MY CHILDREN MY FUTURE
On November 30'08, Sahabat Anak (SA) Cijantung held the fourth Parents Meeting, outside the children’s learning premises. This wass the second time the Cijantung Children’s Parents Meeting was conducted at the Kampus Diakonia Modern Foundation Friendship land in Cileungsi. It adopted the theme “My Children My Family”.
The meeting was aimed to change some of the parents’ perspectives. Most of them still had the paradigm that their children are tools to generate income for their families. This perspective hindered their children’s education and character development.
The parents did not realize that if nurtured, the children’s interests and talents had the potential to increase their living standards. This would allow their children to have other livelihoods instead of singing on streets.
Like other SA recreational events, the children enthusiastically participated in the Parents Meeting. Children gathered at Graha Cijantung bus stop with their parents since 5.30 in the morning, even though the bus was scheduled to pick them up at 06.30 A.M.
The number of participants exceeded the target. There were 32 parents and 73 children who joined the meeting. Despite being all stuffed into one bus this did not lessen their interest in participating.
The meeting started at almost 8 A.M.; participants were divided into two groups. The parents gathered in a group facilitated by Septiari (professional lecturer in education at university and schools) while Kristo Panie and Lina (both were active in children education) facilitated the children group.
The parents’ session ran interactively. Septiari gave her presentation well., Even though the parents mostly could not read or write, butthey did understand her explanations and did not lose interest.
Septiari started the session by asking the parents to explore how much they knew their children. She asked mothers, with the help of Cijantung volunteers, to write down what were their children’s habits and hobbies and who were their closest friends. This opening activity disclosed how much attention were given by the parents to their children.
Next, the parents were given an explanation on how to create happiness in family. There were many ways to support their children in reaching their goals without the abundance of money.
Septiari also explained the importance of and how to provide parental support for a children’s positive activities to uncover their talents and interest. These activities, if encouraged, may help increase living standards economically. Formal educations alone without skills, talents and interests will not lead them to success. This was something that Septiari kept emphasizing to the parents.
Septiari shared true stories that happened to regular people who successfully reached their goals although they did not have much money. Talents, determination and support from their closest family or friends were the keys of success.
The parents responded enthusiastically with questions regarding issues surrounding their family. Septiari closed the session with mediation, parents were asked to close eyes and picture their children’s faces. Parents were asked to start thinking that children are gifts from God with different characters and talents, unique and withthe right to living their best with the support of their families They are the future of their families.
In the other session, seventy three children also played and learned, led by Kristo and Lina. Theme of the games was still related to goals and dreams: how to reach them and how education plays a part in it.
Kristo and Lina emphasized that formal and non formal education are both really important for helping them reach their goals.
The group games also taught Cijantung children about team work and appreciating people’s opinion so they can fit in well and be respected by the people around them.
In the closing session, parents and children were reunited in one room. Volunteers announced and distributed Cijantung children’s study reports for theyear. This report distribution was a routine activity conducted at every year end to show parents what their children have achieved throughout the year.
Joy sparkled on the faces of those who performed well in their classes. Each child received presents. The event closed with the parents and thechildren singing together and a prayer for the travel back home.
It was fortunate that everything went smoothly despite the bad weather on the way home. Heavy rain fall and the modest transportation resulted in some of the children and parents getting wet.
But despite all of that, the volunteers could not forget one thing a mother said after the event: “Thank you Kak, please help my child to reach his dream so he would not live a hard life like I did.”