Hlaing Hlaing took a deep breath and let it out slowly, just as the Family Education trainer had taught her. She took another, closing her eyes. “My daughter is innocent,” she reminded herself as the whining and crying rang in her ears. “She is not trying to make me angry on purpose. She’s only a baby.”
Hlaing Hlaing opened her eyes again and smiled at her 1 year old daughter.
“What do you need?” she asked. “Should we get you something to eat?”
This kind of patience was not something Hlaing Hlaing had when she first became a mother at age 22.
“I was always impatient with my baby,” she told our trainer.
When Hlaing Hlaing was a small child, her parents would beat her when she didn’t listen to them. Like many Burmese families, they were more comfortable with punishing their children than they were with providing guidance.
“I understand now that my parents didn’t have the time to guide me gently, and they didn’t know how to. There was no one to teach them how to be parents. But I don’t want my daughter to receive from me that hurt that I received from my parents when I was young.”
Hlaing Hlaing’s daughter, Htay Thandar Win, was just 8 months old when she first attended our Early Childhood Development training. Already Haing Hlaing was responding to her with frustration. She didn’t understand her baby’s needs.
Hlaing Hlaing and her husband, Khin Win Kyi, both came to Thailand because of better work opportunities. Khin Win Kyi is a day laborer on a construction site, and Hlaing Hlaing is currently unemployed while she cares for their baby girl, Htay Thandar Win.
Their family lives in a small house built of salvaged wood and aluminum roofing sheets in a small migrant community. Their floor is made of woven bamboo floor and raised several feet above the ground, as most houses in this area are, to stay dry in the rainy season. Neither Hlaing Hlaing nor her husband completed school. Like many families here on the Thai/Burma border, they do their best to earn money as day laborers and care for their family as well as they can with the little resources they have.
When Hlaing Hlaing began attending our parenting classes she saw for the first time that it is possible for her to have a different kind of family than the one she grew up in.
“I realized that being impatient is wrong. My daughter is small and innocent. It’s my job to take care of her and keep her safe. She is easily damaged by what I do.”
Hlaing Hlaing began practicing the breathing exercises she learned in the Family Education class, pausing to take a breath before reacting when she was angry with her husband or frustrated with her baby.
“I don’t get into many fights with my husband now. I encouraged him to spend more time with our daughter. To hold her more often. Now he talks to her and plays with her before bedtime.”
“I won’t beat my child, the way I was beaten. It’s now natural for me to be patient with her. I understand her more, thanks to what I learned in the classes. I used to have to remind myself to be patient. But now, it’s my first response.”
Your support for Family Education brought this change Hlaing Hlaing! You made it possible for our trainers to go into her community and give her these simple and live changing trainings that are helping her to give her daughter a completely different childhood than she herself had. She is a cycle breaker. She is a mother who is raising a future generation of strong, healthy, and compassionate adults who will change their world for the better.
Thank you for equipping families with the wisdom and courage they need to raise their children to be the heroes they were born to be.