KUALA LUMPUR: Parents, especially the younger ones, must encourage their children to mix around and grow up with those of other races and faiths to uphold racial integration in the country, said Acting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
By setting an example to their children, he said, parents would play a role in building a society free of prejudices.
He said parents must ensure their children continued to grow up in an environment that reflected the country’s multi-religious and multi-ethnic society.
While the education system played a crucial role in forging national unity, parents, too, have a role to play, he said.
“This is done not only by supporting the national education system but also by building greater friendships and rapport with neighbours, colleagues and friends from diverse backgrounds,” he said in his keynote address at the Wholesome Families: Pulse of the Nation seminar themed A Meeting of Minds: Parenting For a Wholesome Family organised by Yayasan Budi Penyayang Malaysia yesterday.
He said children would emulate their parents.
The Government, he said, would improve the curriculum, teaching and facilities in national schools to attract parents with school-going children.
He also spoke on the need for parents to inspire their children to emulate good behaviour and values such as integrity, honesty, fairness, tolerance, respect, diligence and hard work.
Parents, he said, should not underestimate the influence that they have on their children as their words, action and thoughts may have a profound impact on them.
“Values are imbibed through observation over a long time. The most damaging thing a parent can live by is probably the adage of 'Do as I say, don’t do as I do',” he said.
The Acting Prime Minister also said parents needed to make time for their children as there is no substitute for tender loving care in a child’s life.
According to an international report, he said, Malaysians were some of the best workers in the world in terms of work hours put in.
Abdullah said that although he would be the last to advocate for less time and effort in the workplace, he did not believe this had to be at the expense of the family life entirely.