Category Archives: Reflections

The Importance of Family- One Man’s Vision for His Country

LKY
If modern Singapore, with her economic successes and social stability, was an award-winning gourmet dessert, then Mr. Lee Kuan Yew would be the finest artisan who always remembered his most important ingredient: family values.

Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, will be unquestionably remembered for his instrumental contributions to national development. He was an astute pioneer whose uncanny foresight led Singapore, time and again, to new social and economic heights; a nimble political leader who forged strong local and international relationships.

A Social Advocate
In the social institutions of family, marriage, and parenthood, Mr. Lee was no less a visionary. He consistently affirmed the importance of healthy social and family values, “of family structure, of social framework, of filial ties and bonds, which hold family units together”. He was a strong advocate of the three-generation family structure that has been “a great strength for continuity in bringing up of next generation” and has “transmitted social values, more by osmosis than by formal instruction”. “We must preserve this precious family structure if our society is to regenerate itself without loss of cultural vigour, compassion and wisdom1, concluded Mr. Lee.

Early in our nation’s development, Mr. Lee recognised the significance of youth development. In his National Day address in 1967, two years after independence, he affirmed the pivotal role of socio-emotional and moral education for youths:

But, in the long run, it is the quality of our youths that will determine our future. And we have to invest in them more than any other sector. Changes are taking place in the schools. The emphasis is now on content and quality. We want our schools to produce citizens who are healthy and hardy, with a sense of social purpose and group discipline, prepared to work and to pay for what they want, never expecting something for nothing. Our schools will train students in the classrooms, in the playing fields to make them healthy and robust. But even more important, they will teach our students high standards of personal behaviour, social norms of good and bad, right and wrong. Without these values, a literate generation may be more dangerous than a completely uneducated one.2

Mr. Lee was similarly well aware of social issues that posed potential risks to Singapore’s societal values. In 1978, he cautioned Singapore about the dangers of evolving family values:

Today, there are more divorces than there were ten years ago and remarriages and broken marriages. It’s all the sign of change for the worst. But we must try, in certain areas, to exclude experimentation until we are sure that it is an experiment which is successful and we won’t know for at least one generation, probably not for certain for two generations. In one generation, perhaps we can see whether it’s a failure and we need two generations to see whether it’s a success. And I am not sure at all that what I am seeing, experimenting with lifestyles… I don’t know. I think this is a curious world, this is a twilight world. Let’s go slow, let’s not change in this. I am by nature quite an adventurous man. I like to try… But in this case, I am quite sure something is going to happen. I say, ‘Don’t try.’ And this is the problem: Which areas don’t try? I think they are areas connected with the family and the next generation because that is how we have sustained ourselves.3

Nearly two decades ago, he predicted the social vulnerabilities of our times, asserting that “if we allow [the Internet] to make our people permissive, promiscuous, relaxed and it unravels the family and the extended family, then I say we are undone and finished, because family strength and social cohesion were the basis on which we built Singapore”.4

An Exemplary Husband and Father
Mr. Lee practiced privately what he advocated publicly. He made marriage a collaborative partnership with his wife and cherished their unity. Of his marriage, he describes:

We gradually influenced each other’s ways and habits as we adjusted to and accommodated each other. We knew that we could not stay starry-eyed lovers all our lives; that life was an on-going challenge with new problems to resolve and manage… We never argued over the upbringing of our children, nor over financial matters. Our earnings and assets were jointly held. We were each other’s confidant.5 [An excerpt from eulogy to his wife]

We have never allowed the other to feel abandoned and alone in any moment of crisis. Quite the contrary, we have faced all major crises in our lives together, sharing our fears and hopes, and our subsequent grief and exultation. These moments of crises have bonded us closer together. With the years, the number of special ties which we two have shared have increased. Some of them we share with the children.6 [Letter with advice on marriage to his son Lee Hsien Yang who got married in 1981]

He was an encouraging and engaging father. When asked about his and his wife’s expectations of the children, he replied:

No, as I said earlier. We did not try to shape their careers. We were both lawyers, but we did not think it was good to encourage them to be lawyers. Instead we asked: What are you good at? What are you interested in? What will give you pleasure and satisfaction, and you’re good at it?6

When asked about his use of the cane to discipline the children, he light-heartedly remarked:

