Benefit of the Doubt

Benefit of the Doubt

Dear Boys,

Sometimes the best things in life lies in the gray area we like to call ‘Benefit of the Doubt’ or for the sake of this discussion, ‘BOTD’.

I’m a Piscean and I believe that there is always a certain level of abstract in everything. You cannot live in an absolute world, and you’ll die stressed trying to get to the bottom of everything, fact is you’ll get to the bottom of your grave sooner than you can get to the bottom of anything!

So to think BOTD is to help us understand the fabric of life, how things interweave in such a complex and mulit-dimensional manner, that there is always more than one way to see the truth to things. If I may loosely quote Einstein puts it ‘Everything is relative.’

So if you’re looking at a matter from one angle, and thinks that that is how the situation should be seen, think again, you might have missed the whole crux of the matter by being too mypoic about being too anal over your angle. BOTD allows you to take a step back and give yourself that mental space to rethink a difficult situation, and that mental space and gap will enable you to re-calibrate your cognitive wheel to spin perhaps counter-clockwise so as to get your eureka moment.

…there is always more than one way to see the truth to things.

BOTD also allows a meaningful relationships with our friends and loved ones. If they are late for an appointment with us, or they did something to hurt us, we will have an explanation of why we are hurt, that will not and never correspond with the explanation from the person/ people who have hurt us. They might not know, they might have done so for other reasons which was never meant to cause you harm or distress. While you may never understand it from their point of view, you can understand it from yours. BOTD gives you your grace to understand and forgive others for their misdeeds.

But it is not an excuse for you to do badly in life. When we are tasked to do something, we must do our best, find out what we can, treat others with integrity and give those who love us our best. Remember, BOTD is an caveat, last resort when you did your black and white, and what is left behind are the gray. neither black, not white, then that is the reasonable Benefit of the Doubt.

While I urge you to chase the truth and find out whatever facts you can about life, based on the evidences you have gathered, please bear in mind, you can never get absolute truth, there will always be a doubt, and there are benefits in the doubt which will allows you to life a happier, more forgiving life.

The Brave One

The Brave One

Dear Ian,

There is always a point in time where you decided

to take charge and decide for yourself. That defining moment came to me when we visited Sentosa Adventure Cove (http://www.rwsentosa.com/language/en-US/Homepage/ThingsToDo/MarineLifePark/AdventureCoveWaterpark) last weekend.

It was one of those water theme parks, we have all been to Wild Wild Wet(http://www.wildwildwet.com/), you’ve been to the water slides and the river-like float.

These are the things we did and my proudest moment was when we went to the Rainbow Reef, it’s a large fish tank where the simulate a snorkeling environment.

I have never snorkel, ever. All I can relate to is pictures of people snorkeling, and I didn’t know the reality of it. First thing that hit me, and you I’m sure was how cold the water was. While we played at the wave pool and the River, the water was warm, well at least warmer than that of the Rainbow Reef. The next thing that hit me, was the unfamiliar equipment, I didn’t know that a snorkel mask covers the nose, cView from underwater completely. Now that I’ve worn one, I can understand the logic, since you are breathing through a tube, with your mouth, it made sense to shut out the nose.

I didn’t now that. And I didn’t know how to prepare you for it as well. Oh, didn’t I mention the tank was 2.9 metres deep?

It was difficult for you, I can tell, firstly, you are not that great a swimmer, yet. and the mask was giving you a problem, I’d wanted to play it safe and count your effort to try was commendable, but you decided to hang on, also against the better judgement of the Chinese life guard.Ian surfacing

He thought you didn’t dare as well, and for safety sake, I would agree with him. You don’t even date to straighten out your legs. when we move off the ledge. Twice I have to pull you back to the ledge and adjust the mask for you. You didn’t seem to understand the concept of the snorkel, and you have to breath through that.

Ian in his first time snorkeling

I wanted to call it quits. But you said to try one more time.

This time, with the lifeguard’s suggestion, I lay you face down, leg straightened and let the buoyancy of the life vest float you. Once you look comfortable face down, breathing through the snorkel, I took you off the ledge!

If there is any highlights this year of being a dad, this would count as one of them, because there I was, your dad, the only person you can count on, in the pool, holding me while you simply enjoyed yourself with the experience. Nothing could replace that feeling, where you know your son is holding onto you, in his own innocent world, enjoying the fishes, trying to talk through his snorkel, while the dad, does the propulsion. It is a feeling of certain measurement of trust, between a father and his son.

the base of the 2.9m pool

Your mum is just as proud of you as I did, and really, that was the defining moment, where you made a big step out of the little Ian and into a slightly larger, more responsible Ian. There was a certain level of confidence you had, when you said to try it again. I can tell you are not forcing it, there was not uncertainty, you knew you could do this and you did, and I’m glad you did.

