I have read one of depth news about the majority of today’s high school students in (I think) Sukabumi (cmiiw) prefer to get married right after they graduate, instead of going to college. No matter how wealthy, supportive, even persistence their parents are, they still choose to tie the knot with their high school sweetheart over higher education.
As concern as I am with this issue, I can’t totally blame the kids. What they’ve done is just look up to their parents. Some don’t have such intelligently impressive parents – NOT because they are a driver, domestic assistant, civil servant, a nurse in a small clinic or whatever, but because they don’t stimulate their kids to love education. To keep studying, no matter how much your age are.
Or simply to read.
At least that’s what I’ve learned so I can apply my life lesson learned to my own daughters: Moonsy (6 yo) and Kee (1 year 7 month).
When I was accepted to join some writing group as script writer team of its new sitcom, I told Moonsy that “mama mau belajar nulis”. She was seriously wondered. Her reaction was like, “hah? Belajar nulis? Mama nggak bisa nulis? Sini aku ajarin.”
I, of course, thought her genuine reaction is so cute. But then I told her that YEAH, I wanna learn to write a script (not “to write” like “menulis”) and what’s so wrong about it? That people should learn new things every day because what inside your head (and your heart) is what matters the most. That people should keep “belajar” no matter what age they are. That what a woman should know (and expertise at) is not only limited to something related to cooking, taking care of family or other typical blah blah.
And since then, I think I endlessly impressed her on every little thing I’ve done (even something I don’t consider impressive at all because that’s actually my thing, she just doesn’t know it yet).
What I do #1: I read.
Having two kids who still shares bed with me sometimes makes me kinda difficult to find a good time to just lie down and read. After I got home after long tiring hours at work, I’m usually straight to the other business: showering, sholat Maghrib, eating early dinner, breastfeeding Kee, accompanying Moonsy doing her homework, having proper conversation with Minmos, Kee’s babysitter, Mosmin Moonse’s mbak and Moonsy and entertaining Kee in between. And when both Moonsy and Kee finally fall asleep, Ney wanna be, you know, “entertained”, too. And when both Moonsy, Kee and Ney finaly fall asleep, I’m too exhausted to even spell my name (it’s pretty long), let alone to read a book.
But then again I think that if my daughters never see me with a real book in my hand (recipe book doesn’t count), how can I convince them that: 1) I do love reading, 2) reading is important, 3) reading is what smart people do, and 4) reading is cool?
So I forced my self to read. First, I read while breastfeeding Kee. It’s not easy at first because I have to endure Moonsy The Attention Seeker’s sulking face seeing I chose breastfeeding and reading, instead of paying her attention. But the second and the third is getting easier. All I need to do is saying, “Kak, mama baca dulu sebentar ya. 30 meniiit aja. Tanggung nih, lagi seru-serunya”, and she’ll nod, saying “Boleh. Kalo gitu aku nonton dulu ya, Ma. Abis itu kita ngobrol-ngobrol.”
What I read: It’s usually between a morning newspaper, a magazine Ney’s just bought and a book (fiction) I’ve just bought. And lately, I’ve started to show off reading an English book in front of her.
How I know that she’s impressed:
- She imitates my reading style pretty often. I don’t mind because it eventually leads her to actually read a book (her children book, that is).
- She starts to respond me with “ya udah, kalo gitu aku baca juga, deh!” for my “mama baca sebentar ya, Nak, 30 meniiit aja.” request.
- She pays attention to what I read, or what I’ve been reading. When I was stuck on bed with Kee’s mouth on my nipple, I like to ask her a favor to bring me a book I wanna read. “Kak, tolong ambilin buku mama yang warna merah dong, yang ada gambar kuda di depannya (J.D. Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye) and she would bring me the right book.
- She likes to try to read my readings. She’d pick up a book I’ve just left on the bed, take a look at it closely, turn some pages and try to read it. When she happened to read my current reading, David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day, she pronounce the title to “Me (like ‘e’ in ‘merah’) talk (like ‘a’ in ‘apel’) pret-tey o-ne day (like ‘a’ in ‘apel’).” Later, she lifted her face, looked at me and asked confusedly, “Orang ini nulis apa sih, Ma? Kok aku nggak ngerti sama sekali?”
- She reads pretty fluently now. When she reads her (children story) book, she’ll read it fully from front to back cover.
