2 years ago, my eldest chose to give up on his Chinese. You see, he started failing his Chinese at the beginning of primary two and us parents worked exceedingly hard to help him out. During the day, I supervised his 听写 revision while Joshua drilled him with flash cards and iPhone apps at night before bed almost everyday. We borrowed interesting Chinese comics for him and read them with him. I even did a complete Chinese homeschool curriculum with him during the school holidays. It was a constant struggle in getting him to put in the effort to improve, ending up in much protest and crying from him.
Eventually, after countless ineffective heart-to-heart talks with him, we decided that our relationship with him is far more important and told him that he will get to choose how much effort he wants to put in for his schoolwork. We will be ready to help him whenever he wants and asks for it. Otherwise, if he is happy with failing the subject, we would not argue with him anymore. After all, the whole year's worth of pushing him only served to improve his grades by a mere 4 marks to marginally pass the exam. Thus, even when he refused to go for the school supplementary classes at primary 3, we did not object to his decision. I figured that if he really can't make it in the education system, I can always pull him out to homeschool, worse comes to worst.
I never thought that I would have to "let go" in such a heart-breaking manner with my second child too. For all her 8 years of life, I had put in herculean efforts to help manage her eczema. I tried all sorts of creams and supplements no matter how expensive or difficult to administer. I personally cooked and prepared her every meal for a special detox diet. We went gluten-free and dairy-free despite having to spend double the amount on her groceries. I bought truckloads of tights to protect her legs from dust and allergens. The most tedious thing was that I had to nag at her everyday to moisturise, hydrate or even shower to keep her skin clean.
Yet, she was constantly balking at the dietary restrictions. I am half-deaf from hearing her incessant complaints. She would even lie about having moisturised. So when she started crying the moment we asked her to shower and screamed at us each time we reminded her to moisturise, I decided finally to transfer the ownership of her skin-care entirely to her. She'll get to decide what she wants to eat as with the rest of the children in the family from now on. She can choose whether or not to moisturise or shower.
I can only pray that her condition will not worsen to the point of affecting her daily life. Today marks one of the two most heart-breaking moments in my parenting journey. It is only such moments when I truly understand the father's heart in the parable of the prodigal son.