The pursue of happiness

A year ago, I meet an “enlightened” speaker at my children school’s Parent Workshop session. The topic was “compassionate parenting”. The moment I saw this man started to talk, I feel a positive energy flowing and somehow  what he said seems to be right to me. I usually can not believe in anyone at the first meeting (that’s why sometimes it is useless  to take a seminar or course coz what I’ve try to do is to proof the speaker wrong)

One of his teaching that I think is so true is that parenting is not about teaching your child how to live in this world, but it is teaching yourself (parent) how to live in this world. Children is a very very good copycat. What they do is actually what they see in you (parent). So it is just like a mirror to the parents. He also said that what (attitude/habit) you do not like from other people (especially those who are closed to you like spouse, children, friend, colleague) is actually what you do.

So if the parent realized this, then she/he has to change her/himself first, then they can expect their child to change too.

It took a lot of time for me to understand this, but now it is truly clear. I stopped yelling at my boy to stop his grumpy attitude or stop being pessimist, I start to look at myself. Do I grumpy and pessimist myself?  It turn out, that I had never analyze my own attitude before. I never realized how grumpy and pessimist I am, and I did it unconsciously. Oh my…

One other the thing that I remembered from what he said was ” Happiness is not from outside, it only accessible if we can look for it inside”. I know that money can not buy happiness, but it is also true that lots of money surely raise the possibility to be happy :p At that time, I thought I just have to be more thankful for what I had, so I can choose to be happy. But truly, I still had that gloomy feeling and not truly happy all the time.

Life is funny, I then stumble upon a book “The New Earth” by Erchart Tolle. As I read it, I begin to understand how to find happiness inside.  My great ” logic” that I was so proud of, turn out to be able to work by itself and create the need for identification. This need for identification is the cause of unhappiness and cut the way for happiness to go out from inside. This is the first time I understand Ego and luckily that book also tell me how to deal with it.

It is true that we can not fight “ego”. The more we fight, we actually feed it with fuel. We just need to realized that we have ego in our head, and the moment we realized, It cannot control your mind. It is also true when you deal with other people that were controlled by their ego. Fight them is actually fuel their ego, so it is wiser to accept and realize that they are not who they are. It just their ego in control.  Sound so crazy huh??

Well, I am still trying to fully understand that. Hopefully, I can defeated my own ego and find happiness and peace. I starting to know how there is no coincidence in this world. God has the master great plan in hand. I just need to accept it..

Lesson of life

One day, Renata asked me to wait for her friend’s mom to pick up at school. She said that her friend wanted to give her a gun toy that can be changed into a trendy bag (I’ve seen that toy in the toy store few weeks ago and it cost around 300.000 IDR). I really thought it was impossible for any parents to give away that kind expensive toy for free without any special occasion. But Rena was very sure that her friend will keep her promise, so I go along with her plan. After few days trying to wait, finally we met her mom and follow to her car. Her friend said that she will take it from the car. After she went into the car, the car started to go, and her friend just waving good bye.

I can see Rena is broken-hearted, she was confused with her friend and why she just left. On the other hand I was upset, I said to her “See, what did I tell you, she can not be trusted. Don’t trust her anymore”

The next day, I thought Rena will be upset and don’t want to play with her anymore. To my surprise, she did not. She forgive and act like nothing had happened before. Then she asked me, whether she can go play to her house. I immediately said “No, remember she is often not telling the truth. She probably was not ask her parents before”

Few month passed, I still remember that event, along with stories that she tell Rena like she had saw mermaid, ghost, other friends kissing each other. I began to dislike that little girl because of her lies. Guess what, Rena is still “best friend” with that girl. She did not like with her behavior and expressed it, but she did not hate or judge the person.

Ups.. I thought I am the one who supposed to teach my child about life and how to live in this life. Then, I am the one who is learning to be more wise from my child. Continue reading

The flaw of knowledge and meaning of life

As the world advancing toward better and faster technology, human kind is getting more and more knowledge and understanding. The smarter we are, the less effort we are given to do any task. Our knowledge made us to focus on what is matter and made the same effort to produce results that are not only better in quality but also in quantity.

In the era when transportation vehicles/tools had not been invented, the only way for human to move from one place to another is to walk or running. That means we have to use our own strength and it is limited to certain distance. Human with their superior brain can figure out to trade their limited energy with animal energy, then we can use the energy for something else that will bring more result.

As one solution was created by human, it create more problems in other area to be solved and think about. When horses became the ultimate transportation tool, human are not satisfy with one horse for one man, then they create carriage, and so on.

