Saturday, May 11, 2013

An unforgettable lesson

Growing up, mum taught me many essential and practical things. Like how to mince garlic the right way, or how vegies must be cooked just right before lunch/dinner and served piping hot, or how cake mix must always be stirred in the same direction consistently to incorporate the air in properly.

But one unforgettable and profound lesson I learnt from her the hard way was: How NEVER to dodge and lie about school work.

This is the story…

I was around seven eight years old at that time. One afternoon after I arrived home school, my mum routinely went through my school bag to clear my snack box and probably to check my homework. Inside she found a construction paper with an unfinished drawing. So she asked me about it.

After going round the bush a little, she got it out from me that it was a drawing I was meant to have finished and handed in to the teacher at Moral Education class. But as I didn’t finish it in time, I had hidden it away in my school bag and kept quiet about it.

It may sound like just a little thing, but my mum took it very seriously. She told me immediately that I must go back to school to see the teacher, apologise for what I did and hand the work in. I was very upset by this time and was bawling my eyes out, begging to be let off. But mum remained firm on the matter. She hauled me to the car and drove me back to the school.

I attended a convent/mission school attached to the local Catholic church and my Moral Education teacher was actually one of the nuns at the church convent. Mum marched me right up the door of the nun’s quarters located next to the school and asked for the Sister A.

[Right Photo: Typical outfit of the the sisters at the convent attached to give you an idea what they looked like. Image Source]

Sister A came down to meet us, probably a little puzzled as to what was happening. She listened to my mum’s explanation of the situation. Mum then prompted me to say what I had to come to say. I immediately burst into tears and bawled out my confession and apology.

I vaguely remember a twitch at the corner of Sister A’s mouth, but she smiled kindly as she spoke to me and accepted my apology and told me it was okay.

Looking back in retrospect, the issue itself was actually not that a big of a deal and could have been easily overlooked or ignored by a lesser parent than my mother. I can imagine now how mum must have been tired after work or been preoccupied with handling the afternoon chores and cooking. But she chose not to let this opportunity for correcting a misdeed and reinforcing a value go by.

So, mum, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for trudging through the tough life lessons with me. Happy Mother’s Day.


  1. Gosh! I've forgotten about that episode. It was an agonising moment for me too but I wanted to instill integrity and honesty in work. It would be easier to dodge doing things the second tie round. But perhaps I could have used a softer approach. No hard feeling I hope.

    1. Oh, no hard feelings at all! I actually laugh now as I look back on it. I was just recalling this story when another mum in our parenting class shared about a similar episode she had with her son at school. I believe it was an important lesson you had to go through with me. And I believe I realized that even at that time when I was going through the guilt and remorse of my actions back then.

  2. This was both moving and amusing at the same time ;) Great story, great lesson!

    1. Thanks Adriana :)
      Great story and great lesson indeed, thanks to my dear mum!


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