Mr. Edwin Tan, Chairman of the Telok Blangah IRCC and two of his committee members attended the Clementi Ward Open House on Saturday, 25 August 2018. They were impressed by the theme of the Open House which featured a keynote presentation on “How to build a strong and happy family” and two workshops - one on family home evening and another on family councils.
Three elements of a strong family
In talking to the members and visitors in the Pasir Panjang Chapel, Ms. Yeo Sha-en, a well-known parenting expert and author, offered three elements for building strong families: (1) trust, based on relationships (2) resilience, the ability to deal with challenges, and (3) unconditional positive regard.
Focus on the strengths of the children
She discouraged “helicopter parenting” – constant hovering over the children. Instead, she said parents should put on their 'strength lenses' and look for what each child is good at. To do this, parents must watch their own language and avoid the natural tendency to point out a child's weaknesses. Having identified the strengths of each child, parents must create opportunities for each child to use his strengths through performance and fun activities as often as possible.
Teach children gratitude and hope
Ms Yeo also suggested that parents should teach their children gratitude by having conversations at dinnertime on what went well during the day at school and at home. In addition, parents should also cultivate 'hope' by telling stories that offer various options or pathways to solving difficult situations.
Family Home Evening
The demonstration on how a young family conducted its family home evening program was well attended and received by the visitors. They said the family home evening program should be promoted among all families regardless of religious beliefs because it would build a stronger society anywhere.
In the other workshop on the family, the audience learned about four types of family councils that parents can use to deal with different family situations and children’s needs. For example, there is the full family council in which both parents and all the children are involved in solving a family problem. In the one-on-one council, a father takes the son alone to resolve whatever situation the son is facing.
Family History Resources
The last station in the Open house was an exhibition on Family History. Visitors learned about the resources available for anyone wanting to do research on his ancestors and how to go about writing about his family history. The visitors remarked that they were not aware such resources were available to the public and suggested that the Church should make these resources to a wider audience.