I went to a pasar malam for some food to break my fast yesterday evening. I stopped by at this stall selling all kinds of rice by a couple who has 3 kids. These kids are between 1-5 years old. How did I know? I asked! Why did I bother? Because they were all there playing around happily under the evening sun, AND around a deep frying pan drizzling with fried chicken in it!!!! Woahhh.. ! I was so scared of them that I watched them all the time I was there! I was so scared if any one of them especially the one-year-old tripped over the pan, GOSH!! And the parents were so busy with the customers.. but once in a while they would call out for the kids to "behave". At one point the two older kids sat on a stool (adult size) with their legs hanging down, then the little sister also wanted to do the same. Again, I was on the brink of saying.. no.. don't put her on it.. she's too small to be on the stool and can easily fall down. But upon her whining, her father scooped her and put her on the stool. And true enough, just a few minutes she just simply jumped from the stool, and fell down on the tarred road. And amazingly.. she DID NOT cry. I made a remark to the mother of how tough her little girl was. And the mother replied, yeah she's very tough.. and very active! After that the father scooped her again, this time onto a stroller.. phewhhh.. what a relief.. away from the frying pan!
The whole time then I was thinking, this is one tough family, a rather young couple with 3 small kids, selling rice to make their living and raising the kids. These kids are tough kids, they basically spend their time not in a comfort of a house but under the sun and the moon, or maybe in their parents' van. They are oh so exposed to lots of things, dangerous things like the frying pan (THIS really give me a loud and fast heartbeat!!), strangers in the market, god knows what in the drain near the stall, and possibly virus in the air! There is no comfort of a bed for their afternoon nap, no cooling fan, no freshing up since late evening to nite, and toilet... where is the toilet in pasar malams?? And what time is their bed time if their parents are there until maybe 10pm? And yet.. these kids survived and they are the tough ones. And their parents are tough parents too! To have the heart bringing the kids, and exposing them to all sort of things.. just to make ends meet! I pray that nothing bad will happen to them and wish they will have better lives (then again who am I to judge whether they have a bad life!!)
When I see and think of all these, I tend to feel so lucky for myself and my children. To have all the comfort of life and to be able to raise my kids not in the "hard" environment. And making sure they have the best of things. I really hope that my kids would be able to appreciate the comfort that we've given them without complaining so much. I hope someday they would understand the pain, the hardship that other kids go through.
Perhaps one way to teach them to be more appreciative is by showing them the hardship experienced by other people, or let them feel what it's like for a while or so (send them out on the streets??).