Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman's 7 philosophies to raise kids are simply phenomenal!

Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman's 7 philosophies to raise kids are simply phenomenal!

The beloved Minister has some amazing philosophies on life and raising kids that we all can adopt.

The Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Tharman Shamugaratnam, is a man difficult to ignore. Charismatic, intelligent and well respected internationally, DPM has won the hearts and minds of most Singaporeans. A private person, theAsianparent dug deep to find out more about this man and his philosophies on raising kids alongside wife Jane Yumiko Ittogi.

Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman's 7 philosophies to raise kids are simply phenomenal!

Being the son of one of the greatest histopathologists (the study of diseased tissue), in Singapore, Emeritus Professor K. Shanmugaratnam, must have been a daunting task. His father is commonly referred to as the “father of pathology in Singapore” and also a founding director of the Singapore Cancer Registry and founding member of the Singapore Medical Association.

In an interview published in the weekly, Tabla! in early 2016, he indicated that from a young age he knew that unlike his father, he did not want to go into medicine. He opens up that, “studying medicine would have required time and academic effort, and I didn’t have that at the age of 17 or 18. I was completely disinterested in my studies at that time.”

Instead DMP spent his teen years obsessed and into every sport, from Hockey to Sepak Takraw, that was played in the school! He shares, “I wanted to be a sportsman. I spent all of my teen years playing sports, and could not think of anything else I wanted to do.”

Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman's 7 philosophies to raise kids are simply phenomenal!

But that said, he was not without an aptitude for formal education

Alas, at the age of 17, he was diagnosed with Anaemia and had to reduce his involvement in sports. Having to be forced to spend less time on sports he diverted his time into reading. A former ACS boy, he did quite well in the A levels and went to London School of Economics and then to the University of Cambridge to study Economics. After Cambridge, he returned home to work for the MAS, where he took up a MAS scholarship to Harvard University to get a formal education in Public Administration. At Harvard, DPM Tharman also received a Lucius N. Littauer Fellow award for outstanding performance and potential.

In 2001 he was elected MP for Jurong, and the rest they say is history!

DPM as a husband to Jane Yumiko Ittogi and father to four children

DPM Tharman is married to Ms Jane Yumiko Ittogi, a lawyer of Chinese-Japanese heritage. They have a daughter, Maya and three sons, Aran, Arivan and Akilan. 

Jane Yumiko Ittogi

DPM Tharman, wife Jane Yumiko Ittogi, son Aran Shanmugaratnam and three their children. | Image screengrabbed from Tabla Newspaper

Based on his interview and by “stalking” his Facebook fan page, I have compiled his thoughts on parenting and education. The interpretation about the philosophies is my own.

1# Little moments add up

Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman's 7 philosophies to raise kids are simply phenomenal!

In a Q&A with families for life in 2012 he shares, “The little moments add up. I SMS them when I am on my way back home, in the hope I can give one of them a lift. Sometimes they get off the bus or MRT just so I can pick them up along the way”.  Family time to him means, “chatting with my kids, usually about their sports, listening to music together, or just talking about what they’ve done during the day”.  DPM also shares that he  likes listening to the latest electro-pop and whatever they listen to. The family also likes many of the African musicians too. 

2# Let them find their own way in life

Jane Yumiko Ittogi

DPM, wife Jane Yumiko Ittogi with their Family on a trip to India (Image from The Hindu)

As a busy father, it is very easy to tell the kids what to do and what not to do! Who would not want the best for his kids? But when we chalk down a path for the kids, we deprive them of a learning curve. It is better if they find what they like to do than what we want them to become! We should encourage them in whatever they are doing. As a parent, it is extremely easy to be critical of what our kids are doing. Many times, we stop them from pursuing their dreams because we think that a particular hobby is not worth pursuing.

In doing so, we deprive them of the important quality of seeing things until the end. It is important to finish the task at hand and to do it with all your heart. As a parent, you should encourage your kids to follow their passions than discourage them because you think it is not a good idea.

3#Teach them to be serious about what they are doing

It is extremely important to teach your kids to take the job at hand seriously. No job is small or big, and in the larger scheme of things, every job is important. It also warrants all the seriousness even if it seems menial.

If your kid is passionate about something, teach him to pour his heart in it. Only then would he enjoy it to the fullest!

4# Encourage them to question and think in original ways

DPM writes that we need to nurture the “ability to think for themselves and think in original ways. This can only come about if it is a habit from young – a habit of constantly questioning, reading up on their own, discussing alternatives.”

5# Learn to play and love to play

In late August 2012, DPM writes on his Facebook, “Good to play, and learn through play. Let our children have their childhood!” In October that same year, he echoes similar sentiments by writing, “We have to create real space for children to have a broad-based education, to interact outside the classroom, get to know each other across the races and social backgrounds, and to develop that zest for learning, for life, starting young.”

6# Trust your kids in what they want to do

DPM says, “Trust that they will find their own way in life. You have got to trust them.”

This is so true, often as parents when our child starts to walk, we hover around him lest he would fall. We continue to do that throughout his childhood and this leads them to follow your direction instead of following their hearts. One of the most important life skills is to take decisions and stand by them or change them in light of new evidence. In order to allow our kids to develop these life skills, we need to trust them to find their own way – at their own time and pace.

7# React in a way that respects what they are doing!

dpm tharman and wife Jane Yumiko Ittogi

Tharman shares, “The signals we send our children are extremely important. Respect the things they want to do and are enjoying. That is how we develop people who are imaginative, who do something different.”

Kids are receptive to body language. If you say something but your body language says something otherwise, then the kids would lose respect in what they are about to do. This is even worse than discouraging them from doing something they want to do!

Learn to react in such a way that the kid takes his task seriously. If you feel that more harm than good would come out of it, do let them know with a reason. To sum it up, respect their decisions to help them make good decisions themselves!

Mums! There is indeed a lot to learn from DPM Tharman Shamugaratnam! Do let us know if you agree with these 7 points in the comments section below.

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Any views or opinions expressed in this article are personal and belong solely to the author; and do not represent those of theAsianparent or its clients.

Written by

Anay Bhalerao

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