Father-son bonding #1 — “Now that exams are done, …”

adventure backlit dawn dusk

Hey J my precious son,

First and foremost, CONGRATULATIONS!

After six long years of primary school education, you’re finally done with that Holy Grail of a gruelling national examination (the PSLE or Primary School Leaving Examinations). That which forever decides which secondary school you’ll go to next year.

Of course it’s only the first of many more, in the many more school years that still lay ahead of you.

Now your dad’s never thought it right such a major, deterministic exam should be thrown at 12-year-olds all over the land every single year.

I said as much in January when I posted on my strategy to “tackle” PSLE.

And I’m not alone.

Just one more foothold in the ladder of LIFE!

brown metal steep ladder
Photo by Jeremy Levin on Pexels.com

Every year the anguish of parents and kids are what grabs headlines for the period the PSLE takes place (September to October).

And nearly every year there will be some controversy over one exam question or another. Like the now-notorious Helen and Ivan 2021 PSLE math question you and other 12-year-olds attempted. (Don’t worry. I won’t add to the vomit of words already spat over it, or the memes that have sprung up because of it)

Ultimately, the PSLE is but a foothold on a ladder. A rung on the garden trellis. A blip in this long journey we call Life.

Still, I don’t wanna dismiss offhand all the diligence and discipline you’ve demonstrated these past few years as you readied yourself for, to date, the biggest scholastic test of your life. While on the cusp of another huge milestone — the start of your teenage years!

So once again, Congrats my boy!

No matter what the outcome of your PSLE efforts, the greater and more important work — the journey that led to it — is done.

You’ve proven yourself independent and capable (as far as I’m concerned).

You’ve proven yourself more than up to the task; to take on unfazed the many high stakes challenges life will periodically throw at you.

Which brings us to the big question…

…What’s next?

focused woman writing in clipboard while hiring candidate
Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

So now that the PSLE is over, what’s next my son?

After taking a well-deserved break for some ten days now after finishing the last paper, it’s probably a good time to sit down, take stock what lies ahead, and consider how best to spend the remaining weeks of 2021.

Agree? Can’t just be endless days of Roblox, Beyblade and Lego, right?

After all, you do need to increasingly take full control and responsibility of how you wish to spend your time more fruitfully than aimlessly. That’s all part of growing up.

But in many ways, you’re still a kid, and I’m still your parent. I would be remiss if I simply took a step back and let you while away these final months of the year without so much as offering some ideas on what to do.

So here are at least three things I would like to put to you before you start the new year of 2022 in a brand new school (I’ll likely have more ideas in my next post *wink*!)

And if you’ll let me, I’ll like to join you in at least one of them, alright?

1. “My son, let’s take out the old and bring in the new”

Photo by Andrea Davis on Unsplash

First off my son, you will have to pack away all the books, files and resources you’ve accumulated these past few years as you prepared for the PSLE.

Some of them you can put aside for C so he can have them to prepare for his PSLE three years from now. Some of them you can ditch.

A clean study desk with new spaces on your shelves and drawers should get you ready for all the new stuff you’re going to get in your new school year.

If nothing else, spring cleaning is therapeutic J. Just ask the internationally-acclaimed guru of tidying up Marie Kondo!

2. Plan for play dates, sleepovers and outdoor adventures

silhouette of a boy playing ball during sunset
Photo by manu mangalassery on Pexels.com

Of course, all work and no play make for a lousy way to pass the time.

So naturally, you should plan for playdates with your friends and soon-to-be ex-classmates. Go cycling or exploring the country and get out of the house more. Yes, I know the specter of Covid hasn’t completely left us yet. But neither should it rule our lives, right? We must still get on with the business of living.

And what better way than to get out more and explore.

In fact, your mom has a great idea to do an Amazing Race of sorts for you and a couple of your friends around our tiny island-state. It’ll help you get out of our neck of the woods and check out other places we’ve seldom, if ever, visited.

She plans to have some “station challenges” sprinkled here and there aka Amazing Race-style, but with a view to helping you discover our country’s nature, history and even places grown-ups must eventually visit for practical needs, like banks or the passport-issuing authority ICA.

Okay that last bit may not sound all that enticing. But trust me, there’re important reasons why these will be part of the “itinerary”.

In fact, one of those reasons is the trigger for my next suggestion.

3. Father and son getaway

Source: Writer (with son J on 16 Oct 2021 at the coastline of a local wetlands reserve called Sungei Buloh)

J, in six months, you’re going to be 13. The age most regard as the beginning of your teenage years.

Actually, to me, you are already a teen! How you’ve started openly and frequently voicing your disagreements with your parents, signals undeniably that you’re well into the angsty years of teen-dom.

But I don’t wanna go all bumper-sticker on you and this whole phase of life called ‘Youth’.

I do however want to mark the transition with a little father-son bonding session, if it’s okay with you.

You see, I’m planning a little weekend getaway come December so we can spend some quality alone time to connect.

To me, this is an important milestone. Sadly, few young men in today’s world get to observe this transformation in a manner that forever stamps the unavoidable truth — it’s time to leave “childish ways” behind. (Did I say “today’s world”? Heck! It was already like that when I was a kid)

All over the world, the whole concept of rites of passage to initiate young boys into first teen-hood then manhood, seems to only exist in staunchly traditional cultures like those belonging to the Jews or the Bukusu in Kenya .

Well, not on my watch.

Just because I never had that is all the more reason you should (and in another couple of years, your brother C).

So stay tuned.

Once I’ve mapped it out, I’ll share my father and son getaway plans with you and explain why we gotta do this.

Luv ya son, to the ends of the moon and back!!
Daddy Doofus

Leave a Reply