Prepping children for the world we want them to live in

“I will support him in whatever he wants to do”

“He doesn’t have to get Number 1”

“Dunia akan kiamat jugak… modern education is not relevant”

As much as I’d like to convince myself as the parent that’ll say the things above – I cannot help steering his educational journey in a direction for the world I think I am preparing him to go to. They type of world or ways of living that need good grades or some sort of kecerdikan to get what they want. Often I hear of parents who choose to get off mainstream education for a bigger purpose. To me, it is fine because they have set their minds for their kids to live a certain life as an adult.

Kids are sent to Tahfiz because their parents want them to memorize the Quran and become Khalifah more religiously. To shun Dunia and accept akhirat fully.

Kids are enrolled in Sports school because the parent dreams of the child excelling as a sportsman, to compete and bring pride to the country.

Kids go to boarding schools because these institutions provide the opportunity for them to climb up the social ladder and give back to their families in the future by earning a good income and reputation.

Some parents withdraw their kids from all forms of literary education altogether be it mainstream, private, tahfiz or homeschooling. As they prefer the child trained to earn a living to fulfil their basic needs such as food, water and having a roof over their head.

Either way, it is the responsibility of the parent to prepare the child for the world they are aiming for. There is only so much as an outsider of the family can offer assistance, awareness or aid to encourage children to get an education.


Children and end-of-year concert

In Malaysia, the start of the new school year starts in March, in contrast to the usual January start. It has been like this since Covid and has yet to be changed back to how it was before. Therefore, end-of-year graduation ceremonies and concerts are organized around this month of the year – February. My daughter had hers a fortnight ago and my son, just last weekend.

I asked my daughter if she felt nervous performing in front of the crowd. I used words like scared and shy instead of nervous cause I don’t think she is able to understand that yet. She said she wasn’t. In fact, she was excited to perform on stage and show us (our little family) her dances, singing and hadith recitation. I find it interesting how they do not recognize the need to feel anxious about it at this age.

Come to think of it, the teachers have prepared her for this at least 2 to 3 months earlier. They did daily practice perfecting small steps. In a way, the kids would be more confident and make fewer mistakes in their performance. The teachers would constantly tell them that even if they messed up, they gave their best in their acts.

animals dancing to the lion song

I suppose this is something I could remind myself to do as well. Practice makes perfect. It is easy to be overwhelmed with new tasks or they could be a usual, routine task but resides out of my comfort zone. An example of this would be to give public talks. Ironically, despite my not loving the task, I am in charge of a health portfolio that requires me to give mass patient education on a regular basis. Diabetes, hypertension and asthma are my bread and butter. At the moment, I am revising my portfolio programmes to include the team and other supporting services. It seems that I’d have to slow down on my psychology studies to give way to these exciting activities.

The ‘out of comfort zone’ effect

When a parent gets pushed out of their comfort zone, often for self-improvement, the effect of that process usually ripples to their partner and children. Or other dependents like their own elderly parents and all. These effects are rarely addressed and acknowledged as the index person’s focus has always been on how much he/she has grown and achieved success.

No doubt, new challenges may harness grit and resilience in children. However, too much of being out of their comfort zone may induce anxiety and emotional instability, especially in cases where the support to guide them through the new experience is inadequate.

For the past few weeks, my workplace has been hyped with the ongoing and upcoming sports event in conjunction with the celebration of Family Day. Honestly, I am not a sports fan, but because of team spirit, I thought I could contribute to certain games. Participating in a sport requires me to adjust my life schedule and inadvertently, I need to reshuffle my kid’s pickup times from nursery and evening school as well. This disrupts their routine.

My concern with this disruption is that I may forget certain things. The worst scenario that comes to mind is that I would forget to pick up my son from evening school if practice ends late. Or forget that my daughter is still at nursery, those sort of things. Therefore, I made it clear that I was only able to commit to participating in 1 sport for the team. And that the kids will be placed at their grandmother’s house in the afternoon until I come. My kids have also been asking for the past week – ‘will mummy be late today?’ on a daily basis because they too wanted to prepare themselves mentally that I will be late for pickup at their grandmother’s place.

I feel that as an adult who is constantly being pushed out of my comfort zone, it is also my responsibility to cushion the rippling effects on my children. That means very minimal changes to their daily routine. This was also the reason why I felt that being in an LDR with my husband is a better option than having to follow him to a different state as my support system here is stronger and well organized. He will have the opportunity to advance in his career whilst the kids are stable with their education needs and social circle. After all, nowadays we can video call and it is possible for my husband to come back home on a weekly basis. It also gives me, the main parent with the kids, peace of mind if mishaps were to happen because I have a lot of people I can ask for help from here than in the state my husband is deployed to.

LDR pushes me out of my comfort zone too but personally, I find that I respond better to challenges that do not affect my kid’s well-being and routine as opposed to the ones that shift the equilibrium of my family time. In fact, I am growing too as a mother. I find that I have become very outspoken on matters that involved my kid’s well-being. This year alone, I have to be vocal with the headmasters of my son’s school over so-called academic decisions which I felt were ridiculous. The first was about the timetable.

The second matter was about the exam schedule of his religious school. I do not wish to elaborate on that part right now because I am still fuming. Gently. Like a pink dragon, harnessing the wrath of minci fury.

Organizations that tend to impose tasks that requires members to be out of their comfort zones must start discussing about . The level of difficulty, the resources to aid the process, and the compromise the person will have to make are compounding factors that will influence the outcome of that challenging tasks. We kid ourselves to think that family is important but how much of that value is incorporated into our work habits? I believe we spend more time at work than at home actually. This is why when it comes to being pushed out of our comfort zones, we refuse to see the effect it has on our children and expect them to just follow along and ‘fit in’. Without a proper plan of action and expectation of how their life will roll in the future.

Kids shouldn’t be ‘unstable’ for an undetermined amount of time. Adults must plan to cushion it out and share the expectations.