Now, we are in the era where transportation tools are so advanced that we human have to run on a spinning machine and allocated dedicated time for exercise to make sure our body stay healthy.

Technology brings up opportunities that was not possible to do before, but it also create other problems. The solution that was created is limited to answer specific problem, while it change the holistic routine before. By walking and running, world trade is not possible, but with transportation vehicle, we reduce our exercise, create pollution that damage the earth, and so on..

The more we know, the more we are demanded to make better choices. Today, we are given more and more information and knowledge that made us overwhelmed to even to think that we are actually had made a choice for what we did. When you do your autopilot routine, you are already made hundred of choices. During the sleep time, we had decided how much time spent to sleep, to use AC or not, pillow or not, etc. When we do not know, we are not making any choices, but when we know, we are made the choices and knew the consequences unconsciously.

If I bring this thought to my children education, I just realized what is more important for them. Today, human have so many knowledge and information, that we are so hard to teach them all to our children and the next generation afterward. Knowledge become so abundant and free as it is a click away with the right keyword and skill to find the right information. Even in sport, human keep breaking the limit, as though the human strength are developing endlessly. If you compare 1990’s athlete with 2000’s ones, the older capability will look ridiculous.

Athletes are develop as early age as possible that make them get the 10,000 hours experience younger and then develop more and more astonishing new records. Most success people are so specialized that they will need to give up from learning other “unrelated” knowledge or skill due the restricted number of time every human has.

The children nowadays have to learn a lot of knowledge that was not invented yet when I was not born. Some of the knowledge I learned are become obsolete and are replaced with other more advance and make sense. So is it important now to make sure our children to be excel in math, science or any other subject that is maybe relevant only in our time of stay on earth? What is it that we should teach them in their limited time of golden age?

The more I think about it, the more I understand that God has made the universe so perfectly that no human brain and capability can understand them all. We are never run out of knowledge to be invented by the following generation. The more we know, the more problems arise that we have to solve. With time as a limit, do they all matter?

People getting richer and richer, yet do they find happiness in their riches? Success and power that human have will be terminated at the end of their life. Why do we spend our precious time for something that we will loose for sure?

The pattern in life shows that we are back and forth from complexity to simplicity. When we learn about new technology, we are getting deeper in complexity until one point we reach the ultimate of it then we can make the perfect simple one from it.

The nature look so simple, yet it cover the whole complexity inside it.

As I getting older, I become more and more understand that success and failure are the same important for my life. Happiness and sadness are complete each other. They are all created perfectly by God, as we human only understand so little then tried to avoid the sadness and failures. Accepting all that happen in my life bring peace inside, make me move toward what life is calling me for.


This morning, I was furious about “the incident” involving my five years old daughter who was late 5 minutes from the “agreed” time, and his father. “We’ve agreed to be ready at 7.30 in the morning, or you don’t need to go to school ever. I asked for 7.30, not 7.31 or 7.35. Is that hard to do?” said father. On the other end, Rena said “Pa, I’m sorry. I want to go to school”.

At that time, I was thinking… for God sake, the child is only 5 min late. She said sorry, and she was preparing by herself. Plus, I believe we still have time to deliver her before her school begin. Just stop the argument and lets go.

His father is firmly holding his principle about “on time” habit which he and I believe to be important to be taught for our children. I admit this is just one incident among many “late incident” in the morning. So he is doing the “bad cop” role to make this habit stop.

While I was looking in the whole context. The children keep getting better in preparing themselves and getting faster too. But sometimes, they just slipped and passed the time limit. And yesterday was a tough day for Rena as she has a field trip, then extended activity after school and a Kumon session.

So, we as parent, are facing with this situation everyday, whether to hold on our discipline or just let it go (with a strong reason of course). I usually quite firm with the discipline part, but today I see the other perspective. I really don’t like to be yelled and I don’t care of what my husband intention is with that anger.

As I see in the child perspective, when the parent is angry, I don’t like it. I only focus on the anger then I angry too at his/her anger. Maybe this method can make her stop of being late or do what ever we want them to do. But the only reason is to avoid the anger or because my dad/mom said so. The child will not internalized the reason, the process and surely she/he will not do it in different situation.

Perhaps, it is better to find a better way to deliver the consequences rather than angry. Or perhaps, just do the consequence without any comment or talk. Then at different time, we can talk about it without any emotion involved.