No, I didn’t need a cane and didn’t have one. My wife’s cane was not used very often but she has caned them. The children knew that there are certain things you must not do. I would support my wife so that there’s no bickering between husband and wife, where the children say, “Oh, my father is right!” (Laughs) I gave my wife full support. I would back her. On the whole I would say it’s a harmonious family.6

The Icing and the Cake
For many of us, Mr. Lee’s gilt-edged legacy and reputation in nation-building will be memorialised in history. But for Mr. Lee, I believe they were only the icing on the cake. At his 80th birthday dinner, he revealed:

At the end of the day, what I cherish most are the human relationships. With the unfailing support of my wife and partner I have lived life to the fullest. It is the friendships I made and the close family ties I nurtured that have provided me with that sense of satisfaction at a life well lived, and have made me what I am.7

The preeminent artisan of Singapore believed only in the choicest ingredients: family ties and friendships. As we move forward in the days to come, let us therefore honour Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and his ideals for family, marriage, parenthood, and friendship, preserving those values, and living out a legacy and inheritance he so passionately fought for and left behind.

References

  1. Lee, K. Y. (1982, February 7). Speech by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at the Chinese New Year reception on Sunday, 7 Feb 82, at Istana [Speech transcript]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/data/pdfdoc/lky19820207.pdf
  2. Lee, K. Y. (1967, August 8). Prime minister’s address on TV on the eve of National Day, 8th August, 1967 [Speech transcript]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/data/pdfdoc/lky19670808.pdf
  3. Lee, K. Y. (1978, May 31). Translation of the Prime Minister’s Question & Answer session at the Singapore Malay Teachers’ Union Seminar held at DBS auditorium on 31 May 1978 [Speech transcript]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/data/pdfdoc/lky19780531b.pdf
  4. Lee, K. Y. (2013). The wit & wisdom of Lee Kuan Yew. L. Davis (Ed.). Singapore: Editions Didier Millet.
  5. Lee, K. Y. (2010, October 10). Lee Kuan Yew: The last farewell to my wife. AsiaOne. Retrieved from http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/lee-kuan-yew-last-farewell-my-wife#sthash.9JSpx5Do.dpuf
  6. Lee, K. Y. (2011). Lee Kuan Yew: Hard truths to keep Singapore going. F. K. Han, Z. Ibrahim, M. H. Chua, L. Lim, I. Low, R. Lin, & R. Chan (Eds.). Singapore: Straits Times Press.
  7. Lee, K. Y. (2003, September 16). Speech by Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew at his 80thbirthday dinner held at the Shangri-La Hotel on 16 September 2003 at 9.45 pm [Speech transcript]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/speeches/view-html?filename=2003091603.htm

Three Hopes for 2015

I was asked to write a piece on my hopes and dreams for 2015. The tricky part was that I had to focus on myself – my dreams, my aspirations, my heart. I was asked to leave my role as a mother and wife aside, and quite understandably so, because I would have automatically included my family.

Focus on myself – as a woman, as an individual.

Hyperventilate.

Breathe, woman, breathe.

Only after embarking on the task did I realise how difficult it was. Everyone knows, that embedded in the heart of every woman is the desire to see her family and children thrive.

Photo credit: June Yong / mamawearpapashirt.com

Photo credit: June Yong / mamawearpapashirt.com

But try, I did.

I searched, pondered and prayed, and uncovered three hopes for 2015.

  1. To be a better writer

I’ve been writing on my blog, mamawearpapashirt, since 2011. Four years down and I realise writing has become part of my identity. It helps me feel sane and gives me an avenue to connect with the world and express what would otherwise be forgotten thoughts and experiences.

In 2015, I hope to become more serious and authentic in my writing. To not shy away from revealing the real me. To share about real fears, real aspirations, real struggles. It is scary being vulnerable, but sometimes it is also the only way to make a difference.

  1. To be a better wife

I know I said to leave family out of the picture, but I realised it is impossible. We’ve enjoyed seven years of marriage, but there’s still so much to learn.

In 2015, I will work to be more gracious and giving. I hope to pray more, and nag less. I will try to love and serve him with the time and energy that I have. I will also make more effort to care for myself. He deserves the best of me, not the rest of me.

  1. To connect with other women

In order for me to see these hopes come to fruition, I need to pen down clear directions and goals, and also seek support from the people around me. Community is key. I know I will not be able to make this happen on my own.

