It Takes a Village to Raise a Child – and Grow the Parents

Daryl TanFeature

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child – and Grow the Parents

For Jovalene Teo, volunteering in Catholic High School’s Catholic Parents Community has moulded her as a parent to understand the importance of being involved in the faith of her children. Having served in this community for some time, she has, in turn, gained much parenting wisdom from other parents grounded in the Word of God.

I came to know about Catholic High School’s (CHS) Catholic Parents Community through a fellow Catholic mother who was already serving in the community. Though a busy full-time working mum, I firmly believe in actively providing parental support in a child’s school environment.

One of my earliest involvements was assisting at the school’s prayer session in the chapel. Starting in 1992, the group has evolved to mobilise more help from parents of CHS boys as we went along.

Serving the School Together
CHS today is blessed with strong parental support. The infrastructure provides us parents with platforms to be involved in the nurturing of children in school.

For those of us in the Catholic Parents Community, we see parents as the first and foremost educators of our children, and believe that ensuring their holistic formation is essential to leading and guiding them well.

In my time volunteering in this community, I have learnt that the school’s strength in character building, academic excellence and sports excellence are built upon the evangelical counsels of faith, hope, and love. Only with such a foundation can our children then grow authentically in these virtues.

Through this community, we are able to support the school in nurturing the students in their faith. We help in organising alternate-weekly Masses and chapel sessions, the Easter Fair, children’s Eucharistic Adoration and even an annual Day of Recollection for parents and children. We also run Parents’ Faith Formation, which include monthly parents’ prayer group sessions and formation talks by our chaplain Fr Joe Lopez.

Growing Together
Being aware that I am a child of God has greatly formed my parenting ways. God has His plans for everyone, and I believe in His unconditional love and the potential of every child. It is deeply meaningful for me to support the educators in bringing up our next generation holistically.

There is also much camaraderie amongst fellow parents who selflessly step forward to volunteer their time and resources to help in the nurturing of their kids. I am extremely grateful that amongst my fellow parents in this community, I am able to share and relate common parenting woes and pick up parenting wisdom grounded in the Word of God. There have been struggles while walking this journey. Often, I find myself saying yes too readily to all sorts of requests, which has led to me being overwhelmed by the responsibilities that come with my service.

As human beings, struggles within the community tend to arise from time to time. Likewise, we have conflicting ideas with other support groups at times, so managing these differences and our competing priorities can be challenging.

Being involved in this community has taught me to discern in prayer and to ask the Holy Spirit to guide my decisions, as many a time I have learnt that managing differences and juggling tasks cannot be accomplished through human effort alone. I have also learnt to always come back to Jesus for my inner peace and to remember that all I do has to always be grounded in the love of God.

Reflecting on His Call
God calls me to serve so He can use me to refl ect His light. I believe this is the fundamental call for me as a parent volunteer. Moreover, in this Catholic Parents Community, we are centred on love, hope, and our faith in God. Sharing in this endeavour together, we volunteer our limited time and resources out of our love for God and for the CHS students.

It has been indeed a great blessing serving in this community, I grow not only as a parent but also as a person. I am able to put my faith in action very concretely.

Because of platforms like this, parents can come together to give of themselves towards the nurturing of their children’s faith. The children are able to witness the parents’ dedication and effort in putting God at the centre of our lives, while juggling work, household and other commitments.

It is my hope that my childrenmay grow up to be inspired to serve.