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Little Lambs

little lambs Sunday School in Jurong Christian Church

This children's group for ages 3-6 meets every Sunday on the preschool premises for special programmes with the Jurong Christian Church's Sunday School teachers. Passionate and expressive, they imbue wholesome values in each child that is in line with the Bible: such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).


Check out our affiliated church's website to learn more about Little Lambs.


These articles are notes from a workshop organised by the young adults in Jurong Christian Church to explore the relationship between child and parents especially in the early formulative years. The outline for the three sessions is:

  • Part 1: What you need to know about children

  • Part 2: What children really need

  • Part 3: Purposeful Parenting

The keys area that we will be addressing would be the role of parents in imparting key life values which are in accordance with God’s directions/words. For busy modern parents in Singapore with many demands, the challenges are plentiful. What are the roles for many members of the family, working parents and stay-at-home parent, caregiver, grandparents, school, mass/social media and societal demands?

The workshop uses the book, “A Guide to Purposeful Parenting: harnessing your children’s love for you” written by Dr. Lian-Ding Eliza. She is a child psychologist and had practiced in the West and also in Singapore. Her guide is based on her belief as a Christian and observations from her many cases from her practices.


Children’s Love – Attachment and Developmental Needs


The first need is for acceptance, especially by the child's biological parents. How they think their parents feel about them has great impact on how they feel about themselves. Your child loves you and needs you. How you love him back will let him know how he is valued as a human being. Many a time, we hear an exasperated parent exclaimed, “If my children love me, why is it that they give me such a hard time? Why don’t they just listen to what I say?” Misbehaviour is because your child may not know how to communicate his need. A young child may hit you but what he is saying is that he needs you to hold him. An older child may just want your undivided attention.

Secure Environment

Children need a secure and consistent environment to develop both physically and emotionally. Every child is born with the natural desire for emotional connection with their parents. Their great desire for love makes them incredibly vulnerable. The challenge for parents is to nurture strong bonds in order to influence them in a direction that is good for them and the world. We want them to be guided by godly wisdom whether we are physically with them or not.

Your Presence

Nonetheless, children need your physical presence. Understandably, there can be one or both parents who may be separated from their child for extended periods due to work or other reasons. This may even happen without being out of the country, from long working hours - leaving home before the child wakes and returning only after the child has long slept. Often the child is lavished with expensive gifts to make up for their absence. However, this is unnecessary. What is needed is undivided attention during those precious moments when they are physically together, or even one-to-one calls with the child. There is only a limited window where a child treasures physical closeness... once they reach adolescence, they prefer to explore their own identity and values.


Every child needs someone they can constantly relate to, someone they can trust, feel comfortable and secure with. This is the caregiver. Sadly, this may not be his parents, but could be a grandparent or babysitter or even their domestic helper. Some parents are aware of this and change their helper every 2 years. Some may feel the need to assume responsibility only when the child starts formal education i.e. from 7 years. As such, the foundational years for relationship building is lost.

Parents eventually have little leverage because the child does not feel emotionally connected. Ideally, one parent should be at home, however, in most Singapore homes, both parents work. My wife Auntie Iris and I were working when our three kids were young. Timothy was baby-sat by a friend, and she only had Timothy to look after since her 2 children who were already in school. We took him back every evening. Despite hiring a domestic helper, and having Auntie Iris’ parents who at times stayed with us, once we were back home, we took over responsibility of caring for the kids.


Every child needs to know his identity. Who am I? What am I worth? Only a parent can say, “You belong to me.” This gives a sense of worth, a direction in life and a secure base for growing well.

Formative Years

Children form strong attachments in their early years. Babies as young as 6 weeks can recognise their mother’s voice. Parents should develop strong bonds from their early years so as to give them a secure base to develop. These early years should not be replaced by another caregiver. Each child has the capacity to form significant relationships with different people across life stages. What makes the first five years so critical is the formation of a foundation for life. One common danger especially when the child reaches formal education, or even before that, is the drive to move the kid from one activity to the next without pause. There is no time for reflection, for thoughtful conversation nor exchanges. We are seeing this phenomenon starting earlier and earlier, which is sad. We live like there is no time to waste.


