19 October 2014 marked the end of the year’s Parent-Child Bonding Class organised by the Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore). A total of 146 students and 105 parents participated. Besides celebrating the success of the course over the year, there was also emphasis on the message that “the beauty of a group lies in the refinement of its individuals,” in the hope that the students will continue to display the good conduct which they have been taught throughout the year into their daily lives.
The activities started at 9am in the morning. Volunteers helped the female students braid their hair, making them look neat and tidy. The other students expressed their creativity using scissors by cutting out different pictures, making thank-you cards for their parents or volunteers, thanking them for their companionship as well as guidance. Each card also included a thought provoking “Jing-Si Aphorism”. It was a heart-warming scene to see the students focused on their handicraft work while the volunteers helped the girls with their hair, just as if they were mother and daughter.
At the conclusion of the year’s lessons, awards were given out to pupils of the afternoon session “Courage” class for outstanding behaviour, best improvement in class and best class participation. The students who received the awards were Yang Hong De, Chen Hui Lin and Chen Yan Rong.
The winner of the “Five Star” Award, Yang Hong De expressed that he is only an ordinary student in school. He was surprised at his win and is very encouraged to do even better in school.
Parents Feedback on Benefitting Greatly
Parent Zheng Mei Ling shared her thoughts of being in the Parent-Child Bonding Class for the past two years with her son Bai Jie, after watching the drama “On The Road of Growth as Parent and Child,” presented by students and parents of the class.
Zheng Mei Ling says that being a working mother, she has been busy with work and even though her son has achieved good grades in school, she firmly believes that he still must learn the principles of growing up to be a good person. While enrolling her son in next year’s Parent-Child Bonding Class, she has also taken on the responsibility of class volunteer, so that she can grow with her son and be a good role model for her family. During the Parent-Child Bonding Class, Zheng learned about environmental protection and started sorting out recyclables at home. Her family also participates in Tzu Chi’s monthly Recycling Day activities, working together to help save the earth and their lives have been all the richer for it. The annual “Filial Piety Day” activities held during Parent-Child Bonding Class is an event that has also greatly moved her.
Another parent Cai Bi Qing shared that before joining Tzu Chi, she would reprimand her children when they did not listen to her. As a parent, she used to only see her children’s shortcomings and neglected to notice her children’s strengths. Ever since she joined the Parent-Child Bonding Class, she realised that she was the core of the problem and from interactions with other parents, she realised that she was not the only one.
Cai said that through sharings and Tzu Chi’s humanistic teachings, she learned not to use tangible rewards to negotiate with her children. She gave an example of her son who used to ask her to take him out for fast food in return for performing a piano recital on stage. Now she knows to encourage her son, telling him that performing on stage is an exhibition of his capabilities, and a way to develop his courage as well as improving his piano playing skills. Thus the person who would benefit the most from the experience is himself. Over time, her son has learned the right values; now he is more accepting of performing on stage and has stopped asking for rewards in return.
Cai’s daughter has not been obtaining ideal grades in school. In the past, Cai would sign her up for tuition classes, but now she would have a discussion with her daughter instead, to find out the real reason as tuition is not the only solution. Master Cheng Yan also teaches parents to bless their children more and worry less, as this is the best gift to their children.
Graduation Blessings for Growing Up Happy
The elder brothers and sisters from the “Courage” class are finally graduating! Elder sister Zheng Hao Yue made a speech on behalf of the graduates. She expressed that she has grown a lot in the Parent-Child Bonding Class with her close friends, learning etiquette, sign language, and the edification of humanistic ways has groomed her and her classmates to become more polite and grateful children. These graduates who are soon to enter secondary schools and also the Tzu Chi Teenagers’ Class, hope that their juniors in the “Faith” and “Perseverance” classes will continue to enjoy learning and grow up happy!
Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore) started the Parent-Child Bonding Class in 2009, taking in students from Primary 1 to Primary 6. At least one parent has to accompany the child in class, to build a better relationship with their child. The regular monthly class includes teaching “Jing Si Aphorisms” and communication skills between parent and child. Through sharing touching stories, education volunteers allow parents and children to learn to love and care for each other, hoping that blissful families will be built through the combined efforts of teachers and parents.
As leader of the education mission of Tzu Chi Singapore, volunteer Chen Zhao Yun is very grateful for the cooperation of the parents and the growth of the students; he further hopes for happiness for each family. Also, he would like to see them becoming contributing members of society, and that more parents can join the ranks of Tzu Chi volunteers to spread Tzu Chi’s Great Love which is replete with the qualities of Truth, Beauty and Goodness!