Son dropped water on my study table

It was partly my fault. I left a glass half full with water on my table the night before. Unfortunately, it was knocked over by my 9 year old son as he wanted to read his Doraemon comic at my table for light. What followed afterwards was an observation of how there were parts of parenting I could improve to nurture my son into a better person.

When the glass was knocked over, the first thing he did was put the glass back upright (fair enough) but just stood there and watched the water continue to flood the table, with my laptop and books still on it, then continued to watch water trickle down the table.

I had to intervene. I removed the essentials from the wet area and instructed him to get a cloth to wipe it all. He ran out of the room and made me wonder, where the heck is he going? Turned out he went to the kitchen to take the only rag he knew of in the house that could wipe water. That small rag you put at the sink to wipe down the table after every meal. I gave him a look and took a different cloth and wiped the mess. Grumbling at the same time and sent him to the living room.

After the experience, I reflected on the situation a bit. It was a simple scenario of mishap but why is it that my son couldn’t solve the problem? It could be due to ;

  • he has never been in such situation before
  • even if he has, perhaps the scenario was a bit different and he was unable to use the knowledge that he knows, tweak it a bit to suit the current situation. Something we call creative thinking? Or is it logical thinking?

He knew basically that if water spills, you take a cloth and wipe it clean. And the only cloth he knows that could do the job is the one by the kitchen sink. He was limited to that pathway of wiping the spill and that option of cloth/rag in the house. He had no idea that if you spill water on a table with important things, you need to remove those things away. He had no idea that he could just use the kain batik and shawl I have hanging on the chair to contain the area and wipe it off. Even if he still wanted to use the kitchen cloth, he could have picked a bigger on than the cinonet one to wipe the mess.

It got me to somehow think of other problems in life and how people solve them. Sometimes an issue needs only a simple solution and yet a few make it so complicated. In a way, I was drawn to something that happened at work recently.

Due to Covid19, a lot of daily work practices have to be adapted to a new norm. For example in ways of conducting a meeting or course in the form of webinars. To attend a webinar meeting for an hour or so at the workplace is fine as you would resume your tasks at work after. What I don’t understand is why a one-day webinar that requires the presence of only one participant needs to be held in the clinic premise as well. Why can’t we take it as attending a one day course ( it is after all a one day course – online form) and allow the participant to take the course at the comfort of their own home using their own residential data connection. Webinar meeting for 1 hour is less excruciating than an 8 hour webinar course. If the superior worries of the subordinates playing truant or not paying attention, the subordinate could actually do the same at the workplace. Infact, even during physical online course, the organizer cannot guarantee that participants are paying full attention to it.

It also got me thinking about the less fortunate members of the society and the words of our former Education Minister, Dr Maszlee. Him saying that some people are only capable to think and solve their issues at a certain level because that is the only way they know how. They were not taught to think better nor shown on the options they have in life. Very few are able to think creatively and critically but more often they can’t. It’s like some people, they just know that begging brings them money. They are unaware that they could apply for benefits from JKM to buffer their circumstances for the time being.

Anyway, after my son had his morning shower we sat down and went through the situation again. I asked him first on what he should do if the water spills? After he answered, I proceeded to add on other ideas to clean up the mess like moving important things away, using nearby resources etc.

Things like this taught me that what seems logical and easy to you may not appear the same to other people because we are not wired the same way. Parenting is never easy as we are not just raising and preparing another human being for the world but also learning about ourselves and figuring out how we could be better ourselves.

3R : Read, Reflect, Respond

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