Hmmm I know.. it’s hard to do!!! Let see if I can do it…


Seminar masa depan edukasi – 30 Oktober 2015- Balai Sarbini

Adam khoo, salah satu institusi pendidikan yang terkenal sebagai penyelenggara “I am gifted” camp dari Singapore, mengadakan seminar bertema “21 th century education conference”. Saya bersama kedua teman dengan bersemangat menghadiri konferensi yang dimulai sekitar jam setengah 10 ini bersama 1000 peserta lainnya.

Siang ini saya ingin berbagi mengenai beberapa yang hal yang menarik yang saya ingat  dari acara ini, semoga bisa bermanfaat untuk orang tua atau pendidik lainnya.

Prof Barbara Oakley, pengarang buku “Learning how to learn” menceritakan bahwa otak manusia pada satu saat, berada dalam satu dari dua keadaan, “fokus” dan “diffuse” (saya tidak menemukan kata yang pas dalam bahasa indonesia, bisa diartikan seperti idle, melamun, rilex, istirahat). Keduanya adalah saling menggantikan, jadi tidak mungkin kita bisa fokus sekaligus “diffuse”. Yang menarik adalah , ternyata pada saat kita  belajar atau menyelasaikan masalah, kedua jenis keadaan tersebut mempunyai peran masing-masing.

Pada saat otak kita sedang dalam keadaan fokus, otak akan mengaktifkan synapsis yang sudah terbentuk dalam otak untuk menyelesaikan suatu tugas atau permasalahan. Akan tetapi bila masalah atau tugas itu adalah seseuatu yang baru, maka ada kemungkinan pola synapsis yang sudah ada dalam otak kita tidak bisa mengerti atau menyelesaikannya.  Saat ini lah kondisi “diffuse” mengambil peran. Pada saat kita melamun, otak sebenarnya juga bekerja dan mengunjungi synapsis -synapsis lain secara acak. Kadang pada saat tersebut, kita menemukan pola synapsis yang mirip atau sama dengan masalah yang sebelumnya kita coba pecahkan, dan kita tersentak seperti memiliki ide baru.

Oleh sebab itu, kebanyakan ide inovatif biasanya timbul pada saat kita justru tidak sedang fokus memikirkan solusi atau pada saat kita sedang melamun, atau santai. Jadi sangat akurat nasihat yang mengatakan bahwa kita lebih baik mencari udara segar terlebih dahulu bila sedang “stuck” dalam memikirkan sesuatu, atau untuk memikirkannya pada saat tidur.

Berbekal pengetahuan ini, ternyata “analogy” atau “metafora” adalah alat penting dalam pengajaran. Karena cerita dalam analogi dapat merangsang synopsis yang pernah terbentuk di dalam otak kita, sehingga memudahkan kita untuk mengerti. Kini saya mengerti mengapa sering kali saya mendapat insight ketika mendengar cerita atau pengalaman orang lain. Continue reading

Parent essential (1)

I cant wait to share my insight about parenting that hit my head lately. I hope by writing it here, it will remind me to back on track when things get rough and I am getting back to the old way of parenting. Well, this is so simple to explain, but so hard to be exercise in daily life.

Some facts:
1. A child is a “small” human being that capable to absorb a lot of information, knowledge and capability since he/she was in womb. Most of time they learn by modelling other, copying from their environment (mostly his/her parents).

2. The best way to understand something is to “find it out” by oneself. When we construct our own understanding, (those “aha” moments), it will be stay in our head. When someone else tells us what to do or gives rules to follow, even when it was for our own good, we still consider it as obligation, and our brain is not learning anything except repeat things that bring reward, and avoid things that bring punishment. A learning is not happening.

3. Then, the only way to teach to other people is to inspire them. Gives model, do the talk, until the pupil is seeing the beauty in it and try to copy. When a child inspired by the parent, he/she will copy his/her behaviors.

4. Parents should not only “protecting” the children, but “facilitating the learning process”. Yes, that means that the child must have “failure” to learn from. The best thing parent can do is to show that his/her family is a “safe” home, source of “unconditional love”,  where he/she can run to when things get bad.

5. Every human is unique, and has his/her own “mission” in this world. Therefore, each of us has our own strengths and weaknesses, passion and interest, character and behavior,  talent that are different one to another.  It is a mistake to aim the same skill, character and success for all of human kind, as human body has its own shape and function, we have our own roles and responsibilities.

6. Nature and nurture are both have the same contribution in child success. The best way is to find what is the “nature” (passion, interest, strenght) then develop the “nurture” in that area (persistency, hard work, team work, etc).

