Monday, October 31, 2011

Inspiring the teenager

If u have a teenager in the house, once in a while u will silently wish they are a baby again. Sweet and cuddly and pleasing mommy and daddy is their ultimate motivation. And u will realize all those tantrums from the toddlers are nothing compared to the teenager's mood swing and arrays of complex unthinkable issues you need to face. And you will wish their rooms has no door so there is no door to be banged during tiffs and u know what's going on.

Raising a teenager is a new territory for me. I have one in the house. And another one on the way. And it hasn't been easy.

But I have learned a few things.
#1. It takes more than Mr O and me to raise them well. It takes a village to raise a child.
#2. Whether they are teenager or baby or toddler, the kids need to know the parent IS the BOSS. Not the other way round. It's easy to fall into this trap especially when we try our very best to fulfill their every need.

Luqman is a good boy. Smart and talented. Has a great potential BUT he needs to put more effort. I hear this often. Again and again. From his teachers, and people that work with him. But that's partly where the problem lies. It makes him very complacent. Coz he knows he has enough to get away with it most of the time. Which naturally drives the over analyzing mommy nuts. I used to go bananas thinking what will inspire him. How to inspire him. When will he be inspired. What does it take to push him out of the comfort zone....blablablabla.... now u know why I have more white hairs than Mr O....hahahaha

But I also know he is not an isolated case. It's probably one of the down side of growing up as a privileged city kids. I came across this article in The Star yesterday which articulates some of my worries. Luckily the dude found what ticks him. What if he doesn't?

Recently I have learned a new thing.
#3. Wait and be patient. Sometimes you need to let nature take it's own course. So breatheeeee ummi...;P

Last week he reluctantly agreed to sacrifice his Deepavali Holiday and go to the YAWA camping trip in Pulau Banding. Given choice, he would rather laze around at home and sleep ;)

YAWA (Yayasan Anak Warisan Alam) is an NGO who work closely with the youth to save the environment. The biggest fan for this kind of stuffs is Hajar. Emily just tag along. Luqman has no choice not to tag along. The kids have been to a few of YAWA's events. But last week's camping is meant for bigger kids, 15-17yo. But YAWA was very kind to invite Luqman too. Since it only cost me $50 for a 3days 2night adventure, I happily said yes on behalf of him...sorry, can't resist :)

We picked him up yesterday. The fact that he cannot stop talking about the trip tells me he had a blast. They stayed in a "tree house" (that's what he called the chalet) next to a waterfall. Hajar was green with envy listening to the big brother raving about the trip. Poor girl ;)
Wake up time was 6 am and waterfall water is freezing cold. Which means he definitely skipped the morning bath.
Some of the photos on the activities they did throughout the trip. Lots of trekking. Lots of education on biodiversity. Luqman loves the trekking part, hates the lectures part. Can't have everything right? :)
The highlight of the trip for bitten by a leech. So jakun kan??? He went on and on about it ;)
Tok Ayah getting himself updated with the grand son adventure during dinner. I was listening to Luqman struggling to talk in Malay to update the grandparents about the trip. This was the first time I heard him really enjoying the trip. Usually he will be so indifferent. "No comment". Okay"lah". "So So only lah". "I don't know". With a very blank poker face ;P
So I guess the $50 trip was really worth it. He gave me a bear hug for sending him to the trip :)

If u are interested, the next trip organized by YAWA is on 21st-23rd November. Check it out on their FB page.
I love sending the kids to YAWA trips. It toughen up the kids. Besides, the staffs are very helpful, committed and passionate. The kind of youth I want to connect my kids to. The cost is reasonable too. Honestly I don't know how all these trips are going to exactly inspire my kids. But I am taking my chances. Hopefully, 10,20 years down the road, we will be able to connect the dot. On how all these experiences make them a great person. Hopefully.

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