The Parent Trap

CHALLENGE RULES

1. For two weeks, intentionally set aside time to have a conversation with your parents.
2. Take the initiative to approach your parents, start a conversation, and find out something new about them every day!
3. If you get stuck, refer to our quick tips on the next page for some help. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED?

Challenger: JIA HUI, 16
We usually have dinner together and talk casually over our meal. However, sometimes when we are busy or when we come home late, we don’t really have time to talk much. Sometimes Jia Yi, my mum, and I will have heart-to-heart talks without my dad.

Challenger: JIA YI, 19
I usually come back late on weekdays around 10 or 11pm, so it’s quite difficult to find time to talk to my parents. On Sundays, we will have dinner together. We feel that we do know our parents relatively well, as they try to make an effort to better understand what is happening in our lives. However, Jia Hui and I do not always have a complete understanding of their struggles, thoughts and emotions.

INITIAL THOUGHTS
When we first received this challenge, we were honestly a little afraid and also felt that it could be quite awkward. While asking “how was your day?” or “what was interesting today?” is okay because we usually do that already, asking our parents about their struggles, thanksgiving, and prayer requests is definitely out of our comfort zone! However, we are excited to do this because we feel that this challenge will be very meaningful as it will allow our conversations to go beyond the superficial level.

THE CHALLENGE
Day 1-2: These first two days have been challenging as it took us some courage to approach our parents and ask them questions that we usually wouldn’t think about asking. We still did it anyway, after much prompting from each other and side-glancing at each other — neither of us wanted to go first!

Day 3-4: Things were still a little awkward, and our parents seemed surprised to hear our questions. But at the same time, they were more than willing to share their life with us. We were actually quite happy at their willingness to share with us!

Day 5-6: Jia Yi was not home these two days because she was busy studying for exams. I (Jia Hui) felt a little scared to talk to our parents alone, but did it anyway.

Day 7-8: After a whole week of intentional conversations, things have gotten a lot less awkward and their responses have opened our eyes to see things through their perspective. We now understand that even though they are our parents, they still have their own personal struggles.

Day 9-10: Jia Hui was not home but I (Jia Yi) could easily and naturally ask our parents questions; In fact, our parents turned the tables on me to ask about my day and about how I am coping in university! We had a really meaningful conversation over dinner that I enjoyed!

Day 11-12: We went out with our mum to celebrate the end of Jia Yi’s exams! We had a good meal, a good time of laughter, and a great time of mother-daughter bonding. We also heard from our mum that our dad was stressed at work. We were reminded that as he is still an unbeliever, we should keep him in prayer for his salvation as well as for his daily life in general.

Day 13-14: I (Jia Yi) had a fun time with mum when Jia Hui and dad did not come home for dinner. Mum spontaneously made instant noodle hotpot and we had a really good time chatting over dinner alone. The next day, I (Jia Hui) went out with dad to Gardens by the Bay for his company family event, and I got a glimpse of how much dad is respected at work and how seriously he treats his work and cares for his co-workers. During our time alone, we also managed to engage in casual conversations and reminisce about the good old days when we were younger. Through this challenge, we’ve gotten to know our parents a lot more and we are extremely proud to be able to call them our parents!

FINAL THOUGHTS
Over the past two weeks, we realised that our parents have their struggles and challenges and they are still learning. As children, we should honour them and show them grace when they seem edgy or frustrated.

It is really possible to include these conversations into our daily lives! Besides, these conversations are common with our friends and so it shouldn’t be difficult with our parents.

Just as we intentionally meet friends, we should do the same for family.

We realised that we often overlook and take for granted the people closest to our hearts; our family. We have learnt the importance of investing in family and treasuring each other. Even though we live under the same roof, each of us can go through very different experiences each day. Personally, as children, we might just be the biggest source of support and joy to our parents; the smallest actions we do can have the greatest impact on their day.

Stuck? Use these questions!

You don’t need a fixed time to talk to your parents. Take advantage of car rides, meal times, or even just while you’re relaxing at home!

1. How was your day?
2. Did anything interesting happen today?
3. What was the biggest struggle you faced today?
4. Is there anything I can keep you in prayer for? 

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