Last year was Papa’s first staycation with our eldest, Yi. It was exactly the same period, immediately after PSLE. Read HERE for the full details of why we have this ritual and how we did it. I look forward to my turn with my girl in 2 years’ time!
Sharing by Mr Yeow.
‘ This time round, it’s our second son Bao. He was so excited that he ran home after his last paper, jumping with joy and texting me immediately upon reaching home to make his declaration. Went for a taco lunch and as promised, passed him his first mobile phone. He was also the last in his class to own a phone and thus began his social network journey of adding contacts, receiving millions of texts and getting onto social media.
This is Bao. Social animal. Full of emotions. INTENSE boy. If he’s happy, he’s overjoyed. If he’s sad, he weeps almost immediately. Thus while I’m planning for the post-PSLE staycation with him, I knew it had to be different from the eldest, and it had to be improvised on the spot to match Bao’s intensity and ‘live for the moment’ attitude.
First night conversation.
We had a late lunch which led to a late dinner at 8pm. First mistake- I chose a place that had outdoor seating and we chose outdoors which is NOISY. Second mistake- Bao was tired and super distracted as I ran through the same conversation topics about puberty. (https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/boys-puberty.html#catboy) But when we reached the topic of the Heart: Handling emotions, I paused and asked him to concentrate. Told him this is the most important part for him. And he did.
Even as a pre-teen, he goes through roller-coaster emotions. As a teen, it’s likely going to be a VERTICAL DROP amusement ride constantly for him. OK maybe it’s an exaggeration. But we spoke about it. And I encouraged him to speak to us about his emotions whenever he needs an ear and it’s nothing wrong to have up and down emotions. We are all learning.
We prepared for our urban hike and left the hotel at 8am. Similarly like last year, I did some homework and have invited a few brothers to share with him along the way.
We met Q at the small park behind ICA Building.
I invited Q as he was a drummer in church and I foresee both of them will see a lot of each other in Music Ministry soon. Q shared very honestly and openly about how he was a disappointment during his Secondary school days as he had mixed with a wrong group of friends who did not encourage him to do well in school. He lacked motivation and on hindsight, felt that he was a poor testimony and example then. He encouraged Bao with Proverbs 27:17 ‘As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.’ Amazingly, he encouraged Bao to surround himself with friends / good Christians who will sharpen him and help him to become a better person. Amazing because it was clearly a recurring theme for Bao. He also shared about having a spirit of excellence. To do his best in everything, not for himself but to glorify God.
Finally, we arrived at St Andrew’s Cathedral.
Rev Loy managed to get us inside and he gave a quick tour on the history and significance of the cathedral building. Even I did not know some of the hidden facts and its rich history! Rev Loy shared about challenges in studying, making friends, trying to fit in, and drawing a line to set boundaries for himself. Boundaries are not meant to restrict him, but to let him know the amount of space he can roam freely without getting into trouble. Most importantly, he challenged Bao to PUT GOD AS PRIORITY.
‘Where is God in my decision?’
We completed the last part of the hike and paused for lunch. Mama sent in a video made by the siblings at home to encourage Bao and thank him for being the energizer in the family.’
Our (Mum and siblings) Surprise WELCOME HOME and celebration of POST PSLE cum adventure begins!
I(mum) adore this comic by Tian, here she wittily illustrated on the usage of phone, and hopes Bao will grow to manage his phone use and not neglect time with her too.
Meanwhile, at home, I(mum) gathered feedback from Kor Kor Yi on what he can share with his experience as a Sec One teen now. The below was what he shared and we discussed how we as a family can proactively be more understanding and patient with Bao’s transition stage of growth.
Back to Papa’s sharing- ‘Then I presented him with a watch with PMLJY (papa mama loves JY) and a verse for him engraved at the back.
Philippians 2:3-4 ‘Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others.’
Then I shared on the planning of this entire hike.
- Friend and Senior, who will help you to grow in school and serve together with you in church.
- Spiritual leadership, who will be accountable for your spiritual growth.
- Most importantly, family, who will be there for you no matter what.
Finally back to hotel.
It was pool time and we rested for the rest of the evening. Gave him a few reflection questions where we will continue the conversation in future.
1. How will I choose my friends? What type of friends will I surround myself with? List down at least 3 criteria and explain why.
2. Proverbs 27:17. How can I also be a friend that sharpens others?
3. How do I put God as priority? How do I inculcate the habit of asking ‘where is God in my decisions?’
4. Philippians 2:3-4. In what ways have I NOT shown humility? How do I change from these ways?
One analogy I really like that Rev Loy shared is ‘How do you know if a bottle will leak?’
- It needs to be filled with water first!
- It needs to go through falls, shakes and drops to test it out.
Parenting is like developing a solid water bottle. We help to decide what material it is made of. Plastic / glass / BPA certified / microwave friendly etc. We decide how the bottle will look like and what’s important for a bottle. We then pass on responsibilities into the bottle. Too little, too much, can the bottle handle, we will decide along the way too. Then comes the day when we will fill the bottle and let the bottle withstand the drops, the falls, the shakes of life. It may leak once in a while and we can help to rectify. It may be scarred, but we can live with that too. But we all look forward to the day when the bottle will be able to stand firm on its own, and hold its own water, despite all the shakes and drops and falls.’
I am always heartened by my hubby’s sharing and appreciate him taking the time and effort to record in our blog. We hope that our children, as they look at this blog in future as adults and even parents to be, they will remember the sharing and fun memories spent in our earnest love for them. We also hope that you can have some ideas on how to spend your time with your post PSLE kid. : ) Each family is unique, as you plan the trip according to the dynamics of your family.
I am amused by Bao’s To-Do list. It may be a tall list, but I’d give it to him! : ) Let’s see how much he does complete by the end of the year? Swipe for the full list.
For more posts on PSLE thoughts
- Our Milestone Momentos from Tween to Teen
- Papa shares his staycation time with our 12yo son
- How to help our Post PSLE son transit to teenagehood?
- Counting up blessings to PSLE
For more parenting posts on
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- The Write Connection
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I have also written a book on Growing Hearts.
It encourages mothers to grow in their walk with God and grow the children’s hearts in the Lord. It includes postcards consisting of paintings and scriptures. Do click on the link for more details.