With the well-connected lives that we live, information is fed to children even from a young age. They are exposed to so much media and friends. Parents need to listen and interpret the information and what is happening in the world to their young children. Parents not only have to understand what is happening but also help the child to determine what things ought to be. To do this, parents must seek God's unique purpose for their lives or godly counsel to ensure that they are on the right path themselves.


How to teach your child the right values? Unfortunately, values are often caught rather that taught. Parents must set the example and be role models. How we react to everyday situations, especially in their presence, will greatly shape our children's values. Many of us who had parents in the early years of Singapore’s independence, and have lived in kampungs, can relate to the sacrifices and hardships that our parents went through. I am sure our values would have been influenced by our parents. Times are now “easier”, and so such values can only be passed on only if we consciously live them out. We may have an idea about the family we aspire to raise but demands from everyday life may cause us to compromise, resulting in deviation from our intended course. There is a need for conscious parenting.

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. - Proverbs 22:6


Parental Guidance Needed

We are now at the second half of Dr. Eliza’s Part 1, on “What you Need to Know About Children”, Chapter 2 – Parental Guidance Needed.

Regulating Behaviour

Parents need to help children in regulating their behaviour. By God’s design, a child is completely helpless and needs the constant physical presence of an attentive caregiver. This prolonged dependency give the parents time to impart vital information and training. When young, they are taught what is danger e.g. not to touch something. They need clear boundaries. A child derives great security from knowing that he would be protected from his own harmful choices. I am sure mothers have plenty of practices preventing their kids from putting something harmful into their mouth or touching something painful. Ultimately, all parents hope to train their child to have internal locus of control for correct behaviour, especially in the internet age where parental presence is difficult.

Regulating Emotion

Only parents will know the emotion of their child because they train him. A pre-verbal infant is not yet aware of his feelings, but he knows sensations like hunger, pain and tiredness. An observant parent will be able to help the child to label his emotions by verbalising them. The child learns that his feelings are acceptable and appropriate. As he grows older, he needs to know what to do with his feelings like anger and frustration. In addition, a child needs to learn how to respond to other people's emotions. Parents need to be on a constant lookout for teaching moments during such situations.


Children need a firm foundation in familial relationships through their parents' affirmation, of good behaviour that is. Any small effort should be applauded and encouraged. This will build his confidence and help him stand up to negative peer pressure. The bottom line is that children really care a great deal about how their parents feel about them.


We are constantly bombarded by news of terrorist acts, mass destruction, senseless killings, famine and LGBT etc. Our children are increasing confronted by moral and ethical decisions/judgements that challenge their character, especially in grey areas. What kind of ground are we building for them to stand firm in? What values are they developing, especially in how they view or treat others? Are they seeing the world as utilitarian (which exists to serve them) or with empathy and want to contribute to a better world? Do we guide them to live according to God’s Word and His Love?


Another closely related guidance needed is to go beyond self-actualisation i.e. promoting your own self-centred potential and desire. We must not lose sight of the Maker’s direction.

Role Model

Children need a role model to aspire to - values that their model represents and which the child will aspire to. Sadly, in this age of mass media and celebrities, many of them have questionable values. It is therefore even more important for parents to be their role model. Mankind would be lost if not for those values we aspire towards - virtues that make up the character and substance of a person. Thankfully values can be demonstrated and easily seen through our lives. Your small act of kindness will be observed by your child. Use every opportunity as teaching moments in your daily life, or when positive acts are reported in the media or shared by others. Your child is watching you; any inconsistency would be exposed. Your behaviour at home, at work and on the road must be consistent. Do what you say.


Yes, children are sometimes beyond our comprehension ("Why can't they follow instructions?"). Values and character are foundational and need to be constantly re-enforced. Parent need perseverance in guiding their child.


