Written by Katherine Luo and Cheryl Tan
Edited by Dilber Shatursun
May is a special time for Tzu Chi Academy, or TCA, to celebrate and give thanks to parents, who work tirelessly day and night to see to our every need. Because Father’s Day takes place in the summer when TCA is not in session, the school held a Parent’s Day event on May 11th, 2019, to honor both parents.
This Parent’s Day event encompassed more than just mothers and fathers: we wanted to celebrate and thank all the adults in our lives that have shaped us into the people we are now. This includes our aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, and so much more.
Every year, as the most senior students at TCA, we take charge of planning this event. Through this, we hope to show our gratitude to our parents by taking all they have given us and give back by helping other students show appreciation to their parents. We wanted to create an event that would facilitate this while also allowing parents and children to spend quality time together.
Aside from playing fun games that encourage bonding and teamwork, we developed several activities that would allow our students to gain a better understanding of the effort that goes into raising a child.
We began the event by giving each student an egg to take care of like their own child for the duration of the school day, allowing them to adopt the role and simulate the responsibilities of a parent. The students loved this activity because they relish the accomplishment derived from taking care of their egg and keeping it safe all day. Some students were so upset when they accidentally broke or cracked their egg that they even promised to try again at home.
Another activity we carry out yearly, is to record each student sending a thank-you message to their parents for a video compilation. It is very touching to observe how the students think long and hard about what to say to their parents, and the parents’ reactions when the video messages were screened.
As the students have gotten older, their messages have gotten longer, with more heartfelt details and sincerity. The contrast between the messages from the youngest four-year olds and the oldest graduating seniors is all the more moving, highlighting the students’ increasing awareness of their parents’ hard work.
To be able to show our students another side of being a parent that they might not have considered, we held a short story and discussion session in small groups. The story is told from the perspective of a mother who gently reminds her child to be patient and understanding when her old age causes her to lapse in simple daily functions. She asks her son to remember how she had gone through the same process with him when he was young.
For us as students, we often fail to consider the woes of our parents, being so preoccupied with our own inner turmoils. By reading this story, we wanted to showcase the other side that children may not necessarily see: their parents’ daily sacrifices. We were deeply moved by the responses of the students: each showed an impressive depth of understanding of the impact and consequences of their attitude and behavior.
We hope that the students were able to spend more quality time with their parents, and understand how much our parents do to take care of us. Our parents have been with us for every step of our lives, cheering us on through the difficulties and sharing our joys.
We are very grateful to Tzu Chi Academy for allowing our class the opportunity to host this event. Our hard work and many long nights of planning paid off when we saw all the smiles and heard all the laughter. Even though Mother’s and Father’s Day is only once a year, we want our students to realize that their love and appreciation should be shown every day, through every action big or small.We wish everyone a wonderful Parent’s Day!