First published in May 21, 2013

Our Chat-Integrity, Mistakes and Corrections

IMG_0674_Fotor_Collage

Dear Ian,

We had a bit of a spelling test a couple of days back and you wanted to check your own work on your own. Unbeknownst to me, you have decided to take it upon yourself to check your own work but I took your work over and check, and as your father, you protested, I ignored.

And not only did I go through your current spelling work, I went through your previous week’s spelling work too. And that too you protested. I can see that it was also ‘self marked’ and you marked everything as correct. That is where I knew it was an opportunity for a parenting lesson.

While I dig into your past week’s work, I found more spelling mistakes from those you marked with a ‘tick’. Some words are obviously wrong. ‘intolarable‘, ‘whimppered‘, ‘inauidible‘, which you marked as correct. There was also problems with your dictation, some sentences are missing entirely.

…trust yourself by not trusting yourself

You started to cry, and I wondered why? There was a huge egotistical defense mechanism coming up from you. You couldn’t really tell me why you cried and actually do not want me to check on your past week’s work. Your explanation was that it is already over, so we don’t have to go back to it to check.

That is a mindset I needed to address.

I brought to your attention why there is a need to let others check your work, and be brave to own up to your mistakes, present or past. I told you that we cannot hide from our mistakes, especially those that we put pen to paper. We have to have the courage to go back into the past to fix them, correct them, so that they will not come back to haunt us in the future. And we need to fix those mistakes, because mistakes not fixed in the past will eventually become the ‘truth’ we take as real in the future. One example was ‘harvsack’, you wrote that once in your dictation, and you didn’t pick it up as a mistake, it turned up on your second dictation as, guess what? ‘harvsack’. A wrong is a wrong, and too many wrongs will cause one to assumed it to be right, and I’m sure you are not out to change the word ‘haversack’ to ‘harvsack’ right? If you are on that quest, then good luck to you.

Integrity

More importantly, through our conversation, you said that you knew that some of the word is wrong and you have ‘mentally corrected them’. And you put a ‘tick’ over it.

That is where I pointed out to you the value of integrity. You need to be honest to yourself, a tick means right, a cross means wrong, and if you put a tick over a wrong, but mentally corrected the wrong, who is to know that you’ve actually corrected the wrong? And 2 years later, when we look back at the same page, will we still remember that you actually ‘mentally corrected it’? On top of that you put ’15/15′ when it should be ’12/15′ irrespective the ‘mental corrections’, a wrong means a wrong.

Your school have 4 ‘houses’ R.I.C.E- Respect, Integrity, Compassion, Excellence

It gave me a good opportunity to tell you about ‘integrity’. Which means you need to be brutally honest with yourself and when you found yourself with a ‘wrong’, you must do what is right and make a wrong, wrong. Only then the corrections can start and have a meaning.

Smart people seek help

Like I said it, always look for people to help you with your work, with your marking. it is an irony, trust yourself by not trusting yourself. Always knows that we humans are prone to errors. I also pointed out to you in so many of the ‘Air Crash Investigations‘ documentary we watch on TV, so many of the Pilots and their First Officers, failed to check on one another and resulted in deadly, tragic events. The problem is, even after one crash, after all the investigations and corrective, improvements made, decades later, similar crashes still happen. And even with 2 very smart, competent people, such errors still happen, so for us, we need to check and double check, enlist the help of others so that we can be doubly sure.

Always look to work with people smarter than you, so that you can learn. Never mind that some of these smart people might belittle you, mock you. Then  just walk away, with a lesson learned that some smart people you’ve approached are actually not that smart. Keep looking to challenge yourself by working with smart people, getting smart people to check your work.

Not looking back

And if you have given your all, your 110%, you would not need to worry about people checking back on you. You do not need to look over your shoulders. You can let people check your work from Primary 1 to now, and you’d be satisfied that you’ve done your best. Then you will no fear of the past, no fear of regrets. You are only 11, you’ll go 20, 30, 40 and more, doing many, many things that will come back and bite you if you are not giving your all.

I hope you can learn from this as this is a very important lesson in getting the right attitude in life, and I’m glad I was at home to talk to you about this.