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February Free Chapter - Intentional Parenting by Dr Yvonne Sum

February Free Chapter - Intentional Parenting by Dr Yvonne Sum

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Published by RandomHouseAU

A fresh approach to parenting that will get results for you and your kids.

A fresh approach to parenting that will get results for you and your kids.

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Published by: RandomHouseAU on Feb 06, 2013
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09/17/2013

Copyright © Dr Yvonne Sum 2013. All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, ored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopyin recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Copyright © Dr Yvonne Sum 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

DR YVONNE SUM

Copyright © Dr Yvonne Sum 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

PART ONE
Why Intentional Parenting?

Copyright © Dr Yvonne Sum 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

ONE
Leading from the Heart

L

egend has it that a long time ago there lived many gods. Some of the gods decided that humankind deserved to be given a great treasure to help in their evolution. But many of the gods had reservations about this because they felt that humans did not deserve this treasure: ‘They are simply not good enough. They are forever fighting among themselves. They don’t deserve this magic. They don’t deserve this treasure. So we shall hide it from them.’ One god said, ‘We shall hide it at the top of the Great Mountain – they’ll never find it there.’ Another suggested, ‘We should put it under the rapids of the Great River – they will never find it there.’ After much debate, the smallest god piped up, ‘Excuse me, I think I have an idea. Let’s hide the Great Treasure in all human hearts. They will never find it in there.’

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Copyright © Dr Yvonne Sum 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

INTENTIONAL PARENTING

Parenting, like stepping up to become a manager, is a leadership privilege that you may have actively chosen or it may have been bestowed upon you by surprise. Parenting is your commitment to a learning partnership with your child or children, a partnership that not only grows your children but also develops you in the process. It is a general misconception that you as parents (like managers) have to have all the answers. You don’t. Some of the greatest resources waiting to be tapped lie in your children and you will find them by asking questions – questions to which you don’t have the answers. The advent of parenting can shake you to the core. My life was going along fine – and then I had children. When I became pregnant I was wracked with doubt. Who was I to bring up another human being when I was hardly sure of how to look after myself? I could have been a classic case study of antenatal depression. My life as I knew it was truly ended. I was so terrified about my prospective role that I developed pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) in the third trimester. A sense of overwhelming unconditional love is said to envelope the mother when a child is born. In the delirium of my labour – or simply hallucinating from my endorphins – as Jett ventured into the world, I imagined him talking to me: ‘You were in this playground first.’ he said. ‘Be my tour guide. I have a destiny you cannot change. Relax and enjoy the ride. Nothing you do – good or bad – will stop me getting there. It can challenge or support me though. Just love me, Mum!’

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Copyright © Dr Yvonne Sum 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

LEADING FROM THE HEART

And that’s what I did – and what I continue to do. I understand what this heartfelt message from within means. ‘If what I do diverts Jett from where he is destined, he will rebel in order to get back onto his track. If I inspire him as he is learning to become himself, then he has an easier road to his fate. My job is to observe Jett as best I can so I can inspire him on his way.’ And so began my learning partnership with my child. My blood pressure dropped to normal immediately. I also consciously came to the following realisations: 1. I don’t have to have all the answers. 2. I don’t have to do it exactly as my parents did. 3. I can make this a positive opportunity to grow. When Jett was born, I opened up my senses to observe him constantly. The fact that I found my own child to be the most gorgeous being made it easy for me to give him 100 per cent of my attention. It has been said that no book can give a complete guide on how to be a parent. I beg to differ. The book is the child: so read the book that is the child – and the rest comes easily. I realised I did not have to teach Jett everything. What a relief. Instead, Jett taught me more than I could ever imagine. He allowed me to see the beauty in our world in new curious eyes and to marvel at a lot of things I had taken for granted: a new leaf on a tree, a crawling caterpillar, the patterns raindrops make on the car window. I started to appreciate music from the

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Copyright © Dr Yvonne Sum 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

INTENTIONAL PARENTING

classical composers, which always soothed him into a trance (he has a natural gift for music and plays amazing violin and piano by ear now). By the age of two, his favourites included Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, Bach’s Air on the G String and Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals. He was about the same age when I started reading him to sleep with Shakespeare – he especially loved Romeo and Juliet. I realised Jett was demonstrating the wisdom and genius that we are all born with but which is gradually eroded by time and society.

Lesson #1: The joy of learning partnerships
My path to becoming a leader involved me learning some important lessons from my children first. I learned to be imperfectly perfect. I have a partner in my child as I learn about my parenting role. Go with the flow. Learn from one another. My daughter Xian, who is two years younger than Jett, has taught me plenty as well: the joy of her love of learning, which is always obvious from the broadest of beaming smiles; her ability to read and understand mathematical concepts at age two; her amazing ability to engage people of any age into connecting with her, and the joy of movement and dance. We are currently navigating Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novella The Little Prince, both for its excellent story and its exploration of the human condition.

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Copyright © Dr Yvonne Sum 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

LEADING FROM THE HEART

Xian also taught me about open and honest communications in an unusual way. In the last month of my pregnancy, she breached and my doctor recommended a caesarian. I took a moment to connect with Xian in utero and asked her to collaborate as best she could so that I could have a natural birth. Within the week, she had turned and I delivered her naturally with hardly twenty minutes of labour. Woo hoo! What a great team effort! One of the great things about not having all the answers is that it makes you more curious about finding them.

Lesson #2: Be curious and explore the world
The next lesson that my children taught me is to see the world from their point of view. In their world, there is no such thing as failure. There is an insatiable need to explore why the grass is green and the sky blue. Curiosity is a great way to be as a learner. How beautiful it is for parents to retain childlike spontaneity, creativity, exploration and the ability to live life with a sense of wonder! As learning partners navigating our world, our children can bring out this neoteny, or sense of curiosity, and wonder in the parent. The world gets curiouser and curiouser for us again. How magnificent to discover this amazing planet that we live in, again. It seemed a long time since I had enjoyed the rhythmical pitter-patter of raindrops, or watched patiently as

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Copyright © Dr Yvonne Sum 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

INTENTIONAL PARENTING

a caterpillar grazed the tender leaves on my favourite shrub, or I deliciously caressed the stippled waxy lemon rind as if fondling a well-loved pet.

Lesson #3: Being present
Jett and Xian taught me patience, to linger over short connected moments of bliss every day, to enjoy seeing the world from their perspective and to ask for help.

Lesson #4: Read the book that is your child
The most important lesson of all: you may learn more about yourself through learning about your children.

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