The joy of having family support during tough times
18 May, 2017
We all face struggles and go through difficult times in life, but when we have the support of family members and are reminded that we’re not alone, these struggles don’t seem so daunting anymore. We also learn to appreciate the unique encouragement of our family members. Two FamChamps students, Paul and Juliet, share their stories of love and family support.
I remember one instance when the love, trust and support of my family members helped me through a difficult time.
After the release of my end-of-year exams in 2015, I found out I had to retain a year due to my bad grades. Though on the surface I tried to put on a front that I was alright and unfazed, the truth was that it made me depressed. Those were the darkest days of my life.
I expected my mother and brother to nag at me as they always have. While I know that they do so out of love and concern for me, my self-esteem was already at its lowest and I did not want to be reminded of my failures and flaws.
Surprisingly, my brother was very understanding and didn’t nag at me like I had anticipated. Instead, he gave me advice on how to improve on my school work, and encouraged me to work hard and not give up. He assured me that hard work can trump talent; if I persisted in working hard, I would see the fruits of my labour in time. The things he said were crucial in helping me cope with the pain of retaining.
It was wonderful to hear my brother say, “It’s fine, what matters is who scores better in the ‘O’ levels,” as he had previously warned me, “Don’t retain, it’s a waste of one year”. Knowing that he did these things to comfort me made me happy and helped me know that I was important to him. I am very thankful to my brother for supporting me in his own special way through that very trying period of my life.
In February 2011, my mother gave birth to my fourth and youngest brother, Joseph. I have always found children a joy, but the feeling of having Joseph in my life is uniquely its own. He is my greatest blessing.
When I first entered secondary school, I found it very difficult to adapt to the new and foreign environment, and struggled with my disappointment at my PSLE grades. Ever since I was a young child, it was hard for me to control my emotions when trying times arose, and this time of adjustment was no exception. I was going through a very rough time, often crying and resenting myself for my poor results.
Whenever Joseph wanted a playmate, he would come knocking on my door. Time and time again, playing with him brought me back to when I was four years old, when I felt as carefree as he was. These times made me feel as though the dark clouds had lifted, and all was happy and well again.
There was this instance, when I was at my all-time low, and I had the negative thought of ending this misery once and for all. Then, hearing a knock on the door, I instantly knew it was Joseph. I quickly wiped away my tears and closed the window, before turning around to open the door for him to come in.
In the midst of our playtime, he asked why I had cried, and the only response I could muster was that something bad had happened in school. Naïvely, he giggled, “Good thing, I no need go school. Don’t cry already, when you want to cry, you must think of happy times like these! Also, remember that I love you Juliet!” Then, pushing his toys aside to clear a path to me, he gave me a tight hug and placed a peck on my cheek.
Though small and simple, this act of kindness and love meant the world to me. He and his words of innocence will always have special place in my heart, and they give me the courage I need to keep going. Every time I feel like crying, thinking of him makes me feel better. This is just one of the many instances where Joseph’s innocent love became my strength when the waves of life hit me hard.
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Paul is currently studying at Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road). He enjoys playing rugby and listening to music.
Juliet currently studies at Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Secondary). She aspires to become a psychologist one day, and enjoys watching movies and listening to music.
By Samantha Chin