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Comma: Respectful Parenting

If you are not aware, you can view content related to marriage and parenting at Comma, Rethink Life’s website. I will be uploading new conversations with people on these topics and observations from my own personal life. Here’s one that we did with Racheal Kwacz, a Child & Family Development Specialist. In this video, we talked about Respectful Parenting and what it is all about. She shared about how we can build the inner voices in our child’s head and raise them to be kind, compassionate and resilient children. If you are interested in attending our first ever parenting workshop co-organized with Racheal, please see the details below!

Toddler Wars Parenting Workshop with Racheal Kwacz

Racheal Kwacz is a Child & Family Development Specialist, mama tribe advocate and writer. As creator of the “RACHEAL method”, she combines her 20+ years experience working with children in the USA and in Asia with the foundations of “Respectful Parenting”. She was the Program Director for a national accredited child care center in the USA and has also developed and taught different programs for preschools in Springfield, Missouri, Pensacola, Florida and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She provides parenting coaching sessions to help you build and maintain joyful, loving relationships with your little ones.

Topics that will be covered in the workshop

+ How to respond to your child and deescalate a situation
+ How to parent a strong-willed child without breaking their spirit
+ How to work with your toddler through a problem
+ Words to say and helpful tools to set loving limits and boundaries
+ How to plan, prevent and stay calm through any situation
+ How to turn tears into bonding and create intimate moments that matter
+ How and when to pick your battles
+ How to cope with frustration and burn out
+ How to parent together and work with your in-laws

Slowing Down

Wow, it just occurred to me that the last blog post I did was 3 weeks ago! November has been a really busy month for the Stories team. In the past, I would attempt to blog at least twice a week so I do need to buck up! I promise that you’ll see more images here on the blog. As a full time mother, entrepreneur and photographer, my life can get pretty hectic. But last week, God spoke to me after I picked up my son from school. He was taking his sweet time to stop at every drain cover to peer into it, and poke his foot into any small hole he could find. I was annoyed and I wanted to move, fast.

But in that precise moment, I heard God’s soft voice telling me, “It’s ok. Just slow down and enjoy the moment with him. It’s about the journey, not just the destination.”

I caught myself. I could have just ranted and raised my tone of voice but I didn’t.

Last weekend, I could have scheduled in more shoots or work, but I made a choice to just go unplugged on a camping trip with my kids and some of their pre-school friends. It felt good to just be present emotionally and physically.

Raising Children of Character

You have heard of the phrase, it takes a village to raise a child. We were raised by our parents the best way they knew how to. Most likely with a rotan in one hand and with their favourite word, “No”. However, in this day and age, I feel that parenting challenges are even greater in this generation. My husband recently wrote and shared this message with some of our family members regarding the upbringing of our kids. In our culture of over-indulging our children, it’s so easy for their generation to grow up inappropriately without us realising it. Some of our friends saw what we wrote and asked if they could share this content with their family members too. Please feel free to do so.

Dearest Grandma, Yeh Yeh, Uncle & Aunts of our kids,
Grace and I would like to really take time to appreciate you for playing such a crucial role in bringing up our children. With your presence, their lives (and ours!) are greatly enriched.

With the changing landscape of culture and life, bringing up kids today as compared to yesteryear differs greatly in so many, many ways. We as parents are constantly grappling with how we should remain relevant with the times and balance what to accept from today versus what should be maintained based on the fantastic values that you sowed into our lives.

Here are some thoughts we’ve put together about a few topics, that we’d love to hear your feedback about. Continue Reading

Happy 4th Birthday, little Krysta

20160813-ALEX_GRACE_10TH_ANNIVERSARY-151Dear Krysta,

It’s been an amazing 4 years together, as your mum. One day, when you read this, know that I love you fiercely with all my heart. We’ve shared laughter together, tears, and silly moments practicing karate chops on imaginary bad people during our storytelling sessions. Just yesterday, I struggled through the day being your mum… it started out as a great day, going out with your Ee Ee (aunty Lina) to the mall…but when we came home, you were really tired and I had a really hard 3 hours with you and your brother, trying to put 2 over-tired toddlers down for their afternoon nap. After 1 hour, I realised a nap is nowhere in sight, so I decided we’ll just have an early dinner and put you to bed.

I guess it’s a combination of me being overly tired too, and temper tantrum outbursts that led me to my own outburst. I am sorry for the times I scolded and disciplined you out of my own anger. Part of me wants an obedient, compliant child, but I know that you have a mind of your own and sometimes, our personalities clash, resulting in crying moments (for both of us). You touched my heart when you saw my tears and took a tissue to wipe the tears away, and suggested that I drank water so I felt better.

I pray that you will grow up to be an amazing woman of God, who is kind, thoughtful and loves people fiercely too. You have a heart of excellence and your meticulous nature reminds me of your dad, who always wants to do things well. I see my own imperfections as I raise you up, and I know that this is God’s way of moulding me to be a better mother too. Love you so much.


Krysta-1 Krysta-2 Krysta-3Krysta-4

Time and The Notion of Success

Recently, a series of events has caused me to think about life, our notion of success and what we do with our time. I came across this post by one of my favourite photographers Jasmine Star, where she talked about the notion of busyness, and how oftentimes, we equate it with success.

“Oh, you’re busy? Your business must be very successful then!”

But she pointed out in her post that rest and relaxation are equal indicators of success… that it is important to have a work-life balance and have time for friends and family members.

A week ago, Alex and I started the first of a series of parenting classes conducted by our church. In this course, we watched a DVD with real, parenting issues as brought up by Nicky and Sila, the trainers. Then we discussed these issues between us and also in a small group setting. Through this course, we were reminded that children really need to feel loved and that one of the ways of filling their emotional tank is to spend intentional time with them.

One of the pitfalls of running your own business is the need to ‘constantly’ work 24-7. There were days when Alex and I would be sitting in bed, but both still replying emails or doing some form of work. It came to a point that I thought it was really unhealthy and we needed to set aside boundaries for ourselves. How easy it is to let time slide by, just doing things that consume us at that point in time, but not really things that are truly important!

In the video for the 1st week, a dad related the story of how he used to tell bedtime stories to his daughter, but every so often, his phone would ring, and she would plead with him to just ignore it and finish the story. He would say, “This is important…” and then one phone call led to another and another, and then half an hour later, he would come back to her room with her fast asleep with the light still on and the book next to her head. But now, if you ask him, he can’t remember a single one of those calls that were ‘truly’ important, or what the content of them were.

It is really my heart’s desire to set aside time for the things that matter in life. The thing is that busyness will always be there. It will always consume us and before we know it, a day has gone by, and then a week, and then a month, or a year. If I don’t make intentional time for my family, or for friends, I’ll soon discover that all I ever did was being ‘busy’ with daily life and tasks.

To end this post, I’d just like to share a little video that Alex and I made. The journey of being a parent has been really amazing and one that we wouldn’t trade for the world. I used to think that being pregnant was a bit of a nuisance and a necessary ‘evil’, especially as a photographer. But after going through it with my first child, I realized there is no real convenient time to be pregnant. It shouldn’t be thought of as a burden, but as a gift. A beautiful gift from God.

Trailer: Krysta+Kyle from Stories on Vimeo.