What I Do #2: I draw something she considers really cool.
One of my favourite time is when Moonsy and I draw together at our backyard. He’d enthusiastically bring all of her crayons, colour pencils, water colours (and its pallets) and some of used HVS papers and challenge me to “kita lomba gambar ya, Ma. Nanti Mama nilai gambar aku, aku nilai gambar Mama”. Alright, then. Thank God with my mediocre (it’s mediocre, believe me, but I have faith in me. And healthy self confidence) drawing skill, I always refused to draw whatever her drawing teacher has taught.
“Kita jangan takut buat gambar yang nggak biasa, Kak. Maksudnya, jangan takut bikin gambar yang belum pernah digambar Kak Yanto (her drawing teacher).”
But at her age, her skill is still limited to imitate, not yet to create, so I need to introduce her to several new objects that even Kak Yanto would never thought about it.
What I draw then:
- I drew her our stupid grayish cat and I make it seem to lie lazily up to the green, flowery hill, looking down to the cars.
- I drew her short-haired Kee in her signature Libby colorful shirt and shorts, eating grapes.
- I drew her Minmos and Mosmin.
- I drew her wet clothes hanging on the drier (maksudnya jemuran gitu loh).
- I drew her a ballerina in cute tutu on action.
- I drew her a Balinesse dancer.
And my peak performance is when I drew her her most favourite fictional character: Princess Aurora. Well, it doesn’t look like her at all, but at least I managed to draw her signature dress right. Moonsy was literally hysterical when receiving this drawing from me.
Also, I drew her all of Disney Princess characters in one single paper.
How do I know that she’s impressed?
- She, of course, starts to imitate whatever I’ve drew and show them off to Kak Yanto at school.
- She gave me the highest pre-school typical score: 5 stars.
- She starts to draw whatever objects around her because I always say that everything, like EVERYTHING, can be put in to a paper.
- She’s not afraid to colour clouds red and sea pink because I’m not afraid to color grass purple polka dot and sun Gedebage green and put shades on its eyes.
What I Do #3: I write.
Besides doing it to support this family, Ney and I write our ass off to:
- stimulate our brain,
- show Moonse and Kee that their parents loves to work because that is Life is all about: to work and to create,
- show them that’s what we’re good at and what we looove doing, and
- show them that smart people write good stuffs.
My mission is to encourage my girls that thinking/ learning/ working/ studying and the likes is a Need not a Must, is an never-ending process, so don’t you ever try to think about stop schooling at young age, especially using stupid reason like “too lazy to think” as your excuse. Nah-uh, that, my girls, is not going to happen to both of you. You’ll be a mature, independent woman who’d stand up of your own and make your self proud by being a talented woman. Just like me [kwang kwang]. And you’d meet a great guy who’s just like your daddy.
Okay, and what do I write? Well, basically anything that sells. I write books (so far, children & financial planning). I write sitcom scripts. I write reviews. I’m currently writing comic book script.
And I translate, too.
How do I know that she’s impressed? Well, it’s getting common to hear these kind of conversation between me and Moonsy:
Me: Kak, tau nggak tadi malem mama baru tidur jam berapa?
Her: Jam berapa, Ma?
Me: Jam tiga!
Her: Hah? Jam tiga? Emang Mama ngapain aja?
Me: Ngetik. Bikin skrip komik.
Her: Pasti Mama capek ya, Ma?
Me: Kak, nanti kalau mama ketiduran abis nyusuin Moonsy, bangunin pas Little Einstein-nya abis, ya. Mama mau ngetik.
Her: Iya.(slightly in my sleep, to her noisy dad) Her: Ssst, Papa jangan berisik, Mama mau tidur dulu soalnya nanti minta dibangunin pas Little Einstein abis.(trying to wake me up) Her: Ma, Mama, bangun Ma, Little Enstein-nya udah abis, tuh. Katanya mau ngetik?(still slightly in my sleep)
Her: Mama capek banget nih kayaknya. Ya udah, nggak usah dibangunin deh, Pa.
Her: Adeeek, jangan gangguin Mama, Mama mau istirahat dulu, ntar malem mau bangun buat ngetik.
I find it a good sign that she knows that I write to death because I love doing it.
This article was written and sent by Sunny, our website reader. Thank you Sunny!