A Different Plane

Guess what I did today? I watched Star Wars: Episode Two for the <strong>third</strong> time.
I'm a fan of Star Wars, but I'm not crazy. I watched it the first time because I was given free tickets. I watched it the second time because Spiderman had sold out. I watched it the third time because Faith had agreed to watch it with two of her students from school.
Childhood in Singapore has changed quite a bit from the time I was a kid. It has become more structured and rigid, and the concept of free time is non-existent as far as children in Singapore are concerned. Golf classes, violin lessons, speech and drama courses…the list goes on. I took a look at my kid cousin's schedule and almost fainted. It was packed with enough rigour to make the CEO of an average-sized multinational company wince.
I remember being forced to take piano lessons as a child. I hid in the bathroom to avoid having to play arpeggios over and over. I hated the confrontation that would arise from my lack of practice. It didn't help that the tummyache excuse only works the first time. In my mind I screamed to be set free from having to endure the monotony of the arduous training. I wanted out.
I regret my actions to some extent. In retrospect, I half-wish that my parents were more persistent in their decision to have me musically trained. Who knows what I would have been able to play today?
But I know too many children who are burdened by schoolbags heavier than themselves. Though I regret not being able to play the piano today, I'm thankful that my parents were lenient enough to allow my love for music to grow naturally. Had they forced me then, I would probably have rebelled and hated music just to spite the shackles that were placed on me. Today, I play the classical guitar recreationally. I play it for myself, and I'm content.
Bringing up a child is like flying a plane. Pull hard so that you know what stunts the plane is capable of pulling off, but don't pull so hard as to break its wings. This can only be done through constant monitoring, and developing a deep understanding of the plane you fly, or the child you nurture for that matter.
I wish life were such that I could know my own child*. Not through parenting books or parent-teacher conferences. Not through what the nanny tells me. Just person to person. Human to human.
Nobody said flying a plane is easy. But it should be a load of fun in itself.
* I'm currently without child.
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