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FROM A PERFECT DAY TO A PERFECT PARENT

Have you ever asked yourself what a perfect day would be like? I have read about descriptions of such from the perspective of a man and a woman respectively, laced with such details that are best reserved for private consumption, which make it unfit for publication.

I had asked myself the question at various stages of my life, and naturally the answers were all different, substantially different, depending on my age and the state of my well-being, and very importantly, my state of mind.

When I was holding down a job, be it in my public or private avocation, a perfect day would be one when the objectives of the day were fully or more than accomplished, when at the end of the day, I would lie in my bed reminiscing about the parts I played well and savouring the happy moods I was in. Then morning came, when all was forgotten, and I was geared up for another day probably less perfect.

There were times when I would imagine myself sinking in a gentle pool of wine or better still, champagne listening to symphonic overtures of great composers played out in full volumes. There would be people around and in the pool with musicians too, but whose looks and likes did not feature very prominently in these dreams, which never last long enough though.

Talking of dreams, I don’t know about others, but mine seem to be recurring, good or bad; and sometimes, these dreams would continue even after I was awoken for a while, suggesting that I have never achieved awakening in my life, not yet.

Fast forward to reality, now I have stopped craving for a perfect day as such, and instead I believe that a day would be as perfect as how one spends it or how one behaves during the day. Thus, if one believes in happiness as an objective in life – that is making oneself and others happy – a perfect day means a happy day, which is not so much to ask for as long as one does not set the bar too high.

Yesterday, the Court of Appeal awarded three young men immediate custodial sentences for storming government headquarters compound three years ago. The trio had told the public through the media beforehand that they were expecting prison terms, such that it should come as no surprise, should have been business as usual or just another day when the verdict came. But lo and behold, they made a spectacle out of it; and they congregated along Queensway and around Admiralty where the High Court was. These sympathizers wore black as if they were attending funerals; some cried and others chanted slogans, denouncing the High Court’s decisions as political and mourning the death of democracy. It was probably a bad day for them, but as far as many across the road were concerned, it was a near perfect if not a perfect day for them. Indeed some cried out aloud that Justice had finally come, albeit a bit late and in too small measures.

This morning, I came across more postings on Facebook on the subject, mostly from the young people and their supporters and sympathizers. In short, they cried foul: it’s unjust to send young people to prison; what’s wrong with speaking out one’s mind if one believes in what one’s doing is right and just; how should we as parents teach our children in future – to stay mute in the wake of a heavy handed government; and so on.

Now, quite a few of these young people are my Facebook friends – some have called me affectionately Uncle John; I have worked with others; and they are always polite and courteous with me. I was tempted to respond on Facebook, but then decided to write out some of my thoughts for all to see.

First, the three Court of Appeal judges have written a 64-page judgement to explain why they have decided to send the trio to prison. There, they said clearly and unequivocally that their decisions are not influenced by politics or the age of the offenders, or the beliefs and convictions they hold. There was also no undue process involved, as some commentators seemed to have suggested. I would not go into the legal or judicial aspects. Those who can read or who are interested in facts can go to the judgement for a good read. Suffice it for me to point out that it was the violence they caused, the means and motives by which the violence was meted out and the undesirable influences and effects on others particularly on youths that might arise and had arisen that had fully justified custodial sentencing.

I would however speak on parenting, which appears to be a great concern of at least one of my young friends; and I hope she would read this.

Parenting can well be the single most important and rewarding experience of a person in his or her life. It is irreplaceable, cannot be delegated, cannot be monetized, and cannot be deferred or delayed when the situation presents itself. It is not a part time job; and it is for life.

No one can teach a parent how to be a good parent. Throughout the ages, parents learn on the job and very often from their parents and hopefully from theirs too. A parent naturally inherits from his or her parents the good and bad aspects and practices in parenting, but there are no absolutes for gauging what good or bad is – it is the intentions that count, and throughout the ages, parents would instinctively offer the best opportunities to their children. It follows that it is not for a parent to tell a child what is good or bad, or what is right or wrong, but rather to provide the conditions that would enable the child to discern and to learn to maintain his or her corporeal and mental faculties in their fullest energies thereby enabling him or her to make the best decisions to the Glory of God as well as to the benefit of humanity.

We must accept however that no one is perfect. It follows that there is no perfect parent. All of us are not born perfect, but we can all learn to become better men and women each day; and for some of the lucky ones, to become better parents. Most children learn through parents who are their best role models. This is the greatest responsibility of a parent; and a parent runs away from it at his or her peril. On this note, I wish all of you out there a perfect day.

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