It is about the journey … not the destination!
by Albert G

Imagine how a bowl of assam laksa can ripple into a 2 hour conversation…

I was sharing  assam laksa with a fellow Penangnite yesterday who was just as crazy about this dish as I am. We talked about how this particular dish was prepared when growing up in Penang, how the noodles were handmade from grains of rice, grinded and made into the final noodle product. We talked about the hours of picking/peeling the fish flesh from the bones, the hours it took to brew the soup…

Reminiscing the busy-ness in the kitchen in my Penang kitchen, I could see my grandmother standing over the stove, stirring the soup, tasting and instructing us what to do next. My aunty was busy preparing the salad and guiding us how to julienne the salad, and would be reminding us “this is a nonya dish”, the presentation is important and refined… Pay attention to the knife skills and how to position the raw ingredients so that they can be julienned to perfection… … I could still hear their voices, their faces, their laughter, their guidance and the aroma of the soup brewing  … these all still lingers in the air. It was still so clear as though it was just yesterday.

So as you can see, our bowls of assam laksa are not just noodle soups, they are filled with our memories, our experiences, our heritage… it is about who we are!

So what can we learn from the assam laksa experience and why is it important?

Just like our assam laksa noodle dish, it is not about getting the dish cooked properly or tastefully (yes they are important), but more importantly, it is about those shared moments of all the activities: stirring the gravy and tasting it, shifting the flour and making the noodles together, peeling those onions and garlic and pounding the paste, picking the fish flesh from the bones, buying the fish directly from the fishermen straight from their catch (story for another day) to cleaning the fish, boiling them and peeling. Recalling those cooking/life lessons that were ingrained in us through our kitchen conversations … and to finally sitting down together to enjoy our shared creativity…

Your relationship with your child/children is about shared experiences together, i.e. laughing to a tummy-ache moment, being silly together, those upset moments, those “I miss you” moments, those door slamming moments, those arguments, those “coming home too late and why are you so late” worried moments… those are the bonding gold nuggets opportunities.

For example – your child sitting on your lap reading books together… The process of reading together is about your child feeling your closeness, your presence, cementing their self confidence and esteem by you giving him/her your focus and time.  Thus they believe that they are loved and cherished, by listening to your soothing voice and enjoying each other’s company.

It is not so much about the reading the book or the story (yes, it is important as well), but more importantly, it is about the process of sharing the emotional space and the precious bonding moments together.

It does not matter what you do, the aim is to enjoy your child/children’s company, to consciously make time to create the space and presence to communicate, to share and to connect with them. It is about your family and the quality time you share with them.

By the end of the day, your children will not remember nor care whether you went to a luxury holiday or have an expensive meal in the most expensive restaurant in town; but they will always remember how they feel about the experiences and memories they shared with you.

Remember… It is about the journey your share together and not so much about the destination!

Have a wonderful day with your family!