The best compliment I’ve ever received

We often get complimented by our friends, family members or colleagues.

A few days ago, I received a compliment from an unexpected source.

We visited the condo where we used to live, and the security guard who had worked there for more than 10 years recognised us. Upon learning that we had moved out, he said, “Your family is very good.”

I smiled at him, and he continued.

“Really. I know. I work here many, many years. You never talk bad about others, never complain. Your mum and dad are very kind.”

When the kids were growing up, my dad would drop my mum over everyday to help with the kids, and on the weekends, both of them will come over.

Following in our footsteps

I thanked him and went our way.

The few words that he said, and the depth of how he said it lingered in my mind.

We had not done anything big. Perhaps it was in the smiles we gave. Perhaps it was how we asked the children to greet the cleaners and guards. Perhaps it was simply making them feel acknowledged and valued.

As young children, we grew up watching how our parents interacted with the people in our neighbourhood.

My mum was friends with many of our neighbours, and they helped one another out by minding each other’s children when something cropped up.

I still have vivid memories of the garbage collector, a tanned man with long hair, always busy near a huge, smelly collection point at the corner of the carpark. My mum never steered us away from him but would stop to chat and we kids even had an endearing name for him – “Uncle in a basket”. Don’t ask me how that came about.

Mum was also well-acquainted with many of the bus conductors as we lived near the interchange. Some of them knew our weekend schedule so well that if we were a few minutes late, they would wait for us knowing that we had some class or other to rush off to.

When we moved and renovated our house, my mum would make an effort to go over regularly to give the workers cold drinks and snacks.

In today’s mercenary world, it is so much about what we can get out of our dollar. About making every minute count.

In the rush of life, there is little space for simple human kindness, and our children lose out.

Parents are indeed the first teachers, not only by instruction but by living out values in action.

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~