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My son is the only child in the family, so he used to ask my wife and I to accompany him when he’s lonely or bored. We always try to accompany him when he’s playing games, reading books or doing other things.

A few days before the holidays, I woke him up early. My wife had to go to work and I had something to do at home. My son sat next to me bored and complained about how there’s no one to play with him.

At this moment, I realized that because parents spend too much time accompanying their children, they will become too dependent on their parents.

I turned around and said calmly, “Everyone should manage their time wisely. When daddy is busy, you should arrange your own schedule and  read a book or play with a toy. We shouldn’t waste our time by waiting and doing nothing, right?”

My son understood immediately and went to the living room, took a book, and quietly sat down to read. We both were concentrating on our own. After I finished my work, I asked him, “How many pages have you read?” He said that he had read more than a dozen pages and also briefly summarized the book. I felt very happy – he finally learned how to handle his time well.

One afternoon, my son and I went to a small bookstore near our house. My son chose an illustrated storybook about famous, significant figures in Chinese history. I was curious and asked him why he wanted to buy that particular book.

He said, “These stories are short. When daddy and mommy are busy, I can read it by myself and learn some new things.”

Actually, parents’ responsibilities, besides putting the utmost time and effort into raising their kids, is to let children manage their own time and regulate their own lives. Parents cannot accompany their child for his or her entire life, so it is important to allow children to learn how to take control of their time and how to spend it wisely.

This ability will be able to accompany children for the rest of their lives, unlike their parents, and will allow them to live a more meaningful, fulfilling life. 

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Translation:  Ireen Chau

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