Part of my vision for myself in 2015 is to build and strengthen connections with like-minded women and mums. It’s easy as a mum to three little kids to make excuses and relegate social time to time spent on Facebook or whatsapping. So it’s back to old-school face-to-face meetups, and the best part? The cake or coffee that usually shows up too.

Expressing hope is a scary thing. Three hopes, and my knees are shaking.

But we all know that hope is essential. It gives your life greater meaning and focus. It can make a world of difference to a person in pain. It can give one the courage to soldier on.

And so in spite of the surge of bad news around the world, and sometimes feeling like the sky is falling, we hold onto hope.

If you haven’t already done so, I hope you will take time to pen down your personal hopes and dreams for 2015. We’re already almost done with January but it’s never too late.

Do remember to share those hopes with someone who will support you and help you along the way!

This guest post comes courtesy of June Yong, a writer-mum of three and creator of mamawearpapashirt.com. She shares grace-filled stories, lessons learnt, and ideas on how to live a simple and playful life with our families.

For Everything There is a Season

When I was asked to share my thoughts on 2014, I thought it would be easy – but it turned out to be the hardest blog post I’ve written as I witnessed many new seasons in 2014. While I use seasons figuratively, it was also literally true due to my student exchange to Brazil in the first half of the year.

A New Perspective on Poverty

My choice to go to Brazil was partially due to a family friend working there as a missionary. I was keen to learn about the social issues. Walking with him and his wife through the inner streets of Sao Paulo,  was truly an eye-opening experience, where I realised that external factors often play a greater role than personal action in how people end up trapped in poverty. This was reaffirmed upon my return to Singapore. I took a module which looked into the issues facing low-income Single Parent-headed Households here, and realised how important external circumstances were in shaping their current circumstance. It was truly a humbling experience to interview some single parents and learn about the struggles in providing for their family in spite of their best efforts. I will finish my last semester of studies in the middle of this year. My hope in 2015 is to find a job in the public sector in Singapore and to eventually influence policies that affect the social landscape in Singapore. In the meantime, I will look for opportunities to help the less fortunate in our society in any way I can.

A New Definition of Hospitality

Not being particularly fond of change, it was with some trepidation that I embarked on the exchange to Brazil. Thankfully, the people I encountered in Brazil made the experience a truly exceptional one. The small community of Singaporeans living in Sao Paulo provided amazing support and company over the course of my time there. My first dinner was spent with them, and the first trip out of Sao Paulo was also taken with them. These little tastes of Singapore made my time away from home much more bearable.

Photo credit: Abraham P.

The group of exchange students consisted of remarkable individuals from all over the world. One of these students really came to my rescue when I got locked out of my apartment when my parents came to visit me. He and his flatmate immediately opened their apartment to the three of us and did everything to ensure we were comfortable. We thanked them profusely and apologised in equal measure. My friend could not understand why we made such a big deal out of the situation because for him it seemed like the perfectly natural thing to do.

Finally, I was left amazed by the number of Brazilians who would just come up to me and strike up a conversation. That I never really got my Portuguese up to scratch did not stop them from wanting to find out where I come from and what my country is like. All these experiences really put me to shame. Valuing my own personal space, I cannot imagine myself being so enthusiastic about someone else staying in my house. Further, language barrier is for me the best excuse to get out of conversations. The months in Brazil really redefined for me what it means to be a good host, and I hope to take advantage of any chances to extend hospitality to the people I encounter.

A Renewed Appreciation of Family

I definitely felt the distance while I was away in Brazil, but I also continued to feel their support. My family, immediate and extended, encouraged me to go on the exchange, and then made sure I had everything I needed for my time away. While I was there, I knew they were always just a skype call away. Despite the crazy time difference, they managed to create the time to check in on me.

Photo credit: Abraham P.

Photo credit: Abraham P.

There was a scare while I was in Brazil when my grandmother suffered a heart attack. By God’s grace, she survived it. It was a reminder though of the fragility of life, and the need to make the most of every moment that we have with those we love.

2015 looks to be a year of great transition for my family. For one, I will finish my education and hopefully transit to working life. My family also had the joy of celebrating the engagement of my elder’s sister last year, and look forward to her wedding this year. However, it will be followed by the heartache of her moving over to Newcastle, where her fiancé is based. As I mentioned earlier, I am not particularly fond of change, and hence am a little apprehensive of what the coming year will bring. What the past year has emphasised for me though is that ‘In Every Season, there is Family’!

