14th May 2020
A Lesson from a Parent to another
We all take on many roles during different life stages, we can be the child, the spouse, the friend, the boss or the parent. Personally, I felt playing the role of a parent is the most critical in my current life stage and an outdoor rock climbing clinic 2 weeks ago in Dairy Farm made me realised how ashamed I am as a parent to my 3 kids.
Our group arrived at the climbing site earlier and a few of us were resting near the bottom of the quarry while one of our friends was attempting the climb. Soon an Australian father and his young son, who is about 4 years old arrived at the rock-climbing site. I observed that the father patiently placed his huge backpack on the ground, which he later opened up and took out all the rock climbing gears – mat, ropes, shoes, helmets, harness, carabiners and belay gears, placing them on the ground and asking his young son to start preparing for the climb.
The father started gearing up while asking his son to start wearing his socks and the small cute climbing shoes. We were enjoying the scene of how cute the little boy was with all the small climbing gear the father had prepared and I notice that all this while, the father spoke to him in a very patient manner.
The father started to do the top rope climb for the set-up while the son was struggling on the ground wearing his own socks and after a few tries, shouted for his daddy for help. I knew the boy was wearing the socks wrongly in his first attempt but didn’t want to jump in to help, as I believe a child needs to learn from mistakes and from what I observed, it seemed the father was the kind who wanted his son to be independent too. But after a few failed attempts of the boy trying to fit the socks into his foot, I went in to help and a big Thank You was shouted from the top????. The son was all ready with socks and climbing shoes worn but the father wasn’t ready yet, so the son started losing his patience and shouted for his daddy, asking how long is he going to wait?
And came back a reply from the father from the top “Patience is virtue, son!”. I am not sure if his son understands but from those at the ground, we were stunned at his response.
Once the father finished setting up for the climb and ensured he did the final check on his son, he carried his young son near to the rock to start climbing. It seemed that it was the first time the boy was trying outdoor rock climbing because he was crying out in fear throughout the few attempts which the father wanted him to climb up on his own while following closely below him. After 20 minutes of trying, the father knew the son wasn’t going to climb and didn’t want to end up traumatising him. What amazed me was that throughout the 20 mins ordeal, the father never once raised his voice or showed impatience to his son for crying or not trying. He was in fact, encouraging and assuring him that he was behind/below him and supporting him, telling him not to be afraid. The father took 45 mins to prepare the climb and not counting the travelling time but left after 20 mins of trying. Then it strikes me that his parenting style makes me ashamed of my own. I would have lost my patience with my child if after spending that amount of time travelling and preparing, not only did we not accomplished the mission set-out but going home with a crying toddler. ( I think many parents can relate to me.)
It made me reflect why can’t I show the same patience to my kids as shown by the father to his son. Why I am so quick to judge my kids for not trying or being weak. It strikes me that every child has their own capabilities, fears and courage and as parent we need to be that support they need. For the record, I do have a close relationship with my 3 kids but what I have learnt from this father is something I know I need to improve on when it comes to parenting.
“Patience is virtue” this is definitely something I need to remind myself whenever I feel I am getting impatient with my kids.
14th May 2020