Cheryl Tang is the Founder of Pause*, an online coaching business aimed at supporting parents through the journey of parenthood. She talks to The Industry Leaders about why we need to reframe the image of children, and how she coped through the Covid pandemic.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
For the past 18 years, my work with school teams has been centred on empowering children with the lifelong skills to navigate the uncertain destination of the future and become change-makers in their own rights. I also mentor teachers in developing environmental stewardship programs; and strengthening mindfulness-based practices to nurture young learners' mental and emotional wellbeing.
In 2013 when I was in my early 30s, I founded and sustainably built The Anak Atelier International Preschool on the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia. I did it literally from the ground up! After moving there in 2008, chasing waves, I realised I was in a foreign country and didn't speak the local language but decided it was the most magical place to build my vision.
This year in 2021, I will soon launch an online coaching business called Pause* with Cheryl Tang, aimed at supporting parents in their journey towards growth, self-transformation and cultivating an authentic and positive relationship with their children.
What kind of work does your role involve?
I'm a Conscious and Mindful Parenting Coach trained by a world-renowned parenting expert, clinical psychologist, wisdom teacher and international author, Dr Shefali Tsabary.
The incessant day-to-day act of 'Doing and Surviving' makes parents exhausted, reactive and unconscious to the words and actions they present to their children. Parents embark on a transformational coaching journey with me to turn surviving into thriving. Guiding them through a process of (re)parenting oneself, I offer parents invaluable tools and practices to do the work to heal emotional clutter, reactive behaviours, negative self-beliefs or childhood wounds. We work on this before these parents pass it down as unhealthy generational patterns to their children.
When we are committed to nurturing our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, we can then consciously model these behaviours to our children by being the highest and best version of ourselves.
What gets you excited about your industry?
I have always been fascinated by what we believe about children determines how we treat ourselves, our children, and others around us. When we view children as citizens with equal and democratic rights in our homes and our society as opposed to 'son or daughter of', it invites us to reexamine the very concept of citizenship, inclusion and democracy on the whole.
What I enjoy most about working with teachers and parents is to deconstruct what childhood truly means to us, and how we can reframe the 'image of children' to see them as a cup that is already full, instead of one that we have to fill.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
One day, I shared with my dear friend who is a wisdom teacher and my fellow Conscious and Mindful Parenting coach that my life has never been short on purpose, high achievements, and the drive to succeed. But, despite all this, it never seemed to be as fulfilling as I envisioned it to be. She offered me this advice:
"Do every present moment before you purposefully...
THAT is your purpose".
It was then that I knew that I was the root of my own unworthiness. I never saw myself as 'enough'. The image of myself I saw as a child growing up was that cup that needed filling, not the one that was already full. I knew that there was deep inner work that I had to do to release the negative programming and unhealthy self-talk that I have been conditioned to my whole life.
Since embracing this hard truth and wisdom, I've begun prioritising my inner life. It has opened up the most profound and most authentic connection that I have EVER felt towards myself, my child and the people around me.
What, or who inspires you?
As a surfer, being in nature inspires me, and it nourishes my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Every time I step into the water, I am humbled by its power, unpredictability and grounding essence.
Surfing is not something I do, nor is it just a hobby. It is a meditative practice and a place where I go to feel joy, gratitude and freedom. There are also days when I am there to grow, learn more about myself, and push limits by facing my fears, releasing control and surrendering to the unknown. Many of my life's lessons have been drawn from the ocean, every day is never the same, and tomorrow is not a promise. You embrace what is offered with full acceptance.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in the industry?
I am part of my alumni groups, where we commune bi-monthly to stay current on parenting and education developments. I also commit to attending a study tour or registering for professional development training every year.
What was the most challenging project or assignment you've worked on?
Sailing through a pandemic like Covid was rough. Nine months ago, I was sitting happily with my home, business, family, and lifestyle, harmonising in perfect synchronicity. Then within 48 hours, we had to pack up our lives into three suitcases and fly out as international flight routes were cancelled by the hour.
Organising an unforeseen relocation while everything was on lockdown, working crazy hours to save jobs and the business from free-falling, and trying to juggle my child's home-schooling all at the same time, was probably one of the more challenging periods of my life. You think you have your life planned in one way, and it throws you curveballs where you least expect. Thankfully everything is back on its feet, but it has definitely offered me the opportunity to reassess what I value most.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
If the rightful owner insists that I keep the lottery ticket (haha), then I would reinvest the money into sustainable and conscious-driven businesses/organisations that will make a difference to our evolution as humanity. I would also probably buy a boat so that my family, friends and I can sail around the world looking for perfect and empty surf :)
How do you switch off after a day at work?
I like to go for a surf to reconnect with nature, then come home for dinner and play with my family. If time permits, I would also indulge in a glass of wine and Netflix.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
For parents to parent by listening, and for teachers to teach by listening. We have to listen to children not only because we can help them, but also because they can help us bring about our greatest transformation and growth.
When children are nurtured by people and environments that listen to them, they become adults who feel whole and grounded in their inner knowing. They(we) will be less likely to be manipulated or influenced by the media's external noise, market forces, consumerism, and uncentered advice. And the more likely they are to make decisions and cultivate relationships that serve them and others from a place of abundance instead of ego.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
The Awakened Family by Dr Shefali Tsabary
The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
The Hundred Languages of Children by C. Edwards, L.Gandini & G.Forman
Any book/podcast by Dr. Gabor Mate, Tara Brach, Brene Brown and Simon Sinek.
How should people connect with you?
Parents can connect with me for coaching at:
Teachers and international school teams can reach me for professional development training, courses and educational tours at:
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