updated 12 Jan 2014, 01:55
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Wed, Jan 13, 2010
The Straits Times
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Parents' best gift for their kids - time

I CANNOT agree more with last Saturday's letters by Mr Lee Seck Kay ('Parents hold the key') and Dr John Hui ('Be there for children').

Undeniably, money is the prime mover of our lives. We toil so our children have the best food, clothes and so on.

However, we seem to forget to give them the parental touch. We think that by giving them the symbols of our economic success, we have shown our care and love for them.

Yet, if we recall the past, we know that we treasure our parents' time with us more than the toys they bought for us. With our own children, though, we are in denial.

We legitimise it by saying we are teaching our children self-dependence, when it is really diminished responsibility on our part as parents.

In our absence, our children seek alternative attention, care and love. And we take them to task when they stray from the right path.

We put the blame on them, their friends and our maids, but not ourselves.

We do not see the damage done to our children, with scars that will last their lifetime and possibly be transferred to the next generation.

We have such a short memory.

Have we forgotten the McDonald's Kids, boys used as runners by loan sharks, schoolgirls moonlighting as call girls, teenage pregnancy or shoplifting by young children?

As our children grow up, they need our presence more than the luxuries we give them.

This is more so for children from broken families. I hope one of our new year resolutions is to give them more of our time and parental touch instead of merely the best gadgets.

It is still not too late to make adjustments to our goals this year.

Unless we do not mind that our children's resolution in 2040 reads: 'Send mum to the best old folks' home.'

Sabirin Alwi

This article was first published in The Straits Times.

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