Diani Lee begins 2018 by nurturing her long-time passion for writing. Ready to take on new challenges as she turns the significant 30, Diani greets the year as an author with her soon to be published children’s book, A to Z, My Grandpa and Me. The book, an ode to her father, Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, executive chairman and founder of Country Heights Holdings Berhad, seeks to promote the importance of instilling children with values, while teaching them their ABCs. Well, perhaps, adults could learn a couple of things as well. Here are five features of the book that we all, whatever age, can benefit from.
Learning to appreciate
The book was inspired by the elder Lee who objected to the idea of books that taught kids their alphabet through the use of objects. “My father always questioned books that taught the alphabet based on material things,” explains Diani. In this book, the author hopes to teach children the same but this time through emphasising values. For example, ‘A’ is used to highlight the value of learning to ‘appreciate’ the world around us.
Embracing the world around us
As a parent, Diani teaches her children to take a broader view of the things around us. That perspective is also captured in the book which is told in the context of the “bigger” environment in which we live. Part of this includes, “thanking the rain for the flowers it creates.”
Learning to be grounded
The book, Diani says, is quite philosophical, focusing on the idea of “trying to be a good person”. The book reflects her parenting style which she describes as being considerably more open to that of the very strict upbringing she had as a child. “My voice is a lot more neutral compared to my own upbringing. It is a little bit different in that way but it is still focusing on the common sense of being good.”
To talk to kids in a mature manner
Rather than speak to children in simplistic terms, using objects like ‘apple’ and ‘ball’ to teach ‘A’ and ‘B’, the book uses concepts and values. “It talks a lot about grounding yourself,” reflecting Diani’s own approach to bringing up her children, encouraging self-discovery.
To just go for it
Diani had been contemplating the book for a couple of years but now having stepped away from her position as general manager of marketing and communications at CHHB that she managed to find time to actually do it. To others who have wanted to embark on something new, she says, “Just go for it. If you fail, people will forget in two years but if you don’t, it will be like two years ago if I did this. I am very happy that I started it. Hopefully it will be inspiring, enlightening and a little bit educational for the children.”