• A Parent Perspective

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    “Time goes by very quickly, learn to appreciate and enjoy each and
    every stage with them, including the seemingly unbearable ones.”
    -   Cinci Leung, Chinese Medicine Practitioner and mother of 2

    Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your family and your career?

    I’m straight forward, optimistic and curious. I am the type that when something comes to mind, I would need to immediately act on it and follow through. My family consists of me and my 3Hs – my husband Henry, my son Harry and a newborn daughter Hannah. I’m a registered Chinese medicine practitioner and practice in my own clinic in Central. Apart from seeing patients, I promote preventive healthcare. I am constantly exploring new ways to promote Chinese Medicine and preventive healthcare. I’d like to continue to share my insights and knowledge of how simple dietary changes can help us to maintain our health and that of our family.

    I launched my first book, Chinese Healing Soups, in July 2015, which is now on its 7th edition. I also recently launched my second book, Chinese Healing Soups 2, which focuses on children from age 5 months to 12 years old. I am opening a new shop by end of October, which will be a TCM clinic plus herbal drinks shop. There are definitely a lot of exciting things coming up!

    Congratulations on your new book which is again one of the bestselling cook book in Hong Kong. Can you give us one tip on healthy eating for children?

    Thank you!
    There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to children diets but if I could only stress one thing, it would be- less cold and raw foods. It will hinder the development of the children’s stomach and spleen, (which acts similarly to the digestive system). When the stomach and spleen are weak, a person will have a hard time absorbing necessary nutrients from the food they eat or would be prone to developing related illness like eczema, diarrhea, or loss in appetite.

    How do you juggle between work and kids?

    I have become good at multitasking. My clinic hours are by appointment only, so it gives me more flexibility to complete different tasks in between appointments. I’m also very passionate towards what I’m doing- I love being a TCM practitioner and I love my kids, which makes me very efficient at completing the various tasks involved.

    With your knowledge and background in Chinese medicine, any health tips you can share with other moms out there with young children?

    Simple dietary changes can make a significant difference. For example, rice water is a simple remedy to lessen the burden of our digestive systems and nourish the stomach and spleen. So here’s a quick recipe for your readers-

    Ingredients: 2tbsp of White rice, 2tbsp of Red rice, 2tbsp of Coix seeds
    Method: Rinse all ingredients and pour into a pot with around 600mL of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Rice water must be consumed within the same day.

    Can you tell us a bit about Essentials by Cinci? What is the philosophy behind this brand?

    I have recently renamed my brand to CheckCheckCin, which means “to check first” in Cantonese. Checking first will kick-start a balanced living, which is the key to a new preventative approach using traditional Chinese Medicine principles to make easy and healthy decisions. Each individual has a unique body type, so it’s important to “check first” and eat right for your individual needs to prevent a multitude of ailments and illnesses. Bitter medicine and strict diet regimes aren’t the only paths to a healthy lifestyle! Under CheckCheckCin, we will soon be launching an easy-to-use mobile app, new lifestyle products and a new herbal drinks shop, so stay tuned!

    What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as a parent?

    Time goes by very quickly, learn to appreciate and enjoy each and every stage with them, including the seemingly unbearable ones.

    Top tips for women who want to reach their full potential and ‘have it all’?

    Be patient and take the time to find your true passion. Do not aim to “have it all”. When you’re doing something you really love, it’ll be easy to immerse yourself in that field – and you’ll develop an intuitive feel for the opportunities that lie ahead.

    To find out more about Check Check Cin, please check out www.facebook.com/cinciec

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  • A Parent Perspective

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    “…the foundation – whether it’s strong or weak – is not really going to
    change. So it’s all about the work you put into the first 6 years.”
    – Dimitrios Kavvathas

    The Journal catches up with Dimitrios Kavvathas, devoted father of Anastasia (2 years) and Ioannis (9 months) on his perspective as a parent. Mr. Kavvathas recently retired as a Partner at Goldman Sachs.

    You are very passionate about the topic of early childhood development. What triggered this interest?

    I’ve always taken a strong interest in how talent gets created, and how people get better at what they do. Nurturing my own children to becoming the best they can be represents the ultimate challenge to me in terms of effort and understanding in fostering the concept of self-improvement.

    The imprint of a child is formed mostly at the early years and by 6 years of age there’s not much more you can really do. Yes of course there is a lot of hard work that needs to continue afterwards but the foundation – whether it’s strong or weak – is not really going to change. So it’s all about the work you put into the first 6 years. I can’t imagine anything more important than getting it right now.

    The ‘foundation’ you referred to – what is that comprised of?

    Foundation for me means everything surrounding one’s attitude and approach towards learning, to knowledge and to others around them.

    What principle(s) guide your parenting philosophy?

