Conversations with Georgia: Please God…

Georgia came back from spending a few days with Mama (Grandma) and Grandpa, and she said to us:

G: You know, we went to the garden centre and it was really nice, we saw guinea pigs and rabbits and even some fish.
Me: Mmm…What did you do there?
G: We had some lunch, I had some jacket potato with cheese.
Me: That sounds nice.
G: Yeah and you know we saw this really funny hanging thing that Mama wanted to buy!
Me: Oh is it?
G: And do you know what it said? (With a very serious expression, and very big eyes)
Me: No, what did it say?
G: It said, ‘God if you can’t make me thin, please make all my friends fat!’ Imagine! (she says with a shrug)

At which point, we both burst out laughing! 🙂

A Successful Life vs. A Successful Parent?

In the Sunday Times newspaper a week ago today,  (OK in all honesty, I probably read it in the middle of the week) at the end of the Money section was an interview with Hilary Devey who was taking over from James  Caan as the next Dragon on Dragon’s Den. (Dragon’s Den is a TV programme in which potential start-ups are given the opportunity to pitch their business/business ideas to already established (read Rich!) entrepreneurs)

Multi-millionaire Hilary Devey made her fortune with a pallet distribution business that she started in 1996. In typical rags to riches fashion, she had her fair share of extreme poverty moments, living above a fish and chip shop (cheaper rent) and even describes having a Christmas dinner out of a tin. The business/entrepreneurial and over-achiever side of me admires and is rather jealous of the tenacity, hard work and steely resolve Devey must have had in order to be so successful.

However, in the interview, there is a telling sign, her answer to the question ‘How much money do you have in your wallet?’ is ‘ My purse is often empty because it’s raided by my son….’ Read more »

The Best Way to Learn – Make Mistakes

A Confession: I am a TED junkie. I could spend all day watching TED videos, and I have been inspired, motivated and amazed by so many of them.

Diana Laufenberg’s talk in December last year however, spoke directly to me. I have seen first hand the amazing advantages of experiential learning, and the combination of that with Constructivism (in which the learner attempts to construct their own knowledge) lends itself to a much much more powerful form of learning than one can imagine.

To be able to teach (especially the way Ms Laufenberg has) I think we, as teachers/educators need to Read more »

Feb 25, 2011 - Culture, Food, Life, Parenting    3 Comments

My Many Faces of Parenting and a Parenting Compass

As Georgia progressively interacts with more and more with people outside of our home and our immediate circle of friends, I have become more aware of how many different ‘parenting faces’ I have and which I call upon depending on the situations.

It often feels as if we have an embedded inner compass of actions, reactions and culture that unfortunately, unlike a true magnetic compass that points due North; this inner compass often flip-flops between East or West (cultural influences) and all points in between.

Parenting Compass

I have often attributed a large part of this, to the fact that we are parenting and raising a child in a culture and environment so completely different from the one we were raised in (being immigrants).

Beyond cultural influences, however, it has also occurred to me that technology, the changes of societal demands and simply how things have changed over a generation is reason enough to continuously reflect on and question the decisions we now make, or have to make, as parents.

The oft-heard cry of ‘Back in my day…’ is universal; we have added recently though a ‘We do not do that…’ to our arsenal of reasons or excuses, often, rightly or wrongly (any thoughts would be welcome here!) with a cultural implication.

An example is saying ‘Yuck!’ to food. Read more »

Feb 23, 2011 - Culture, Parenting, Philosophy, Random    4 Comments

Maths Makes Sense: My humble opinion

Maths is easy

Georgia’s school recently held an Information Evening for the parents of KS1, mainly to introduce a new Maths scheme that the school had recently bought in to – Maths Makes Sense.

Designed and developed by Richard Duune, I first heard and saw Mr Duune and his new approach to Maths teaching in a Dispatches programme on Channel 4 in early 2010. (A related Math quiz) In ‘Kids Don’t Count’, featured in typical sensational broadcasting fashion, Mr Duune was brought in to ‘turn around’ Maths instruction at a couple of schools in the South East. The programme focussed mainly on the vast discrepancy in Maths ability among students and how being perceived as a boring subject, students were unable to answer some very basic Math questions.

The new Maths Makes Sense scheme is essentially a new style of presenting mathematics based on visual aids and models to both allow children to be able to better visualise the direct link between numbers and physical objects and a new style of teachings mathematics that rely significantly on the teacher to provide the information in an engaging, stimulating and fun way.

Read more »

Conversations with Georgia: The Year of the Hedgehog

With Chinese New Year just around the corner, we sat talking about how we could celebrate it in our own way, especially as it’s not a public holiday here. Somehow the conversation progressed from, who we would invite, what we would eat, when we would celebrate to…

Dad: It’s actually ‘our’ year. Year of the Rabbit

G: Why is it your year?

Dad: We were born in the Year of the Rabbit.

G: And me?

Dad: You were born in the Year of  the Dog…

G (at this point looking at little confused): …and after that it’s the Year of the Hedgehog!

Dad: … ????

Jan 16, 2011 - Life, Parenting, Philosophy, Random    2 Comments

Everybody needs A Star Book…

to Reinforce the Positive and Encourage Achievement. First let me explain how we came to create the Star Book.

Throughout almost all of last term, Georgia, moaned and whined and made a fuss of going to school. She would be clingy and there were even daily tears.  It was awful! For those of you whose children skip happily along to school, you’re really lucky… 🙂

It helped tremendously that I knew and trusted her teachers and their feedback was always taken positively, and it was great knowing that we were partners working together towards a common goal. However, it was still a challenge every morning.

Over the Christmas and New Year holiday, as a treat to myself, (I had been good :)) I read Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles. Now if you like me watched The Secret and liked it but never really got to the practise of  ‘the secret’, Canfield’s book provides and almost step-by-step guide (an all very logical too) to achieving anything you set your mind to. One of the chapters in the book, suggests that you list every day, 5 achievements for the day (even if you did not accomplish things that you set out to do that day, if you reflect on your day, you will often find achievements each day) and to focus on goals for the next day.

So we thought, what a great way for Georgia, and especially for us, to focus on what we can achieve and to celebrate the successes each day, and that was how we came to create the Star Book. Read more »

If Chinese Mothers are supposed to be superior….

then why don’t I feel like I’m the best mother in the World?

A recent article Why Chinese Mothers are Superior in the Wall Street Journal has caused a lot of controversy and raised a lot of emotion amongst it readers and it’s certainly worth a read. Being an immigrant (Malaysian Chinese) to a Western culture (we now live in the UK), this article has certainly struck a chord for many reasons….not least because I too am, to a certain extent, trying to instill my child with ‘Asian values’ while being surrounded by Western Culture (I wrote about this when Georgia was little more than 1 here);

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