Parents can spark kids' interest in current affairs

While I agree with Dr Thomas Lee Hock Seng that students should take the initiative to acquaint themselves with current affairs, I believe parents have a role to play in helping their children develop and maintain an interest in it ("Let students take the lead in learning current affairs"; Jan 12).

Students are usually bogged down with schoolwork and co-curricular activities, and may not have the time nor inclination to delve too deeply into current affairs.

It is important that parents first familiarise themselves with the issues of the day, so that they can spark off the initial interest in their children, as well as engage in topics that their children may bring up.

Mealtimes may be the most conducive to bringing up interesting news or topics as the children are a captive audience then. Drives to and from school may also offer fruitful opportunities to do the same.

Now that my daughter is living in the university hostel, I e-mail or WhatsApp interesting articles and tidbits to her.

I am always on the lookout for interesting topics for discussion and would start the ball rolling, which usually results in lively debates.

These discussions open a window into my daughter's world view, and give me the chance to correct any misconceptions she may have or to offer different perspectives on an issue.

I also try to tailor discussions to what she is most interested in. As she matures, I find that I learn much from her as well.

Parents should make it a habit to set aside time for such invaluable and mutually beneficial exchanges with their children.

Maria Loh Mun Foong (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 25, 2016, with the headline 'Parents can spark kids' interest in current affairs'. Print Edition | Subscribe