7. The world is continuously changing, education is stay the same for tens of years. The delay between the process and result is more than 20 years. Things that is important in industrial era (content, uniformity) are considered important in education, while the world has moved to creation era (creativity, problem solving). It is irrelevant to teach children to skill and content that is valid in 10 or more years ago.

Cerita Perkembangan Fabian di usia 8 tahun 5 bulan

Wow, it has been several years since I write Fabian story. I guess becoming a full time mom makes me busy with never ending household activities. Well one thing for sure, I’ve never stop observing my children. Here is the story..

Today, Fabian is 27 kg in weight dan 130cm in height. Yes, he is a slim and tall boy now. He also has athletic body due to his “everyday” sport, especially futsal/soccer.  Currently, he had decided that his dream job is to be a soccer player. Hhhmmm it’s not one of promising career here in Indonesia, right??

He’s showing a quite good progress in his ability to control a ball with his feet, dribbling and shooting. Practice futsal is one of activities that he loves, that I don’t have to ask him to do it.  He is also a good runner (he achieved the 4th place in Jakarta Kid Dash competition in oct 2014). This skill surely supports his dream to be a striker/winger.

Fabian has completely lost his “baby and innocent look” and has develop a very mature logic and reasoning. This progress is certainly makes me hard to differentiate between his truth and lying.

Last year, around Sep 2014, I checked him to a neuro specialist dr Hardiono Pusponegoro (the owner of klinik anakku in Kelapa Gading). Not because I suspect him to have ADHD, but because his teacher consider Fabian as a too active boy, so he can not focus on one activities and tend to move his body part unconsciously. They thought maybe he is intolerant with sugar, that little sugar  might turn to be an excessive energy for him.

After queuing several months, we finally met dr Hardiono  and gladly he said that Fabian is not  having ADHD. He then arranged us to meet one of his colleague a psychologist dr Nuke to see how they can help me to make him more focus.  She met Fabian for several sessions while I stay outside. At the end,  she concluded that Fabian is a very smart boy who might feel bored and show it through his movement.

Fiuh.. what a relief.. I didn’t how happy I were to hear that news. Anyway, she mention that Fabian has a quite high IQ (140) but especially in verbal (not on “doing” or writing). No wonder, I have to think hard when I talk to him. He always has a good question and able to understand things quickly. dr Nuke also said that his excessive movement might be an effort to gain my attention. She encourage me to comment more on his “good” action rather than “bad” ones. Although it is hard to be done, but somefor how it seems to work.

Well that’s all I can tell for now.. got to go..

Take it too seriously?

Raise in industry era has made me the best “follower”student. Understand the rules, practises until I master it, compete with peer, trying to get the best grade in the class. This system has made me understand lots of things, but without enthusiasm to look further, to questioning and make a better one than the one was shown. I just lost the capability to innovate, to invent something new and better. One of the skill that is crucial in my work years later.

But the worst part is that I forgot to have fun in life. I was too serious in everything I do even in daily life. I set target for myself, sometimes even higher than others. I plan everything before I start. It make me save from failure. The worst dream for a perfect “industrial” student. I am bad at handling failure. I had not had enough experiences in failure. My junior time are full success in getting good mark. It did boost my confident to solve problems that I had previously, but not the unknown ones.

Luckily, I found the best job for me, that fit my capability and interest. I made me enjoy of doing it and felt as it was not a job. It become challanging as I began to lead other collegues, I realized that leadership is not only command and control and every person is different. I remember how frustruate I was to see someone who could not do such a simple task for me. At the same time, I gave birth to my first child. It was the most precious and the most frustruate time for me.

My son presence is one of the most unstructure event my life. He was not sleep at night, he cried all the time, everything about him is shocking me a lot. As he grown, things were even messier. No matter how well I plan and anticipate, I couldn’t get on time to my office. I remember my guilt for my son and my office at the same time. 24 hours a day is just not enough.
Continue reading

Reward and punishment

It’s the easiest way for parents or nannies to give “reward” children to do something good. Candies, toys, clothes, or other “sweet” promises will instantly move them to do anything we want them to do. On the other side, punishment will avoid them from doing something danger or bad for them. No ipad, no dessert, will teach them to remember that “bad” action will remove their fun stuff and hopefully avoid them to repeat it.

