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I HAVE a client whose office is located right in the city centre. Every time we have an appointment, I always make it a point to use an electronic navigation system. It’s not because I don’t know the way. I just like the fact that it can suggest alternative routes in case of heavy traffic. In most cases, the journeys have been smooth and uneventful.

However, lately things haven’t been so due to the number of construction sites, which have popped up along the way. One time the navigator indicated another smooth journey so I took my time thinking that I’d have ample time to arrive for my appointment.

But I was wrong. About a kilometre away from the client’s office, the usual road was temporarily closed and traffic was diverted. I could see the building already and began to panic as the navigation system didn’t detect it and kept suggesting the same route.

I had to turn it off and go the old-school way. Needless to say, I arrived 45 minutes late. It was a classic case of “so near, yet so far”. Productivity was lost but more importantly, the client was inconvenienced.

Fortunately, it was an exception rather than a norm. But certainly, I can’t afford to be late again.


While it was just a journey from one point to another, I couldn’t help but wonder whether a similar scenario could also occur in our journey of life? Let’s call this scenario “the last mile”.

We all have a destination that we want to reach. And most of us would have started somewhere. Along the way, we’d have accumulated much mileage. As long as we didn’t stop, we’d have progressed and come closer to our destination.

In the last-mile scenario, we may be given a run-around just when the destination appears to be near. Will we give up or forge ahead? What if we didn’t know that the destination is just a short distance away after coming so far?

Putting this into a parenting context, the same scenario is also applicable. We may have spent countless hours reminding our children but they don’t seem to be listening. In desperation, we decide to give up. But before you do, please remember the last-mile scenario.

Many parenting experts say that for children to remember something, it must be repeated 250 times! Imagine if we did it for “only” 200 times. That’s just another 50 more times to go. What a waste to give up at this juncture.

As we cross the midpoint of 2019, let’s review our efforts. How many times have we reminded our children on certain issues? How many more do we still need to do? Isn’t it a waste to give up now?

These questions and more can provide us with the much-needed spark to refresh our journey. The year isn’t over and there’s plenty of opportunities left.

Julian Smith, an American author and journalist, once said: "No one has a problem with the first mile of a journey. Even an infant could do fine for a while. But it isn't the start that matters. It's the finish line."

So let’s keep our eyes on the destination and not let temporary setbacks derail us.

Zaid Mohamad coaches and trains parents to experience happier homes and more productive workplaces. Reach him at [email protected].

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