TTF: I spent a good 25 years in Penang.
In the later part of those years – from 2009 to 2017 – I offered free counselling to parents, children and couples that felt they needed a fresh perspective on life and their problems.
I met many kids who came from broken homes.
I met many others who came from so-called loving environments but seemed more trapped and lonely than those from the broken homes.
Everyone had a unique story to tell.
Everyone had a completely different worldview that sometimes overwhelmed me.
In each kid I saw a little of myself.
The more I met, the more I realised, that if I were to meet a million more and listen to each and every one of their problems, I’d end up solving my own.
Yes, there is a little of you in everyone out there – a little of your spirit, your aspirations, your hopes, your visions – that somehow is braided though the fabric of life and manifests itself in unique ways.
Because you and the guy next door had very different experiences, each of you pick a little essence of the same fabric in very different ways.
To unite as a human race is to understand, and learn, that the guy next to you isn’t living in any world other than the one you’re living in and may only need to find the right thing to say to resonate with you.
If you can appreciate this, you will appreciate, that there is no point in trying to force your convictions upon others, as at the end of the day, all of us harmonise at some level through the fabric of life.
If you haven’t got this right, you’ve got nothing.
Allow me to leave you with this wonderful piece by Teoh Pei Ying who seems to have his ears tuned to the rhythm of life.
KUALA LUMPUR: Good parenting skills are crucial to prevent teens from running away from home.
Shelter Home for Children therapy and counselling head Vincent Pee said although there were many reasons why teens ran away from home, lack of parental understanding and the child’s need for a meaningful sense of belonging have been identified as main factors.
“From my experience, teenagers run away because they seek freedom as their home environment is too constrictive.
“Some claimed to have parents who are breathing down their necks, while others mentioned being physically abused at home.
“Because of this, they seek shelter at their friends’ homes and disappear for months.
“Some may return home, while others sever ties with their family.”
Shelter is a registered welfare organisation set up in 1981 to help abused, abandoned, neglected or at-risk children.
Pee said social empathy was vital in understanding why youngsters turn wayward.
“When they feel that no one understands them, they will go to people who are willing to listen to them,” he told the New Sunday Times.
Pee said Shelter provided counselling to teens who seek help in dealing with problems at home and in school.
“Those who run away are usually secondary school students.
“For them, running away is the easiest way to deal with the situation — by escaping from the unhappy environment.”
He said identifying the root cause would resolve the social issue.
“At the same time, we try to help the parents.
“We remind them about the importance of understanding their kids and to listen, engage and provide encouragement, instead of scolding them.
“This will build a strong sense of belonging,” he said.
He said parental guidance would pave the way for children to find their way back home.
Pee said if those who ran away from home returned, parents should be willing to let go of the past and give them a second chance.
“Engage more with the kids. Give them hope if they have no interest in public schools by exploring other possibilities, such as vocational or technical schools.”
Pee suggested a centre for the teens be set up by the government to help them with the problems.
He said parents should get help from experts when it comes to improving their relationship with their children.
“Talk to counsellors or therapists instead of neighbours or relatives, which could worsen the situation,” he said, adding that the Social Welfare Department and religious leaders could assist in providing such services.