Like any other “instant” things, reward and punishment has a long term consequences. Daniel pink in his book “Drive” explain it clearly, only internal motivation that strong enough to push people to reach the best in them. Carrot and stick will only push a little  and its strength will fade away and demand a greater reward or punishment. The worst part is it will make our children only will do good if there’s a present await. My older boy has developed such attitude, heit asks “if I do this, then what will I get?”. Arrrgggghhh. I’m so upset when I hear it!

Ok, so, internal motivation, how is it possible to grow it in your child? Are they understand the “real” reward of good action? It’s possible for short term effect like if you run on wet floor, you’ll fall. How about brush teeth, eat veggie, talk politely or be honest? Will you let tooth ache teach them to regularly brush their teeth?

It’s one of theory that is really hard to apply in daily life as a parent. As soon as l was faced in actual situation,  I was immediately switch to the carrot and stick. But then I realized it, I start to adjust again. This will make it worse, I became inconsistent and confuse my children.

As I contemplate, I become more aware, that I don’t have to control everything. Just pick the essential one, the one that will give a big different for my children life. Then those chosen one has to be built layer by layer. It needs lots of time, consistent rules and lots of patience.

The ideal is to create good behaviour as something fun to do, as its result itself will be the source of motivation. However, many of good behaviour are not fun to do. It will need an extra effort to persuade them to do it. That’s why choose the only the one that really matter.

My experience with Fabian was on practice his hand writing and reading. It’s so hard to push a gross motoric child to sit down still and only move his hand. I used to ask him to do 10 pages of worksheet that I made myself. I thought if I made the worksheet align with his interest, it will be easy to ask him to fill it. I later found out that my nanny promising him a chocolate puding or travelling to mal if he finished his worksheet.

He was 5,5yo at that time. In a another semester, he will enter elementary school, that demand his reading and writing as a basic skill for his learning. I really believe that reading and writing is an important thing and I decide to fight for it.

I look for other approaches. My next trial is with kumon. I taught, maybe my worksheet is too hard or too easy or just not appropriate with his development. I saw how interesting an english kumon worksheet looks like, colurful and lots of pictures. Kumon also used a daily exercise, which made children consistently do the exercise everyday.

It was easy for the first few weeks, as kumon start with level below his ability. As soon as it reach his limit, he started to refuse to do any exercise. He said it was too hard for him, and he was really did not like it. He tried every way to stop it, angry, crying out aloud, screaming, asking for my worksheet he used to have, anything. He even tried to fool me by doing only the first and last page.

Everyday is a battle for me and him, it is too much for me to handle. I’ve questioning myself is it the right way? should I give up and stop as it became more and more nasty. Luckily, my husband was strong enough to consistently follow the rules. He keep remind me that reading and writing is a basic skill that is very important and worth to fight for.

Now Fabian does his kumon voluntarily, without reward or punishment. No more fight or angry, as he start to proud on how good he is in math and raeding. I guess it just need time for the actual reward to show up and keep the wheel rotate.

Every child is special

I am wondering, is there any parent who trully saw his or parent as a special kid? No matter how many times I tried to change my perspective, I’m still with the majority, who concern about our child weaknesses. No matter how good a child in one thing, it is so attempting not to focus on it, and see all the “bad” that need to be fixed.

So many times I heard parents were talking about their child weaknesses. Why my child can not read as fluent as the other same age children. Why my child is so shy. Why my child is so talkactive and persuasive.

Is it really working that way?

Is there any “perfect” person who is good in every thing?

Yet, parents always try to make a perfect child. We, parent, want to make sure that we have teach them everything for their future. We don’t want them to fail, tell them everything we learned and believe that they will benefit from our lessons.

The thing is, the more you try to teach them, the less they learn. Learning is a constructive thing. It can only be undestood f it is come from them inside. Sometimes mistake is the only way understand can grow.

Maybe it is too hurt for me to see my boy fall into the fail that I know how to avoid. Rather than be a coach, who stand beside him when he need, I become a guardian angel who try to help him before something bad happen. Sometimes, a general who command him to do as I order him and give a punishment for any misbehaviour.

In the other extreme, there are parents who think their child is so “special” that it is ok to spoil them. To give everything they want, the best one. They bragging on how good their children in one field and refuse to see the weaknesses. Their children feel that they are born as a special person not because what they can do, but who they are.

Maybe those two perspectives should be used together. Our child is so unique that we should think a special way for them to learn by themselves. Perhaps, it is better for them to figure out what their weaknesses are. So that they have the reason why they should to improve it and had the motivation to try and try.

Our job is to create environment that support that learning process.

Huff what a hard task to do!