Recently, I found out that my three-year-old son had been hit by a classmate at school. According to his teacher, Andre was struck for no apparent reason, and the classmate who did it had also bitten him some time back.

When I first heard about the incident, I admittedly felt quite a bit of heartache. In our home, we don’t believe in physical punishment, and I would never hit Andre even if it’s to discipline him. It was extra painful to learn that his classmate had slapped his face.

It’s natural for us, as parents, to want to protect our children from harm. And hearing that my son had been bullied by a classmate certainly triggered my protective instincts, but what I learnt about his reaction to the incident has also led me to view the incident in a different light.

In both incidents where he was hurt by his classmate, Andre calmly reported what happened to his teacher instead of crying or retaliating. To my pleasant surprise, he continued to go to school all smiles as usual after that, too. As a mother, his calm and sensible response quelled much of my worry, and I commended him for doing the right thing and being a brave boy.

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Like most parents, we always want to inculcate the right values, such as honesty, righteousness and tenacity, in our kids. This means taking every opportunity to teach them right from wrong, so that beyond the safety net they have in school, they are able to handle the tough situations they face later on in life.

Instead of always wanting to shield them from harm, I’ve learnt through this incident that it’s even more important for our children to learn to be resilient and have the courage to do the right thing.

I’ve also come to realise that as adults, there is so much that our children can teach us about what it means to forgive, forget and move on, instead of bearing grudges – providing a timely reminder that every little bit of kindness can make the world a better place.

Lisa Kwek

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