Nurturing/ Teaching Courses
Conversations with my granddaughter
Dr Alex Tang
Hello little one,
Grampa is glad you like your tricycle. You were so excited when you saw the box and when your Ah Yee and Grandma assembled the pieces. You were literally bubbling with joy. You must agree it is good to have wheels. Now you can send your friends to the zoo, the supermarket and back to their homes. You can bring food to feed the elephant who is staying in one corner of the living room. Since getting your tricycle, you have taken on the role of a ‘taxi mum’ looking after all your imaginary friends. Your tricycle was initially Grampa-powered. Grampa has to push your tricycle as you did not know how to pedal.
Little one, over the last couple of months, Grampa is impressed with your learning how to ride a tricycle. You have to first learn how to get on and off. Then you have to learn to sit on the saddle. That needed a bit of balancing as your feet cannot yet touch the ground when you are sitting. Then you learned to put your feet on the pedal. As you are still small, you need to lean forward towards the handlebar to reach the pedal. Then you have to learn to push down with your feet on the pedal for the wheel to move. It is not easy and I see that you struggle with it. Then suddenly, to our surprise, you are on the tricycle and pedaling forward! You have still to work on your steering but that is alright. Little one, you have learned that to learn a new skill, you have to learn one small step at a time.
This reminds Grampa of the time when your Mummy was little. She asked me with a twinkle in her eyes how Grampa would eat an elephant. Grampa said Grampa do not know how to eat an elephant as the elephant is too big. Your Mummy would answer, “by eating one piece at a time” accompanied by peal of laughter. Yes, your Mummy was a happy child with a great sense of humour. I suspect you have both her gifts. That taught Grampa an important lesson. The elephant may be big but the big elephant may be eaten in small pieces. Not that I will eat an elephant. Don’t look so alarmed.
Riding a tricycle is an elephant sized task for you but you managed it by taking one small step at a time. This is what many big people need to learn. To learn something is to learn by taking many small baby steps. Then the task will not be too daunting. Little one, you showed us that by keep repeating the baby steps, the big people will suddenly discover that they have learned the complex skill they were trying to master. It is a matter of perseverence. There is a book about a little prince. This little prince lived on a planet scarcely bigger than himself. Grampa is sure you will like him. Grampa will read the book to you one day when you are older. The author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry writes, “What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it.”
And you achieved that by having fun. By ‘taxi-ing’ around your imaginary friends, you are repeatedly learning the small steps. The basket on the back of your tricycle serves multiple purposes in carrying your bears, balls, boxes, and other toys. Big goals are achieved by small steps and having fun in the process.
Help this little one as she learns many complex things in the process of growing up. Sharpen and strength her mind, body and soul as she grows in grace with You and with other people. May she always remembers you as the source of all her achievements.
03 Sept 2014
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