I have stressed the importance of consistency as our children are watching us in all situations. Another consistency sorely required is between father and mother. Kids are expert in exploiting this... If mummy does not give permission, then go to daddy; you’ll definitely get your way especially if it’s accompanied by tears. Sometimes, it’s the parents’ fault when they divide child rearing tasks among themselves. For example, discipline is papa’s job. The child knows not to misbehave in front of papa, but mummy is ok. Speaking from personal experience, fathers are often more easily swayed by a child’s demands (especially by their daughters) while mummy is trying to enforce discipline.

In the early years of immigrants in US, Christian families are well known for their industry and doing well in their goals. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Such values can only be imparted to our children if we practice these same things consistently.


To watch the full Part 1 lecture, you may also view it here:

About the author:

Young Kwang and his wife Iris, both 62, have been married 36 years. They have 3 grown children and 1 grandson. Though they grew up in typical Taoist families, they accepted Christ while overseas, and met each other when studying in Canberra, Australia. They have been members of Jurong Christian Church for almost 30 years and serve in various ministries.

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

As parents who aim to impart as much as they can to their children while they are young, we understand that the younger they are, the more impressionable and easily teachable. However, there is so much we can learn from them as well. Here are 7 traits we can pick up from children as we put ourselves in their size 2 shoes and see the world through their pint-sized point of view:

a child crying while holding onto his father who is leaving for work

1) Cry Often

It's annoying but we can learn something from children there. Not the wailing and thrashing about and temper tantrums, those are just childish in nature. We need to cry often for the things that are not good nor right that happen in the world and in our life. When we witness or experience injustice and cannot do anything about it; when it is a time to grief for a senior relative taken by Covid; when we hear the abuse coming from the neighbour's; it is sometimes needful to be concerned or upset about the unnatural order of things.

Children may cry when they're uncomfortable, sleepy, hungry, unwell or just plain don't like the stranger carrying them. They wear their heart on their sleeve and are not afraid to express this emotion. It is a trait that when we use well and appropriately, shows we are still human.

2 childhood friends playing in a makeshift tent and reading a book together

2) Laugh Often

Crying out of anger and frustration is a normal response. But when was the last time you laughed so hard you cried (and maybe got a hoarse throat)? Laughter is an expression of joy or amusement and happiness. Children are easily tickled pink by simple things like "peek-a-boo" or a literal tickle on the belly. As much as they cry easily, they find joy easily too.

Laughter furthermore increases dopamine (happy hormones) and reduces cortisol, or stress levels. Hence the saying that it is the best medicine. So get your daily dose, finding things that spark joy in you and brightens your day. Smile a little more, because the smile muscles will trigger your brain to feel better automatically. Learn to laugh as easily and children would.

a boy trying to help another sad classmate to his feet

3) Be vulnerable

Children are literally weak. Being small and fragile forces them to have total reliance on the adults around them to help and look out for them. There are many things they cannot do on their own and require assistance often. We need to be more like that too.

Perhaps accountability may be one aspect in which reaching out to others for help will provide us. Ultimately it is the safety net in looking to others, seeking their assistance in areas they are more knowledgeable in, and even allowing us to be vulnerable with such friends so they know to be there for us when the chips are down. Surround yourself with well-meaning and emotionally-mature adults who can lift you up when you’re down.

a mother comforts her son who fell off his bicycle and hurt his knee

4) Fall Down and Get Up

Kids fall and bruise easily. When they are younger, their reactions to minor adverse situations like a little fall can be dramatic when their parents respond dramatically too. They take their cue from those who seem to know how to respond in the right situation. But eventually they learn how to get up and brush away the dirt, and continue on their task or journey.

