Papa shares his Staycation Time with our 12yo Son!

Here’s a post done by my hubs on how they spent their father and son trip together. Thank you hubby for writing this!

Just like thousands of parents out there in Singapore, our eldest son just completed his PSLE. So what’s next? What should he be doing post PSLE? Or rather, what should we do with him…?

I began checking in with some Christian brothers who had older sons and had gone through the PSLE phase.

If your son is 12 years old again, how would you have spent time differently with him after PSLE to prepare him for teenagehood? Are there any good experiences you can share?

I posed the same question to some youths (whom i feel have grown up to be fine young men) too but from their perspective.

If you are 12 years old again, how would you have spent time differently after PSLE to prep for teenagehood? Would you have wished that someone older could have given you some words of advice? Are there any good experiences you can share?

And within 2 days, I received a flood of wisdom. This helped to better prepare me for the days ahead with my tween. I summed up all these words of advice into 4 Cs.

  • Celebration
  • Communication
  • Confines (boundaries) and hopefully this leads to further
  • Confiding in you in future!

I began planning for some 1-1 time with Yi on the weekend right after his PSLE is over. Just nice it was the Children’s Day long weekend so we can have 3D2N together.

After some chill time at the pool and a local bookstore, we settled for a hotpot dinner where we can have a long chat over dinner. I started talking to him about 3H – Hormonal changes (with a wealth of info from kidshealth.org), Health and Hygiene, and began from the head….

  1. Head – your brain is developing and processing info at a phenomenal speed. And that explains why you are constantly tired, even after sleeping for 10 hours! Your brain is like a sponge absorbing everything you read, see, hear and smell and that is why you need wisdom to discern what to dump, what to store, and what to process for your development.
  2. Mouth – just like your brain that is absorbing information like a sponge, your appetite will GROW! You need more energy to get all your body parts growing and your brain to process all that knowledge. And of course, your voice will start to break….
  3. Body – hair will sprout from all sorts of places and that is natural. Your muscles will start to develop and this is where you need to take care of your Health. Develop healthy habits from young and you will have a strong solid foundation to enjoy a healthy life in future. You need to stay in good health so that you can take care of those around you when they need your help. Keep a sporty lifestyle. Build up your Strength, Speed and Stamina to stay fit. Because you are growing and keeping such an active lifestyle, you will tend to perspire a lot. And that is why taking care of your Hygiene is so important. Shower regularly, scrub properly, wash your face and this is where I promise to go shopping with him for stronger, more scented shampoo, shower foam and facial wash. Time to grow out of Johnson & Johnson!
  1. Heart – Emotions, emotions, emotions. As your brain processes information, your heart is processing your emotions. And similarly, you are experiencing lots and lots of emotions. It is so easy for you to swing from one extreme to another. You can be all quiet by yourself and all it takes is one innocent comment, and you can react with a loud voice and big movements. You are learning to manage this flood of multiple emotions coming at you all at once. It is natural. You are learning to manage, we are learning to accept you for who you are as well. At this juncture, i sidetracked to the topic of self-discovery where I told him to do an online self-assessment test in the afternoon. (https://www.16personalities.com/intj-personality) This topic can take up another staycation on its own. You are unique and you are forming your own identity at this juncture of your life.
  2. Of the birds and the bees – this is where I directed him to the kidshealth.org website and told him to read while i take a breather haha…. Before asking him about what he learnt in school with regards to sexuality education and bridging to the topic of sperm and wet dreams. This may be an uncomfortable topic to talk about with your boy and is also dependent on how much he already knows from his friends / media. We had a teachable moment the next day on the topic of pornography and i was able to seize the moment to continue this topic further.

And that’s enough for one night…. 

We woke up for a 7.30am breakfast before preparing for an urban hike. To prepare for this hike, some homework needed to be done. Initially I planned for a staycation at a hotel in the Marine Parade area which will be good for a round island cycling trip due to its proximity to ECP. However, the booking was cancelled later on as the hotel was set aside to house COVID SHN cases. So I booked a hotel in town instead and planned for an urban hike. After much deliberation, this was the route and rest points.

  1. Hotel to St Andrew’s Cathedral (2.2km)
  2. Mt Faber Park (6.2km)
  3. Harbourfront (1.1km)
  4. St Matthew’s Church (3.5km)

This was according to google maps. (more on this later)

So I proceeded to invite some Christian brothers who could share some insights with Yi at our rest points. The brothers we invited are Christians whom we feel will have an impact on Yi’s walk with God in the near future. So we invited 3 youth leaders from church who shared on:

1. Challenges/ struggles you faced as a teenager

2. If you can start over again to when you just finished PSLE, what would you have done differently?

3. What are some spiritual principles that guided your life? 

4. Importance of spirituality (Relationship with God) and having spiritual counsel (church, cell and fellowship)

The 3 of them gave Yi very good insights to begin his Christian walk. They touched on topics such as peer pressure, making difficult choices, importance of family, and most importantly, owning his faith. At the end of each sharing, the brothers prayed for him.

