A Parent’s Love is of the Purest Gold
When I was young, my parents bought me tons of toys and branded clothes. They sent me for a multitude of enrichment programmes and brought me all around the world to play. Everyone envied the kind of life that I had. But nobody sees the gloom behind the glitter and gold. I was sad and hollow on the inside. Something was missing from my life.
Not all that glitters is gold
My dad worked overseas for the first twenty years of my life, coming back only once in a while to visit my mum and me. At every opportunity I had when he was home, I would cling onto him and demand his fullest attention. Those were blissful moments immemorial. But when it was time for him to leave for work, I wept inconsolably and locked myself up in my room just so I wouldn’t have to go with him to the airport— as though sending him off were some seal that guaranteed his departure. I felt that no one understood me. Why couldn’t I just have my dad by my side? Sometimes, I would stand behind the curtains and peep out at my dad for the last time before he faded away. Growing up, it was a constant struggle between truly appreciating my dad’s hard work to support my family and craving my dad’s love, time and attention. The pain of missing my father was unbearable.
Yet every dark cloud has a silver lining
However, every challenge presents a new opportunity. My personal experience has helped me to understand the importance of love, care and attention that a child needs, especially during the early stages of life. Whenever I come across a child from an underprivileged or broken family, or a child at risk, I always ask myself what can I do to help them; to comfort and encourage them. I want to be able to bring them happiness and assure them that I will always be by their side to guide them through the difficult times.
I’ve been with Morning Star for six years now. Throughout the years, I’ve met all sorts of children. And I must admit, I love working with children who are challenging, as I strongly believe that every child has a story to tell and can be nurtured to become a responsible, caring citizen. Some days, these children would test my patience and make my day very chaotic, but to me, that’s just part and parcel of growing up; my love for them will always be the same. Other times, they’d write little notes of appreciation which warm my heart; and when I see a significant change in their behaviour for the better, I am filled with gladness. My journey with Morning Star has helped me to grow and learn to appreciate what I have in life. It is when you see how much other people are going through that you realise how blessed you are. I may not have gotten to experience my father’s love growing up, but I’ve learned to cherish what I did and do have. And I’ve learned the invaluable lesson that sometimes, better than all the gold and glamour in the world, all a child really needs is just a hug, a word of praise or ten minutes of their loved ones’ undivided attention.
Lim Jia with the after-school care children
Cards handwritten by the children for Ms Jia Jia
Facilitator, After-School Care Services