    I have a great passion for athleticism and there’s no better analogy better than how a professional athlete works or thinks to how I would want learning and education to work for a child.

    What underpins fitness is discipline; the willingness to defer instant gratification for future success. You are constantly working hard for a goal that’s somewhere in the future; a sprinter might be training for 4 years just to excel at a 10 second race. One particular famous study by Walter Mischel, known as the Marshmallow Test sought to identify the most important predictors of success in life. Above anything else, virtues such as patience and self-control were found to be the most consistent predictors.

    Does the pursuit of discipline come at the expense of happiness for a child?

    I think the key is to find ways to help children develop their own discipline, not to force it upon them. Using sports again as an example, in the US a lot of children enjoy competitive sports and they naturally want to get better at what they do.

    By promoting a similar attitude towards learning and education, I believe that a child can take a disciplined approach and find the process enjoyable.

    What advice can you give to those who seek to balance work life with family life?

    We can say all we want about attaining balance but we are not really attaining it. I’m not working for the time being, and it just makes me realize more how much can be done with the children. Having a disciplined program in place is a start to ensure that any time spent is focused on quality.

    You’ve enjoyed considerable success in the world of finance. Are there any concepts from the business world that can be brought into the parenting world?

    In the business world we often talk about the importance of being customer-centric. With education being one of the most important consumer products, how many educational institutions really consider what the needs are of its ‘customers’? This leads me to have some reservations on how the education system works both philosophically and practically in Hong Kong. I applaud SPRING for breaking the mold.

    Lastly, you’re at a formal gathering with your children and they start crying uncontrollably. You have a matter of seconds to pacify them. What would you do?

    I start by hugging them, holding them close to my head. In a slightly severe but constructive tone, I say (in Greek) “Please just stop this now, it is not helpful.”

    There is firmness in the voice but with a bit of pleading as well, so whether they are in the mood to understand fear, or if they are more receptive in that moment to the pleading aspect, they can take it whichever way they want.

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  • A Parent Perspective

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    “I’m a firm believer that you can only bring
    happiness to others when you are content yourself”
    -   Michele Reis, Artist

    Your son Jayden just turned two in February.  How would you sum up the first two years of motherhood?

    It has been a fascinating journey with mixed emotions.  At the beginning there were times when I felt a sense of helplessness trying to interpret the needs and wants of a newborn baby.  You want to be sure you’re doing the right thing but without the ability to communicate, you just never know.  I found those moments of uncertainty stressful.

    As with many things in life, experience counts a lot.   While sometimes I still feel overwhelmed with responsibility, two years on I’m far more relaxed, enjoying every moment of motherhood particularly now that Jayden talks and listens to me.

    Which aspect do you find most challenging at the moment?

    Fostering independence.  Wanting the best for him but at the same time, just letting him be.

    How have you approached balancing work life with family life?

    Managing time carefully is the key to keeping both worlds in check.  My priority will always be with my family but work remains an important part of my life.  I have the privilege to enjoy what I am doing now; it makes me happy and keeps me grounded. I’m a firm believer that you can only bring happiness to others when you are content yourself.

    What would your advice to be to other first-time mothers?

    1. Relax
    2. Relax
    3. Believe in your own maternal instincts and don’t succumb to peer pressure.
    4. The best gift to your child is your love and time.

    Are there any ‘cardinal rules’ you apply when it comes to the development and well-being of your child?

    Developing a good sense of balance and co-ordination is crucial at his age and so I make sure he’s exposed to a broad range of physical activities.  I also like to encourage learning from a real world context wherever possible; to experience things rather than just seeing them on paper.   The question of ‘screen time’ invariably comes up quite often, and while I don’t completely ban it altogether, I’ve set a limit of 30 minutes per day for age appropriate shows.  Other than that, I try to ensure he maintains a healthy diet.

    Where do you draw inspiration and ideas from on child rearing / parenting?

    Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne was an interesting read.  I also look forward to exchanging ideas with SPRING’s panel of child specialists in the near future.

    Tell us about the JMJ Foundation that you’ve setup.

    The primary purpose of the JMJ Foundation is to assist in the creation of educational establishments for children throughout China.  Working together with the Caring For Children Foundation, we have been involved with the development of over 200 schools throughout Yunnan province to date.

    I have been truly blessed with Jayden’s arrival into my life and this Foundation is a small way for me to give back to other children in need.  I donate a percentage of my earnings to the charity and encourage all friends and family to donate to the Foundation in lieu of gifts to Jayden.  My goal is for Jayden to take an active role with the charity himself someday, and to learn the joys of helping and sharing with others that are in a less fortunate position.

    To find out more or to make a donation to the JMJ Foundation, please e-mail info@jmj-foundation.com

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