Saturday, November 30, 2019

Learning From The Monkey

JJ sat for the Physics papers, the last of the SPM exams, a couple of days ago. She's so relieved and exceedingly happy that it's all over. Except that daddy has reminded her that it isn't over yet! Now the long wait for the results. But in the meantime, she has quite a lot of things lined up for the next few months, the first of which is the curious desire to dye her hair green. Of all the colours, why green?

I can't picture myself having green hair, not that I'm planning to dye my hair green anytime soon. I had an interesting conversation with her mommy in the car just this afternoon, and we got to the subject of JJ's green hair plan. Mia said she wanted to think it over for a bit. She's convinced that JJ would regret doing it. She's contemplating talking to JJ with a view of changing her mind.

And that started me off on my lecture.

I had in the past told the story of the monkey, and I'm telling the story again now. It's about how the villagers go about catching the monkey. They make a tiny hole in a young coconut, and then tie that coconut with a rope. They then put some peanuts into that coconut and leave the scene. The monkey which is resting high on the tree, has been observing the villagers put the peanuts into coconut. Seeing that the villagers are no longer around, it comes down to the ground to steal the peanuts from inside the coconut. Its tiny hand could just make it through the tiny hole in the coconut. But as soon as it grips the peanuts, its hand turns into a fist and becomes stuck in that hole.

The villagers then return to the scene with a net. The monkey struggles to retrieve its hand. As the villagers get closer and closer, the monkey becomes increasingly desperate. But no amount of strength could release its hand from the coconut. In the end, the monkey is captured.

Such is the amusing story of how the monkey can be tricked with such a simple trap. But actually the monkey could easily escape. All it had to do was to let go of the peanuts.

JJ is 17 years old, and very soon she will be going away to pursue her studies. She will be away for several years, and when it's over, she'll no longer be a teenager—she'll be an adult. To me, she'll always be my baby, and I can see that Mia feels the same way about her. 

Mia is so afraid that JJ would blunder and make mistakes—serious mistakes—in her life. She has prevented JJ from having a facebook account. Daddy has allowed JJ to create a facebook account long ago, but mommy has somehow disallowed her to be active on facebook. JJ is not allowed to go swimming unless her mommy comes along. Mia doesn't want to allow the possibility of JJ drowning, no matter how remote is that possibility.

But I said to Mia, sooner or later we will have to learn to let her go; we have to let her grow up. She has a mind of her own, and it's entirely possible that we may not like some of the things that she likes. We won't be around forever to watch her like a hawk. For better or worse, she will find her way. And when in due course she is lost and asks for our help, then we will come for the rescue and guide her back to the right path again. After all, one of the best ways to learn in life is by making mistakes.

Sometimes in life, we need to let go of the things we love so much because if we hold on for way too long, what results is not always the best. Learn from the monkey—because of its refusal to let go, in the end it lost its freedom, i.e. something much more precious than the peanuts.

So now I'm bracing up for the shock. Yes, it will still be a shock even though I know what's gonna happen. Any day now JJ will be coming home from the salon with green hair!