Abraham is an undergraduate who dreamed of playing professional football when he was 5 (and actually still does). While his love for football occupies a large part of his heart, the remaining portion is shared between his passion for photographing the wonders of God’s creation and love for his family.

How my Dad Changed my Perspective on Love and Marriage Without Knowing It

I always wondered how Dad put up with Mum’s perpetual lateness (and why he married her when he hates being late) … and when I found out by chance, it changed my life.

It was a Saturday afternoon; I was running late to meet a friend (as usual) so Dad offered to drop me off. Ever thankful, I dashed into the car while he calmly started the car and got onto the road.

As he lamented and questioned why all his kids inherited Mum’s trait of being late and zilch of his love for punctuality, it made me pause.

“Dad,” I asked slowly, “You get mad whenever mum is late. So what made you choose to marry her despite knowing that she will always be late when you absolutely abhor lateness?”

Photo Credit: Deannster via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Deannster via Compfight cc

He stared ahead at the road, and then answered quietly, “Because I love your mother more than I love being punctual.”

That one quiet sentence changed my life; it reframed my perspective of love and marriage, and I never looked at love and marriage (or at them) the same way ever again.

Out of curiosity, I asked Mum why she married Dad.

“Because he loves me for who I am. You can see how much your Dad loves me, right? I knew he loved me and would be a good father to the children. Sweetheart, you need to marry a man who loves you as you are, a man who will put you (and the children) first, giving his all to take care of you.”

Speechless. I couldn’t say more.

Tears welling up in my eyes, I squeaked out some excuse about needing the toilet and ran there to have a good cry.

My parents have always told me to look out for a good man, and so on … but nothing could have spoken to me more than their life example. The way Dad loves Mum (and all of us, to be honest) is a real inspiration.

Truth be told, Dad telling me why he married Mum is one of the most precious memories that I have of my time with him. And when my kids ask how I decided to marry their father, I’ll tell them this:

“When your Grandpa told me why he loved Grandma, and how I should choose my future husband… that’s how I decided.”

And then I’ll share with them this same story in the hopes that they will learn the greatest lesson of all: that loving someone is about loving them beyond their flaws and weaknesses.

This guest post comes courtesy of Xin W., a happily married post-graduate student.

2 Funerals and a Darn Good Movie: Reflections of a Regular Dad

In many ways, this is not the kind of December I’m used to – my wife and I just returned from a funeral, our second this ‘festive’ month. It was a child’s funeral – a 14 month-old baby girl, who died suddenly in her sleep, leaving behind two very distraught parents.

The first funeral was held in honour of our dear friend’s father who suffered a stroke from a medical complication and within a week, passed on. The funeral, although somber, had a mood akin to that of an alumni gathering where friends gathered and shared the life stories of the dearly departed. My friend and his family were blessed with so many anecdotes of his father from all who came. For the grieving family, these meaningful recounts concretized the great legacy he has left behind.

TheSims-BWI turn 44 next year, and if all goes well, I hope to outlive my own father who passed away at 44 due to cancer. As a young teenager who lost his Dad prematurely, I strive daily to be the best husband, the best Daddy and the best employee – very tall order for just a regular bloke. Even tougher as my wife and I are standing at some major crossroads in our lives – having just adopted a newborn son in June this year; our daughter entering Primary One in Jan 2015 and both of us having increased responsibilities at work. These add to the stresses of life and we all know stress does not augment well for one’s health.

The second funeral – the death of the baby girl was more tragic. Children and caskets should never be in the same frame, ever. Having been through child bereavement (a path less travelled), we knew how important it is to have someone there to offer condolence and support. And we did. We met up twice with this well-mannered young Christian couple who had to bear the tragic loss of their beautiful 14 month-old girl.

Children are a blessing; they are precious and entrusted by God for us to love, for a season. Children are not a ‘status symbol’ nor should they be part of our ‘marriage life’ that can be conveniently ‘taken out’ and put back when it suits our convenience.

In Singapore, it is easy to confuse being a busy parent with being an engaged, effective parent. Enrichment classes, camps, parties, performances are all legitimate pursuits but do not be fooled into thinking that we are engaging our children. I’m very much guilty of that.