We need to learn to fall well, take the pain, then get back up and brush off the dust. We need to be adamant to carry on and live well despite our setbacks. Maybe we need the support of others to lift us up, but at least it will mean we get our legs back and press on. It may hurt for a while for now, but falling down will teach us to get up faster the next time.

a group of children out in nature exploring with their binoculars and magnifying glass

5) Observe and Learn

Children are so observant and learn everything like a sponge. The first few words a child speaks are usually what the parents repeat often to him. It might be “daddy”, “mummy” or “tv” depending on their exposure. They pick things up fast and can replicate or emulate behaviours and mannerisms. The child is a stark reflection of their parents, so there’s no escaping “monkey see, monkey do”.

Adults can learn to be teachable like children. Absorbing and repeating and acting out positive traits from others. As you surround yourself with people of healthy habits and disciplined lifestyles, it will become natural to mimic them – their culture, jargon and attitudes. Do you hang out with people who you’d like to become more like? What are some of their traits you want to follow?

6) Be Innocent

Purity, integrity and honesty come naturally to a child. Lying also perhaps, given that we are all sinful by nature. But that can be disciplined out of them. Kids are generally innocent to notions of scheming or committing offenses against other children; they won’t be intentionally plotting revenge to hurt another person, or stewing over a wrongdoing done to them.

Retaining a child-like naivete is not much of a survival instinct, but it helps us as a adults to manoeuvre a difficult world without becoming pessimistic and critical. Just as we learn to get up quick when we fall, we also need to learn to forgive quick when we are offended. This prevents bitterness from taking hold of us; it also prevents our joy being sapped by some petty matter. We want to maintain our innocence this way.

a child picks small flowers and gives it to her mother

7) Enjoy the Little Things

With increasing amounts of responsibilities as parents with growing children, it’s hard to enjoy life and take things slow. The children will run faster and faster as you attempt to keep up with them; work will get more tedious; chores will never be done; Covid will become harder to recover from. But children are easily satisfied and intrigued by the little things. From the beauty of nature to simple toys they play with, life is always new and interesting.

We can learn to stop and smell the roses. Enjoy the cool after-rain air, a colouring book (it’s therapeutic), visiting friends… it’s the simple things that are lacking in our complicated world. Kids are satisfied with the ordinary and mundane, we could take a breather from the noise of our devices once in a while too.

At David & Goliath Preschool, we believe in helping each child grow towards their potential now and in future. Each child is nurtured to be moral and mature, so that they are ready for a VUCA world.

Remember the days your parents used their Kodak camera to take unglamourous shots of you, get each photo developed and compiled into a photo album to embarrass you in front of relatives? Well, it's your turn now. But this time round you have the choice of the best shots out of the hundreds of baby pics, without having to print them all out first. And with the plethora of filters, special effects and editing apps, your child will no longer have to live with the long-term effects of not looking photogenic.

Phone cameras are a hassle-free device for parents to take quick snaps of their kids in their element. These 8 tips are general guidelines for taking photos of any subject, with more details on shooting children in particular:

top-down angle of a teacher helping a DGP student with his work

1) Angle

You have a natural height advantage over kids. The top-down view is 1 way to capture the activity your child is engaged in, and allows us to see a little from his perspective too. Though you'll be taking the back of his head, just move a little to position your camera at an optimal angle to get more of his hands at work.

Selfies are usually taken at a 45-degree angle above the eye level, making the body look smaller and the head and eyes larger. You may be able to get more of that with your child if your child can look into the camera for posed shots. Otherwise you'll be getting their foreheads.

At their eye level, any kind of shot and any action will already look good. Passport-style shots are fine (face, body and eyes looking straight ahead) but are boring.

bottom-up angle of a fit DGP girl climbing the bouldering wall

If you can get below them, most likely if they're climbing something, it will be a really good perspective as it's not often children get to look down at the camera. This kind of shot with an adult looking down is intimidating, and so for kids it will be playful and unique.

the open-air environment around Jurong Christian Church lets light in naturally into DGP

2) Lighting

Outdoors are usually more fun to shoot as the light is strongest and most natural. Even on a rainy day, the environment has an increased contrast from being wet and your subject is still evenly lit (though your phone will need to be waterproof in this case). Locations are plenty too and you can move around to nice spots like parks in Jurong Lake Gardens, or clean corporate buildings like Fusionopolis and One-North Park at Buona Vista. Those are quiet and spacious too.

a classroom interior, the Music & Movement Studio, lets kids play and prance

I always have trouble shooting indoors because the ceiling lights are either dim or a certain tinge of colour, affecting the portrait result. Those are fine for family or group photos nonetheless. If it can't be helped, the flash light may help to brighten the face, but standing near a window may yield a nicer result.

