It’s not how big the house is; it’s how happy the home is. This could be true for most of us. One of the challenges greeting us in Hong Kong was getting used to living in a much smaller space. Micah, who is full of energy, has found it challenging with less living space indoors. He has had to find other ways to use his energy including jumping in the fish pond and repeatedly climbing into Asher’s cot which is conveniently (or not) an arms reach away from his own bed.
We have been on various outreaches into different parts of Hong Kong, where we have discovered that lots of families also have challenges with space, amongst other things. To put it into context, one estate that we visited officially housed around 20,000 people (Chichester has around 23,00) but was on a site only marginally bigger than Priory Park, in Chichester. This number is likely to be much higher as many workers commute from mainland China and stay in small rooms unofficially.
Whilst on the estate, we met one family who had 11 month old twins. However, the parents decided to keep one twin and gave the other to the grandparents to look after, only to see the child every few weeks. There were many reasons why these parents felt that they needed to give away a child, including: lack of space, limited understanding of children’s needs and lack of confidence in their parenting skills. Speaking to some of the leaders of the outreach, this sort of arrangement is not uncommon.
We often hear about children who are left to be looked after by domestic helpers, or even left at home on their own as parents go to work. St Stephen’s is hoping to encourage and nurture a more positive view of parenting and childhood by running parenting sessions alongside play groups and art groups, coaching the families of the teenage brothers who live on site and demonstrating how to have fun with children in a messy, energetic way. Our Cantonese is coming along slowly, but not quickly enough to be able to have in depth discussions with anyone whilst out on the streets and so we have been hoping to demonstrate both Gods love and positive parenting through playing with the boys in public.
Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us, in particular for Micah to feel more at home. Thankfully he is feeling a little more settled and managing to get himself involved in all sorts of mischief.