Growing up, I have always been inspired by my parents. I’ve seen the way they choose to live their lives – with simplicity but also intentionality. I’ve also witnessed how effective they are in their chosen areas of work as well as in managing and meeting our family’s needs.
As a teenager, I’m starting to appreciate some of the life values and lessons that they’ve taught me. Here are the top 4 life lessons I’ve learnt from them.
1. Always have an action plan
My dad would tell my sister and me stories of his teenage and young adult years, and how those experiences changed his actions and thinking. He became very straightforward with his words, and knew what he had to do to get him to his end goal.
One story he shared was about an experience in his secondary school days. At that time, tuition didn’t come by easily, and he came home with a bad grade, causing his dad, my grandfather, great disappointment.
After that incident, he went to school early in the morning every day just to do math exercises on the chalkboard in his classroom.
This lesson is now especially important for me as I transit from rigid timetables in secondary school to the independence of polytechnic life. It has helped me to be clear in my priorities, and to set my own goals and work towards them.
2. Time is precious
My mother always makes sure that her time is optimised and made full use of, and she teaches my sister and I to do the same.
Now that she has a rather flexible schedule and has to manage not just her own time but the family’s as well, I see how focused and disciplined she is in carrying out her responsibilities. This is something I look up to her for.
As I’m also learning to balance my studies as well as my other commitments, this is one life skill that I hope to constantly do better in – to be a better steward of my time.
I see how focused and disciplined she is in carrying out her responsibilities. This is something I look up to her for.
3. My feelings should not determine what I do
When things get rough in school and during Co-Curricular Activities (CCA), I sometimes feel emotional and frustrated.
When I was Secondary 3, I was juggling a number of commitments in and out of school. I had been shortlisted to play in the National Netball League with the Under 15 South Zone netball team.
As my practices ended late in the evening, my dad would pick me up and drive me home. I remember those times I felt frustrated and disappointed with myself. I would cry in the car and ramble to him about all the struggles I was facing, but he would just listen intently to what I had to say, and give words of encouragement, sometimes sharing with me about similar situations he faced when he was still in school.
Hearing his experiences helped give me a better perspective. During those tough times, my dad’s presence and support really helped me to press on and not give up.
He would listen intently to what I had to say, and give words of encouragement, sometimes sharing with me about similar situations he faced when he was still in school.
4. Be responsible with what you have
My dad is the practical one in our family. Whenever we misplace our things, he’s the first one to remind us to always look out for our belongings.
This final lesson is so important because I had taken up leadership positions both in and outside of school. I remember vividly an episode during a camp I attended this June holidays. A large group of us was playing games in an open field when it started to rain. We had to quickly grab our bags and head to a sheltered location. I was leading a group of about 40 tertiary students when I came to the horrible realisation that I had forgotten my shoe-bag.
As a result, I had to leave my group to a few other group leaders to reclaim my shoe-bag. I did find it, but I also received a warning from my group head. The experience taught me to look out for my own belongings. It also reminded me that I have to be responsible for myself before I can get others to do the same.
I’m thankful for these key life lessons that I have learnt from my parents. Having them as life examples and learning from their personal experiences has helped me to persevere through the difficult times, and have a better perspective on life.
Nicole is currently studying Mass Communication in Ngee Ann Polytechnic. She is a John Maxwell Certified Speaker whose favorite past time is going out to eat with her family.
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