The astronaut turned author

05 Aug 2020 / 10:26 H.

HE HAS been an astronaut, a restaurant owner and now, an author. The sky is the limit for 47-year-old orthopaedic surgeon Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, whose new book My Way of Parenting achieved pre-order sales of 70,000 copies within seven days of its launch on July 15.

In fact, the demand was so high from his supportive fans that it crashed his website, forcing Sheikh Muszaphar to temporarily stop taking pre-sale orders.

Surprised by the response, Sheikh Muszaphar said: “I did not expect this number of orders but I am very glad.

“This is interesting (to me) because it shows that many people are interested in parenting.”

He added that currently, fans can also find the book for sale on Shopee.

“Many parents are struggling with parenting, and they need guidance on their parenting skills,” said the father of four, who is currently attached to the National University of Malaysia as a Principal Fellow, adding that most parents are working and have insufficient time for their children.

Sheikh Muszaphar shared some insights from his book. “Every child is different. There is no [set] formula to raise a child. It may work on one child, but it may not work on another child.

“It is more about understanding the personality of the child, and changing the technique to approach a particular child.”

He added that parents need to have knowledge about being a parent and raising children. “Being a parent is not just about having children and not knowing what to do.

“They need to know the child’s brain development. The first six years is very critical. This is when everything is absorbed by a child. So, I always stress on the development of the child, during the first six years of their life,” explained Sheikh Muszaphar.

Children changed his life

“I am always fascinated by parenting. I love children,” he said, referring to his own children with wife Halina Mohd Yunos: nine-year-old Sophia Isabella, seven-year-old Sophia Natasha, and three-year-old twin boys Sheikh Adam and Sheikh Noah.

“My wife and I are expecting [a new set of] twins this December,” he said, excitedly.

“I have always shared about how I treat my children in a different way. Although, I feel I am pushing my children to their limits. I don’t like to put my children in a comfort zone. It is about the learning experience.

“My children went to pre-school and playschool at the age of three. I exposed them to Taekwondo and swimming at a very young age.”

He feels that some parents may not accept his techniques, as they may feel that children need to relax.

“This is why I chose the title My Way of Parenting, or my style of parenting, which I learned from my parents. I took the good parenting skills and left the unsuitable ones.

“Definitely, my children changed everything in my life. It is not about me anymore. Whatever I do, I do it for my children’s sake.

“They have become a priority in my family. They have changed my whole perspective on life. I do hope I have more children, because I love children.

“I learnt a lot from my children, as well. They are so innocent, truthful, blunt and naive. We tend to become a better person, and learn to be patient by raising them.”

Family values matter

Reminiscing about his childhood, he spoke about his memories with his parents and their influence on his parenting skills.

“I have five brothers. I have always been raised in a very competitive manner. My father was never the type of person who said: ‘I love you’ to me.

It was just not his way, but deep inside, I could feel his warm love towards me.

“Some fathers would never express their emotions, but I wanted to. Hence, the reason why I always say ‘I love you’ to my children – at least 20 times a day.

“However, my mother always sends so much love to me. I always feel love is the key to a stable and happy environment in the family.”

He recalled his father’s advice. “My father always advised us to be humble, to respect our elders and to always take care of our siblings, and he instilled a never-die attitude in us. I feel he was always teaching us to be positive at all times,” said Sheikh Muszaphar, who hopes to pass on the same lessons to his children.

“’What the mind believes, the body can achieve’. These words were taught to me when I was four years old, and I still apply these words up to today.”

Sheikh Muszaphar is already working on his next project – a book titled Raising Boys vs Girls.

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