In this regard, there were moments, too frequent to even recall that I have failed as a Dad. Too busy or tired from work to answer my curious 6 year-old’s questions, and getting easily impatient with the crying newborn. It is tempting to let my daughter do her own thing since she is now more independent. It is tempting to let someone else care for the newborn after a hectic workday. But each moment I don’t engage my children is a moment lost forever. We only have so much time to make precious connections with the precious children God has entrusted to us. Every moment spent with them are opportunities to forge memories that matter. Quoting the movie ‘Interstellar’, “We are here… to be the memories for our kids.” But first, to be in their memories, we need to be present.

I hope to engage my children and my wife more. Anything… to just enjoy their presence and engage them intentionally. For without engagement, there can’t be a relationship. And without it, it would be tough to be an effective parent in this modern, messed-up world.

‘We’re all travelling through time, together, everyday of our lives… All we can do is do is our best to relish this remarkable life.’ – About Time

‘About Time’ stars award-winning actor Bill Nighy and is a fictitious story about a father and son who have the ability to travel through time. Due to the biological randomness of conception, to go back in time and return again would mean the son having a different baby each time he returns. The challenge arrives when the father is dying of cancer and the son is about to welcome his newborn. They have to choose a moment where they would relish it for one last time. The moment they picked was when the son was much younger, playing at the beach with his Dad – a simple moment where a powerful connection was made – just a tender moment between father and son.

I wonder what moments my children and wife would pick to remember me by. I hope for those to be positive moments – simple, meaningful and yet powerful enough to make that all-so-important connection which stand the tests of time. One that leaves many good stories for them to tell and one that sums up a good legacy I’ve left behind.

This is my hope as I continue my journey into 2015 and beyond.

This guest post is an extract with permission of David Sim. Together with his wife Angie, they blog at Life’s Tiny Miracles. To read the original post, please click here.

5 Things I Wished I Learnt from the Baby Manual

One can only read that many books, talk to that many people or attend that many classes to prepare for that very special day, where your first child graduates from kicking around in the Mother’s womb out in to the whole new world.

jean and joy

Photo credit: Jason W.

Well perhaps I could do with reading more books and talking to more people, but alas when the time came, there was no looking back. I guess 9 months is a long time to anticipate something, a substantial amount of time for preparation and reflection.

I remember vividly the first cry I heard when my daughter was born and then reality really hit. I remember my wife coaxing me to carry her during the first few moments and in my head I was going, “I’m so going to crush her… her head may flop over wrongly… she looks slippery…argh! Where’s the manual?!”

But of course on the outside I had to put on a brave front, even more so right after witnessing what my wife went through in delivering my baby. So there I was, holding my daughter for the first time, looking at her, and for the first time I really understood what unconditional love meant. I had no idea I can love someone whom I just met so much! It was one of the most amazing moments of my life. Of course that awesome moment was suddenly rudely disrupted when my daughter belted out her version of “Let [Me] Go… let me go, don’t hold me up anymore…” right next to my ear.

Well, that pretty much summed up the start of this journey of parenthood for me. Great moments of love and responsibility and then a cruel dose of irritation and sacrifice, somewhat similar to the emotions of the contestant on those cooking shows where the judges praise you and then tell your best is not good enough and then tells you that fortunately there is someone else in the room who is worse.

I have now survived 9 months of fatherhood and looking back, if there was to be a manual for fathers, these would be the 5 things I personally wished I had read.

1. It is normal to be worried

I remember jumping out of bed just to check to see if my baby had flipped over and suffocated or if the swaddling cloth had covered her face during the first week she came home to us. On checking with other couples, this phenomenon is actually quite usual.

2. Poop is character building

It seems that babies have an innate ability to sense when it would be the perfect time to pee or poop. The times where we become collateral damage during diaper change has happened so often, it cannot be by chance. This character building levels up when your baby starts to flip, climb and crawl. The test is to remain calm and still talk nicely to your child.

3. Every child is different

I was quite confused upon hearing different advice and reading different articles with respect to being a first-time dad. I even tried to reason against reading all these books, especially when the author had a disclaimer in the beginning saying, “every baby is different”. But after all the OJT (on job training), I must say that having the different information helps in some way. At least sometimes it presented some form of hope when the baby acts up or behaves outside the “textbook”. We had options to try out at different situations and in the end choose which suits our baby best… or rather best suits us all.

