幾個月前，我答應了接拍一個關於探討婚姻和教育的節目，我作出了慎重的決定，就是帶同女兒一起到尼泊爾的加德滿都一同拍攝。 我認為，正規教育雖然重要，但通過非正式教育（例如：父母的教導和學校以外的經驗實踐）可以讓孩子明白人生的旅途上不單只是學歷，定下目標也同樣重要。 在正規和非正式教育的相輔相承下，我們的孩子可以學習走自己的路和自己尋找答案（自我學習）。
但是女兒的自制能力，讓我感到驚訝。 雖然我不能提供任何啟發性的例子，但是她能夠有適當和合作的表現，又有積極的態度，並設法集中精神擺脫身體和情感上的不適，而不是一味指責、抱怨或抱着消極的態度， 足以令我感到驕傲。
在一次在登上海拔兩千五百米以上高山的兩小時車程中，路程十分崎嶇，而且顛簸蜿蜒，我得到了高山症，不得不踏出車外休息。 我的女兒也暈車和暈船，但是旅程中也保持沉默，因為她知道同行團隊有責任到現場進行拍攝，所以她一次也沒有要求要回頭或別人的幫忙。 最令我驚喜的是，她甚至主動揉我的背，試圖讓我感覺好一些，雖然她可能與我一樣也很辛苦，但她也能表現出同情心，成為這個團隊中的合作者，協助完成工作。
又有一次，我們的團隊訪問了一個尼泊爾家庭，採訪尼泊爾夫婦他們對婚姻習俗的看法，並分享了他們作為父母的特定文化和做法。 而是次受訪的夫婦有兩個可愛的孩子：一個8歲的女兒和16歲的兒子。我和丈夫在房間裏進行拍攝，我的女兒則和8歲的孩子在另一間房裏，女兒嘗試將她謹慎的態度轉化為友好合作，並分享她的電子遊戲和與孩子談話。 雖然這似乎是許多孩子都會做的事，但對於平常謹慎、警惕的女兒而言，這些都不是典型的行為，不過，在陌生的環境中，她選擇了最合適的方法應對。
另一邊，我和丈夫在鏡頭前面訪問夫婦和他們的兒子。 我們錄影前進行了對話，幫助他們了解訪問的內容，那段對話卻令我大開眼界。 我問他們十六歲的兒子兩個基本問題：第一，他會否計劃在短時間交女朋友？第二，他在大學打算讀甚麼？ 「我不知道，但時候到了，我便會知道。」我和丈夫也因為他這個啟發性的答案而感到驚訝。
究竟甚麼學術教育、父母的教導或自我理解的方法，可以令這位16歲的孩子以這樣充滿智慧和輕鬆的方式回答問題？他的能力超出了我的理解和經驗。 他的答案其實是合情合理的， 這意味著「時間到了，我便會知道，一切也隨遇而安。」這個孩子的話是出於真心，對現有的財富（知識和生活）感到滿意，並且有信心知道自己的路該如何走。
每天拍攝完後，我們一家人都會在酒店進行反思。 我們從來不知道我們的反思對話中會有甚麼得著，但是我們作為父母是不應教導孩子事情的「真理」， 我們只能希望在分享過程中，女兒可以找到自己的答案，運用自己的智慧，就像那個16歲的孩子一樣。
Decision Making is Educational
“Education Takes its Own Course”
Several months ago, when I was approached to co-produce a docutainment segment on the topics of ‘Marriage’ and ‘Education’, I made the deliberate choice to include my daughter in this expedition to Kathmandu, Nepal. I believe that as much as formal education is crucial, informal education (e.g. parental teachings and lessons learned outside of school) reinforces the idea that life experiences need to go beyond academics and defined targets. Through the synergy of formal and informal education, our children can learn to find their own path and their own answers (self-learning).
I took my daughter out of school for a week so that she could experience what life is like in countries which are less fortunate (i.e., where natural resources are not readily available, where natural and man-made circumstances prevent the country from developing to a degree which meets 21st century standards).
While my intention was to expose my 9-year-old daughter to a different culture and ways of living as part of her informal lessons, it turns out that she educated me on how children have the ability to be flexible, resilient and kind, more so than we give them credit for.
Kathmandu is as developed as Nepal gets, and yet people are devoid of clean drinking water, paved roads, reliable electricity, and proper drainage systems. Locals may view these as mere inconveniences, while city folks may find these situations intolerable; children used to modern conveniences may either take living under such conditions with a grain of salt or kick and scream every step of the way.
Fortunately, my daughter surprised me with her ability to kick in self-control. Although I can’t offer any explosive examples, the fact that she was able to behave appropriately and cooperatively, had a positive attitude, and managed to focus on moving out of physical and emotional discomforts rather than dwelling on negativity, without blame or complaint, was more than enough to make me a proud parent.
On one eventful car trip of nearly two hours up the mountain towards an altitude of over 2,500 meters above sea level, where the ride was so rough, bumpy, and winding that our buttocks barely touched our seats, I experienced altitude sickness and had to step out of the car to adjust. My daughter, who gets carsick and seasick, remained silent in discomfort throughout. But because she knew that we had the responsibility of getting to the location to film, not once did she ask to turn back nor did she ask for relief. To my pleasant surprise, she even took the initiative to rub my back to try to make me feel better, although what she was experiencing was probably equally disorienting. Even in her time of distress, she was able to show empathy and be a team player to get the job done.
From this experience, my daughter learned to tolerate discomfort, to self-regulate, and to open her heart to others. In turn, she taught me that it’s okay to let our children “suffer”; suffering builds strength and self-understanding.
On another occasion, our team visited a Nepalese family to interview the married couple about their take on their custom of arranged marriages and to share culture-specific parental practices. We were introduced to their two lovely children, an 8-year-old daughter and their 16-year-old son. While my husband and I spent the day in a separate room to film, my daughter stayed in a room with the 8-year-old and managed to transform her usual cautious demeanor into a friendly and cooperative big sister, sharing her video games and deliberately making conversation. Although this may seem typical of many children, it is not typical behavior of my vigilant daughter; however, she somehow managed to display the most appropriate behavior, in the most appropriate manner, despite being in a new environment with new people.
Lessons come in the most unexpected ways.
In the separate room, my husband and I proceeded to talk on-camera with the married couple and their son. While we engaged in small talk to help our guests get acquainted with the cameras, I experienced another eye-opener of the day. I asked the 16-year-old son two basic questions to ease into conversation; the first was whether he’s planning to have a girlfriend any time soon, and the second was what he plans on studying in college. With both questions he stunned my husband and I with the same enlightening answer: “I don’t know, when the time comes I will know.”
What academic teachings, parental nurturance, and self-understanding have granted this 16-year-old the capacity to answer with such wisdom, peace and ease was beyond my comprehension and experience. His answer made perfect sense; it meant that “in time the answer will come to me; let nature take its course.” This young man delivered his words without intention to impress, was satisfied with his existing wealth (knowledge and being), and was fully comfortable with not knowing because he was confident that he would know in time.
We cannot underestimate the strength and wisdom of our children.
Each day after filming, our family would return to the hotel and review the happenings of the day. We are never sure of what lessons may come out of our reflective conversations, but we are conscious as parents never to impose our own versions of the truth. We can only hope that in the course of our sharing that our daughter will find her own answers and discover her own wisdom, just like the sophisticated 16-year-old young man.
I thank the beautiful people of Kathmandu for being friendly and helpful, and for providing my family with a safe environment to confirm the power of schooling (formal education), parental guidance (informal education) and self-learning.