Smart Parenting: If it is to be, it is up to me



Read more: Smart Parenting: If it is to be, it is up to me

DURING a recent talk in a school, I heard an inspiring story about some parents who decided to do something about the school traffic situation.

A year earlier, many parents had come forward to voice out concerns regarding the situation in front of the school. Every morning, there was a massive congestion when parents dropped their kids and nearby residents left for work.

Tempers flared occasionally and minor accidents were reported.

The parents then decided to take action. Through the Parents Teachers Association, they worked with the local authority to turn the road into a one-way street. However, the rule was blatantly ignored by a few drivers.

The parents brainstormed on how to deal with the problem. Options were presented, ranging from engaging a traffic warden to the extreme step of installing “tyre spikes”.

I’m not sure which option they finally chose but this is a fine example of what I call 10-90 Rule: 10 per cent complaining and 90 per cent taking action.

When things are not right, we should be the first to recognise and come forward to fix them because other people will have their own battles and priorities.

“If it is to be, it is up to me.” These are the most powerful bunch of two-letter words in the English language, first coined by William H. Johnsen, because they empower people to take action rather than wait for things to happen.

Reckless drivers always upset me. What more if the road is right in front of a school where children may just dash out of nowhere in their fun chase with friends.

On more than one occasion, I have had to play traffic warden because some drivers do not care to slow down, let alone stop, for the poor children who are trying to cross the street.

It’s so liberating and fulfilling when we choose to take action. It’s not about trying to be a “hero” or something. It is just about doing what’s right.

We can also put this concept to work at home. Instead of just complaining about how children misbehave, go down to see what is causing the problem.

Are the little ones getting enough attention? What kind of attitudes are they having? Take action to correct the situation. If our daily schedules are too full, cut something out. If our priorities do not include the family, change them right away.

Be aware that each action (or inaction) comes with a consequence. Playing and spending time with our children today will create a strong bond that may prove useful in their teenage years.

Our loving actions today will help shield them from temptations and negative elements tomorrow. Our active involvement in their studies now will push
them to do better in the coming examinations. Just a few minutes of quality time together is usually enough to create a lasting impact.

In life, we will always have a choice of “to do” or “to ignore”. By doing something about the things that we firmly believe need fixing, we are not only making this world a better place to live but we also experience a sense of achievement.

The writer is a certified parental coach and author of two best-selling books, Smart Parents, Brighter Kids and Smart Parents, Richer Kids. Catch him at his Smart Parenting seminar on April 9 (Shah Alam), April 15 (Smart Kids Education Fair) and April 30 (Miri). Details at or write to him at


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