4. Parenting is not a zero sum game

Growing up in a family with 2 other siblings, it was often a game of “I did the dishes last time round, who’s next?” I had foolishly tried to bring that game into the parenting sphere. The first time I mentioned that it was my wife’s turn to change her diaper because I last did it… and then I was kindly reminded of all the other things I did not do. Well now I just volunteer to change the diapers. It really is a job for 2, and some may say it takes a village but what I have learnt is this: raising a child is a team game and good teamwork will benefit everyone.

5. Appreciate your wife

This is a sobering reflection when I see how my wife suddenly becomes the baby whisperer. She can differentiate the cries of the baby while I sit there still wondering what went wrong. Before leaving the house, she would have made a list of what needs to be done. For example, while she’s putting on her make-up and I’m just sitting there wondering when she will be done, she tells me that the diaper bag needs a top up of diapers and rash cream. The baby needs lunch and possibly dinner so you need two sets of bibs and cereal. Her water was from yesterday and needs changing. Her toys are still dirty and needs a wash.

And there I was, clueless about what to prepare before leaving the house.

These 9 months have taught me how to think beyond myself – even when it’s something as simple as leaving the house for a meal. I have a newfound respect and appreciation for my wife and I would do well never to forget this.

So there, the 5 things I wished I had learnt if a manual came along with my daughter. I’m sure others would have many more to add and this list is not all there is to it, but I guess that is what makes this parenting journey such an adventure.

This guest post comes courtesy of Jason, a happily married father of one. His baby, Little J, was born in March, and life has never been the same since then.

Our Journey towards Becoming a Family of 5

If I had to summarise the year 2014 in 3 words, it would be…

Intentional…

Challenging…

Hopeful…

It’s been a year marked with many transitions – and therein lies all the challenge, from adapting, changing, learning, growing… and just learning to be. I went from being a part-time working mom to becoming a stay-at-home mom, and the decision to stop working completely in order to be home with the children was much more difficult than I had anticipated.

My husband (let’s call him H) and I agreed that we wanted at least one of us to spend both quality and quantity time with our children while they were still young. We chose not to send them for academic enrichment classes, but for me to provide them with what we believe would be enriching outside of school instead.

When I stopped working, it was as if, to me, I was giving up something that I felt had given me an identity apart from being a mother. I had to constantly remind myself that my value did not lie solely on whether I was employed, but that I carried value regardless of what I chose to do.
One month after I stopped working, I found out that I was pregnant with or third child. And then began the onset of terrible, almost debilitating, morning sickness.

Photo Credit: Altamar via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Altamar via Compfight cc

While the children enjoyed having all of my time, I did spend quite a fair bit of time sick over the toilet, or being cooped up in bed. It was a struggle for me, and I’m really thankful for my husband’s unwavering support during this time.

Despite facing a really stressful season at work, he tried to work from home on some days. He went about picking up the ‘slack’ without complaint, doing the laundry, feeding the kids, cleaning the house and more.

There were times when I could not plan meals for the children, so H would try to help out with meals. To ease my worries, he enlisted the help of our neighbour and a couple of good friends to help me with meals on days that he couldn’t.

The arrival of #3 is a major transition for the entire family, so one thing we constantly try to do at home is to involve them in our pregnancy journey as much as possible.

To make the pregnancy relatable to the children, I communicate with them about what it’s like, and what I felt when both of them were in my tummy. We also teach them about anatomy, the baby’s different stages of growth, and bring them along for the doctor’s appointments as often as we can so that they get to ‘see’ their little brother.

In anticipation of the arrival of #3, we’ve been teaching our two children that it’s important to do things together – from playing to making decisions – and this involves a fair dose of conflict management as well.

It’s not always easy, but I’m glad the kids are open and willing to learn. It gives me great optimism about what’s to come.

2015 is going to be a significant and new chapter in our family, where we grow from just the 4 of us to a family of 5. I look forward to enjoying my entire family – husband, myself and my three children – and treasuring the moments I have together with them both as a family unit and with each of them individually.

We’ve also made a decision to be even more intentional with our children: to speak encouragement and discipline into their lives so that they can grow in confidence, discover their potential and build deep relationships with one another.

There are many things to look forward to in 2015, the top of which is family, and for that I am grateful.

Sue-Ann is a mother of two (with another on the way).  She enjoys nothing better than daydreaming of new ways for her family to take the stress out of living busy city lives.  Her children, Rainbow Sky and Chubs Salami – nicknames they gave themselves – are 7 and 4.