After 4 hours, we ended at St Matthew’s church where Reverend Koh shared with him on 4-3-2-1.

4 RELATIONSHIPS

  1. Relationship with God

He needs to own his faith. It is no longer parents’ responsibility, it’s your own choice.

  1. Relationship with people

How to enjoy relationships with people. Learn how to pick up skills on how to interact with people.

  1. Relationship with things

Slowly to be financially independent. Don’t be controlled by things. Don’t let relationship with things affect relationships with people and God.

  1. Relationship with our self

Balanced management of yourself. Don’t undermine nor over-value yourself. Believe in yourself!

3 ASPECTS of SELF

  1. Body – take care of self (health, hygiene)
  2. Mind – build mental and emotional capacity, knowledge. 谁讲的是对的 learn to analyse and come to your own conclusion. Be an independent thinker
  1. Soul – 对上帝的敬畏. Nourish your soul!

2 KEY factors for CHANGE

今天的你和五年后的你有什么不同?(5years from now, how would you mature/change compared to now?)

  1. Who did you meet?

我们遇到的人,会影响我们. 你遇到的人很重要. (Who we meet is important as they are the ones who will influence you.)

  1. What books did you read?

Books help you accumulate wisdom. Enjoy people! Enjoy books!

1 PERSON to FEAR

= God

做个天不怕,地不怕的人…只怕上帝!

Rely on God!

At this stage, both of us are really tired from the walking but Rev Koh was able to capture his attention with this very succinct summary of the entire morning. He prayed for Yi and I left the church with a heart full of gratitude to these Christian brothers who took time off to do this for Yi and to God.

Google maps actually under-calculated the distance and we had to cancel going up Mt Faber and took an alternative route from SAC to Harbourfront directly. But we can always do Mt Faber on another day! 

After a nice lunch at Tiong Bahru Market, we took a Grab back to hotel. On the journey back, I showed Yi a surprise video. It was a video done by his mama, brother and sister to congratulate him and to share their appreciation to an elder brother like him. They also prepared a hamper surprise to welcome him home.

Upon reaching the hotel room, I presented to him a watch to congratulate him for completing this milestone. At the back of the watch, me and Angie decided to engrave Phil4:13 [I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength], as well as PMLAY [Papa Mama Loves A Y] to remind him of God and his parents’ love for him.

We chilled by the pool for the rest of the day. After dinner, I told him to pen down his reflections and write down 5 things he learnt, 3 things he can apply, 1 thing he will commit to do.

Then I explained to him the rationale of the hike.

The church will always be an important part of his life, and there will be good spiritual support from people who have walked before him. He will need to surround himself with sound spiritual counsel and learn to submit to spiritual authority. At the end of the day, no matter what happens, his family will always support and love him, and so does God. 

PS: Along the hike, we also talked about topics such as 

  • Money (how much pocket money to have)
  • Peer pressure (he can be a positive peer influence on his friends)

As I think it’s info overload for him by the time we reached the final morning, I did not overload him any more. These are some topics that I wanted to discuss with him, maybe at a later time.

  • Issue of friends
  • Issue of time management
  • Issue of boundaries (physical, social) [we talked about mobile phone boundaries before this staycation]  

I have heard analogies of parenting likened to be flying a kite. You tug and release until one day you learn to let go. Another friend of mine likened it to be drawing an arrow. You pull and point the arrow in the right direction. The day you let go, they will still be distracted by the wind and other obstacles, but hopefully, the arrow will still reach its final target or somewhere close. 

During this staycation, I have learnt that parenting a teen is like flying a growing kite, with multiple strings attached to it. I am learning to cut each string when the time comes. Sometimes i may cut more than one string. Sometimes I may wait a long while before I even cut one string. But the day will come when despite me still holding onto some strings, I have to decide and let go. Let him fly, let him fall, and let him soar.

For more posts on learning and growing:

  1. How to help our 12yo transit to teen hood
  2. Counting Up Blessings to PSLE
  3. Process of education starts from the heart of our home
  4. For what is worth in our academic pursuits?
  5. New Routine: Interest based 1 to 1 and chinese reading habits
  6. Teach the art of learning to learn?
  7. How do I maintain creativity in kids?
  8. Moving Minds, Heartening Hearts
  9. A loss nothing compared to gains in Sept Hols
  10. The heArt of growth mindset
  11. The heArt of growth mindset: I can learn anything!
  12. Smile it’s Exams! Great time to grow and glow!
  13. Raising motivated kids
  14. Small spaces for 3 growing hearts
  15. Younger Peek-a-day! Routine

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