father who is passing on his passion and knowledge to his offspring.

According to him, thanks to early exposure, both his sons can appreciate and enjoy music. Music may not be the only way to bond with your children, but it is definitely an avenue that many find close to their hearts. There's a cliche that goes: sharing is caring.

Steve Jobs' adoptive dad, Paul, apparently gave him his first taste of electronics by exposing him to cars. Paul was a humble mechanic (before he joined the US Coastal Guards) and was known in his circle for his talent in tinkering with machines and cars. We may remember the late Jobs as an iconic inventor (as he founded Apple), but it all started when little Steve tagged along with Daddy and watched him at work.

Well, the end product of parenting is not always in our control, but enriching the journey will definitely point to a wonderful destination.

The writer thinks the birds sing because they have a song. Reader response can be directed to

Final article from Charis Patrick


The writer concludes her fortnightly column in Star2 with an apt finale.

LIFE is the ultimate endurance sport and being a parent can be the most strenuous training, especially during their child's teen and tween years. All great races require incredible organisation and planning. They do not just organise themselves.

Best-selling author, the late Stephen Covey, in his well-known book The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People describes the second habit as, "Begin with the end in mind". This habit is based on imagination – the ability to envision what we cannot at present see with our eyes.

It is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There is first the mental creation, then a physical creation, just like before any building is completed there is always first, an artist's impression. The physical creation follows the mental process.

The truth is, if we don't make a conscious effort to visualise how we want our teens and tweens to turn out and know the most important things we want to impart in them, then we inevitably empower their peers and life situations to shape our child's life by default.

In this final piece for my column, I would like to share the five pillars I think would be important to consider in order for our teens and tweens to finish well in life:

1. Character-building

Abraham Lincoln said: "Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing."

Our character is much more than just what we try to display for others to see, it is who we are even when no one is watching.

Good character is doing the right thing because it is right to do what is right. This is a high call because if we desire our teens and tweens to have a good, solid character, it starts with us, being a good role model.

Many great leaders past and present have fallen because of poor moral character. Ultimately, it is our teens and tweens' character that will carry them through their success.

2. Emotional quotient (EQ)

Simply put, EQ is the ability to manage oneself and others. In this Internet age, nearly everything is just a click away. The huge challenge is to teach our young about the value of delayed gratification and exercising self-control.

EQ deals with both intrapersonal and interpersonal skills. For example, a teenager may have a creative idea within him but lack the self-confidence to express himself or not know how to communicate in a succinct manner. This will impede his ability to succeed and will minimise, instead of maximising, his potential.

3. Adversity quotient (AQ)

I remember working with a brilliant 14-year-old years ago in a counselling setting. I must admit it was rather stressful working with the boy because he often asked difficult scholastic questions of which I did not know the answers. In fact, I built rapport with him by picking up encyclopedic knowledge from him.

You might wonder why a brainy boy needed counselling help. He was scoring As for most part of his life and the day he fell short of an A, he became depressed and even suicidal. This is a classic presentation of someone who may have very high IQ but very low AQ.

AQ measures how fast and well one can spring back from failure, learn from it and move on. In fact, high AQ is one of the key determinants of a person's success, clearly evident in many stories of successful entrepreneurs.

The question is: "Do we allow our teens and tweens to fail? How do we respond when they fail?"

4. Financial aptitude

We often hear people complaining that the young today do not know what is hardship and therefore do not appreciate the value of money. To a great extent, it is true. Hence, it is important for our teens and tweens to be financially literate.

The school only teaches mathematics but does not focus on financial aptitude. The end result? They will end up like most of us who will work hard all our lives for money and never know how to let the money work for us.

Furthermore, gone are the days of "iron rice bowl" and "pension schemes". Job security is almost non-existent. If we teach our teens and tweens to study hard so that they can get a good and secure job, they may be in for a rude shock.

5. Live healthy

Health is wealth. Holistic health includes the physical, psycho-socio-emotional and even spiritual aspects.

Imagine our teens and tweens growing up to be very successful but are unable to enjoy their success because of ill health, it will be such a pity.

We need to model and teach our young to live a healthy lifestyle. Eat right, exercise or take up a sport and learn to manage stress.

Like a friend of mine once said: "If we do not take care of our health, one day we will become the greatest charitable organisation who will donate all our wealth to the health organisation – hospitals!"

As the saying goes, it is not how we start but more importantly, how we finish. May we all finish well and help our teens and tweens do likewise.

Charis Patrick signing off: ''Ive really enjoyed sharing my thoughts and speaking my mind through this column in Star2 on alternate weeks for over two years (from May 25, 2011). Treasure every moment with your teens and tweens before they fly solo.'


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