A dad of three gives parenting advice based on his experiences in the Army. This is something parents can use in their daily family life.
When people ask me where I live, I always tell them that I stay in a market. It literally feels like I am in one especially when the eight living beings in my household start to want their voices to be heard. There are days when I am physically and mentally drained and there are days when I am on top of the world.
I count on the five lessons learnt during my Army days that have served me very well as a parent so far. Parents, while I learned these lessons in my greens, please be assured that it does not matter whether you ever served a day in the uniform. I hope my parenting advice could serve as an inspiration to better ourselves for the sake of our children and loved ones and provide some pointers to ride out some of our toughest parenting days.
Parenting Advice From The Army
1. “It could be worse”
We were lost and stranded in the thick jungle of an overseas training area. The situation was made worse when we could not establish communication with our commanders. When we finally made our way back to the base camp two days past our objective, our spirits were down and we were fatigued, starved and anguished at our poor performance.
While hastily preparing for our remedial mission, the commander told us that there were two more teams stranded in the jungle. My heart sank and I prayed for our comrades’ safe arrival; they did so, only it was four days later.
During my Army days, I would have gone through numerous trainings and exercises that are required of a Commando. The above example is one of the instances where I missed the mark and had to go through extra training sessions. My motivation to be part of the Commando family spurred me on and I would go on to meet all the requirements in spite of the highs and lows during the 10-month training.
Unlike running a marathon where there is a finishing line, parenting is an endless race. We face challenges in our daily lives. Some of these challenges include: How to effectively discipline a misbehaving child, how to develop our children to their fullest potential and how to juggle our commitments such that we will have more time for our family etc.
We win some and fail some. There will be days when we are overwhelmed, feeling guilty at not being able to provide more for our children or not reacting in the best interest for them. It is normal to experience both positive and negative emotions. The key is we must pick ourselves up, get over the negative ones quickly and keep moving forward for our children.
To avoid a long stay in the negative territory, we should remind ourselves that any difficult situation we are facing now could actually be worse. We are not alone and there are families which encounter greater difficulties and yet manage to overcome them. We must stay positive and continue to fight on for the sake of our loved ones.
2. “Taking small actions daily to improve ourselves”
One of the requirements is to clock 9min 14 secs for the 2.4km run as part of a Commando’s Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT). When I started out as a trainee, I was about one-and-a-half minute behind the golden mark, a gap that most trainers would think that was difficult to bridge.
I did not give up just because others did not think I could make it. Beside regular trainings, I spent numerous precious weekends on intensive interval trainings. At my first IPPT, I managed to clock 9 mins for the run, a feat that I never thought attainable when I first started out. With a never-give-up attitude and a desire to improve mentality, I managed to clear all the high stake tests such as weapons assembly, 5km standard obstacle course run, parachute jump drills etc.
As parents, there are many areas that we can work on and improve further. For those of you who lose your cool faster than you could say “It is all right”, you may want to consider practising anger management techniques that are suggested here those who wish to be more organised in order to spend more time with the family could consider the tips here and those who like to know the key values that you should start teaching your children, I hope this page would set you thinking.
I would suggest doing a reflection on our strengths and weaknesses, devise a plan and start with small daily actions to improve ourselves. I would not advise to aim for perfection; instead incremental little effort that will make us better and engaged parents with each passing day.
We are all capable of bettering ourselves. It is a matter of finding the drive to do so. My motivation is thinking what my children would write for their essay topic “My papa”. When they are all grown up, it will be their eulogy for me when I leave the world. I believe you could find your motivation in something.
Three more parenting lessons on the next page…