By Asma Nadia (Translating into English: Indira Amaranti)

Her face is always bright. Her words were loud and vibrant (lantang dan bersemangat). On the other side, her smile never missed to hover (tersungging). Yes, staring at the friendly lady whom kids liked and loved to be with always brought joy. Really suited to her profession as a kindergarten teacher, I assumed. But, her husband’s complaint one day directed me to a new horizon.

“I could not understand why she is easily got mad. I feel so sorry for our kids who often stressed out because of their mother’s temper.” Until one day when the couple had a big row, this statement came out of his lips, “How much is your salary as a kindergarten teacher? How big it is, I can pay you the same as long as you can cheerfully play with the children and being loved by them!”

The last line really hit her and took her to a long dialogue when we finally met. Many problems and life burden, fatigue and many thing else have drained this lady’s energy, which made “comfort” to evaporate when facing her children.

Similar phenomenon happened to many people in our society. I was not clean from such mistake -parents who were able to be professional in their profession but failed on dealing with their own children. A customer service seemed to never run out of smile. Even when facing the most annoying customer, she would fight to mind her words (menjaga kata-kata) and attitude as a professional should be.

A true entertainer (singer, musician, comedian, etc) although had a depressing problem, would still give the best performance to the audience or fans. Being professional was not just about performing duties. Currently, the term professional often related to money.

Actually, what made it differ did not lie on the material matters, but more to did this matter being realized into actions and also with heart. Then, how to bring this professionalism to our duty as parents? Have we become a parent who even though never received any salary but could act professional?

Secretly, I started to count, how many times I had been angry in a day or a week. Professional parents were not the ones who never got angry but more to understand when they must be firm. Not solely (bukan semata-mata) because of emotional pressure, but being angry – with the right proportion – merely needed as a learning process.

Professional parents would not be angry because they have been burdened by piles of office tasks and got upset because of thinking family in the house acted intolerant, then easily find a reason to wreak (meluapkan). On the contrary, a professional mother-father would firmly act and as necessary as they could when their children involved in criminality or violent the social norms. Because, any criminal action as little as it, could clearly had a legal consequences. Becoming professional parents meant to act and respond as the children need. Even though the father or mother had a passive character, but when facing their toddlers who need expressions then parents would find a way to be expressive.

Professional as parents also meant always there to listen (selalu siap mendengar), give comments, and appreciate as well as give positive respond to build children’s confidence -likewise, when our children showed their own simple drawings. No matter how tired, professional father-mother would change their expression completely from fatigue to enthusiast, not to forget the children also showed excitedly their own drawings.

Parents are shelter for their children (orangtua adalah payung bagi anak-anak). Therefore, spread the umbrella, so children can play quietly and comfortable. Of course, it took a long and winding road and not easily giving up being a more professional parent. I still fight for it and far from perfect. But, the sparks in their eyes, smiles and hugs on the neck they gave us hopefully could be encouragement for each of us to present love and appreciation so our children felt important and loved.

Editor: Yeyen Rostiyani