Indoor shoots show up well for black-and-white portraits too, since it's only the contrast you need and it's already darker indoors.

close-up of a David & Goliath Preschool boy writing Chinese characters in the air

3) Depth

As for the background in the house, if you shoot indoors, you can blur the background by using a larger aperture (that is, depth of field). You can also digitally blur the background or remove it altogether.

The depth of field is fun to play with as it creates a miniature effect, the foreground and background are blurred with a small area of focus, making it seem your subject is small or mini. This shot style usually occurs in macro shoots, like flowers and butterflies, and the size of the subject is the same as what is taken (that is, a 1:1 ratio instead of being scaled down). You can try this forced perspective with your kid or family portraits.

Creative Play Space has all sorts of toys and games for children to expand their minds.

4) Scale

From a wide landscape shot to a close-up side profile, vary your shots with the size of your subject in relation to their surroundings. If the environment is what you want to have more of, your child can be smaller in comparison. Or of course they're running so fast and you don't want to miss the action, you can take a wider shot and crop later.

Shooting from waist up will bring the focus more deeply to the child's activities, and their level of concentration at that time. Close-up portraits will be featuring just the face and a more intimate focus on a certain feature of their face.

Cute David & Goliath Preschool student Rihanna posing for a photo.

5) Candid vs Posed

Let's face it, preschoolers in their element will usually not be able to look straight at the camera. It's easier to capture their natural expression and personality when they are themselves, being caught up in some task or playing or interacting with others. It also beats the parents constantly snapping their fingers in a bid to get their attention, calling out "Look here, look here!"

However, quieter or more composed children may do better at posing since they keep still for longer. They may also be able to take some instructions for the perfect photo like "Smile and show your teeth! Tilt your head to the side. Open your eyes wider. Gesture a heart sign..." and so on.

There's always some movement and activity the DGP children will get up to, like hopscotch

6) Lightning Speed

Your camera needs to be fast, you also probably need to be as fast. The general settings (if your phone camera allows) is to set a higher shutter speed and ISO for exposure. This will reduce blurriness of your shots as your child zooms around. If your camera movement can match the speed of your child, you can attempt to move it alongside him as you take quick burst shots, and hopefully there will be 1 that has a good focus on your kid's face.

If they can stop midway through their activity, like hang on a monkey bar a few seconds longer, for you to take your shots, that might yield better results.

DGP Preschoolers get as low as possible in this music and movement session.

7) Good Knees

Because you're either, squatting, duck-walking or kneeling on the ground to capture your child who is knee-height. The fabric of your pants can only take so much, let alone the skin on your knees. On shoot days when you have family outings, consider knee guards or softer terrain like grass to kneel on (and glucosamine for joint health). You may bruise a little but the photos are worth it, and your thighs will get their workout.

If it's too much, just hold the phone upside down and level it with them to take their picture. You can flip the photos 180-degrees right side up after that.

The best pics you can capture is at their eyeline.

8) Permissions for Posting

It's not necessary when you're shooting in a public place. If someone wanders into your shot as you're taking your child, you can use the magic of subject removal on apps like Photoshop or Canva (which removes the whole background) and retain your child's image. Though of course if a stranger clearly features in your photo, you're probably going to delete it anyway. But if you're on private property, like a school, it's always best to ask permission of the Principal or parents of children who will appear in your photos before putting them up online.

Your child can't create a social media account now, but you can begin archiving on their behalf online or physically in a scrap book. These will make for great memories as they grow up and look back on their life with you.

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