Speaking of the digital news media advancement in Indonesia is nothing without mentioning Didi Nugrahadi. He is a co-founder of detik.com. I met him for the first time in 2009 when he was building salingsilang.com based on Langsat Street. Then he gave birth to other sub-websites such as—the most talked of the time—politikana.com.
Saling Silang stopped, but Didi’s passion did not. At his 60 years old and as if being retired doesn’t exist in his dictionary, he built beritagar.id and became the CEO and COO in several companies.
Well, it’s been a long time I haven’t had a talk with the folks for Persona feature. I met Pak Didi at Nitro Coffee a while back. We talked about so many things. I was also curious about how he addresses his status as a grandpa, since he is agile and energetic, not typically looking like a grandpa as we often see 😉 And as we all know in this collective culture society, grandpa and grandma play a significant role, both as support system or supporter while their grandchildren have stage performances or matches 🙂
When Colette was born, I remember you said that you’re afraid of bearing the red baby.
Oh yes, when she was just born, I’m still afraid, because her neck wasn’t strong yet. But after a while, I finally plucked my courage to bear her in my arms.
About the change in your status from being a father to a grand-father, do you feel like you have jetlag?
Nope, it was quite fine. When I see my granddaughter, I say in my heart, “Wow, she’s part of me…” Haha, it goes like that. But in my opinion, there are three approaches in parenting: first, I’m ahead, “just relax, I’m leading.” The second one, I’m beside them, hand in hand, altogether. The third one, the kids are ahead, “Son, go on because you have to. I’m behind you, following you.”
Like Tut Wuri Handayani (Tut Wuri Handayani means a teacher must be able to provide encouragement and direction. This is the motto of an Indonesian education figure Ki Hajar Dewantoro.)
It is okay if they fall. It happens sometimes in life. Go up! I choose to be behind them. So Dita (the first child) learn by herself, I totally set her free. Once I was invited as a speaker to share about parenting. So I gave my story as it is. The moderator said, “This is proven, great! You can follow it if you want, but if not, don’t do it. “ Haha… He thought that it’s too risky. Which risk? My wife once told me so, “How if our daughter repeats grades?” It’s okay if she repeats, why not? It is okay, isn’t it? Risk taker, haha. Anyway having a grand-daughter is fun.
How is it? Do you enjoy it?
When she comes, I’m glad.
Or tired? Oh, what a bothering, a peculiar kid… Dizzying?
Copying her parents. Colette is so cute anyway. Talkative, cheerful, and expressive.
Right, she is talkative. I admit that it’s cool. She has strong leadership. Among her peers, the bigger or little smaller ones, she tends to drive them. Maybe because her daddy is the first child, and so is her mom.
Parents are the decision makers for their children. In the case of your granddaughter, you have a request to Colette’s mom?
For telling her not to do this and that?
Many grandpas and grandmas pass their wish through the grand-children’s moms and dads, “Please send them to this school. Don’t forget to teach them about religion.”
Oh, no, I don’t.
And it even gets facilitated, for example, “I want you to send your kid to this school so that you should live near the school.” Especially related to education, such advice is given.
Nope. I don’t do that. At all. Dita told me about she enrolling Colette in several schools. There you go. She wanted to send her to a Catholic school before. It’s up to her. But among the options she told me, I feel like I prefer that Colette goes to Cikal. I don’t know what happened that Dita suddenly chose Cikal, too. Without she noticed that I prefer the same.
What do you want for Colette to notice the most?
I want to be beside her as long as possible. Accompanying her, not for other things. I wish we could share something, telling stories. Now, it isn’t yet. I wish to instil in her that someday we live alone.
It is actually the same advice you delivered to Dita, isn’t it?
Yes, the same one. They must be prepared, be tough.
Have you ever asked Dita, “please give me more grandchild, a grandson?”
Grandparents usually said, “One child is not enough, you must have two, so they will take care of you when you’re old.”
Well, Galuh, that’s not under my control, but under my children’s. If I truly request, I beg for that, then my children refused, I will be sad. If I am sad, it will get me devastated. I don’t want to do that, because I don’t want to be sad. If I am sad, I won’t be able to be there for my grand-daughter.
So, you never think of doing that?
Totally, no. It’s annoying when I see other families asking such questions, “When will you make another baby? We’re not sure that the question doesn’t bother the one who gets asked. If you want to ask, please ask about something that pleases them. If the question is bothering, one will be annoyed. If Dita has more ba-\bies, I will be happy, but if not, there’s no problem. Anyway, when Colette visits my house, instead of welcoming her with too much excitement like her grandma, I’m only silent.
The grand-daughter gets curious, doesn’t she?
Exactly! Maybe it’s her nature to prefer something that is not really intimidating.
That’s actually the way children are. If we’re too excited about them, they will wonder why.
Yes, you have a reason.
Do you meet her once a week?
Almost. I practice archery at home, at the backyard. Colette approaches, sees, and observes the process. She gradually took the arrows one by one, she helped me assemble it.
That’s one thing Colette like from her Grandpa?
So it seems. It’s more like, “Oh, it seems that this man love to do this sport, I think it’s fun.” If she sees it, she will try it. How I approach my granddaughter is by searching what she likes. It’s not about buying goods, but the activity.
This is also one thing. In the past, if the child held the bottle without its cover, “It gets spilt out, you know? If you shift it, it will spill.“ And finally, it really happens. What to do in such a situation? If it’s me, I’m not angry. If it’s spilt, it means that you have to tidy it up, arrange it, wipe it. I take a rag. I wipe it, she assists me, done. Do I scold her? No. I will tell her, advise her when she is relaxed. I make her remember that yesterday I warned but she insisted. Finally, we both got bothered to take care of it.
You advise them when she wants to be with you?
Yes. Why? Because when someone makes a mistake, he/she actually knows that he/she is wrong. When she makes a mistake, she needs a friend.
The guilty person needs a friend. Hmmh…
Yes, it’s like “hey, please stay here with me, what should I do with this ?!” That is my principle. To Colette, I did the same thing. The goal is that I want to be her friend. If I become a friend, later she will talk to me.
Haha… tricky. This method works not only to grandchildren, not only to children but also to wives, to employees, to friends, to subordinates. And I think the essence of communication is listening. I want to be Colette’s friend in my way because I do listen to her. And she treats me as her friend. That’s what I learned from my mom.
When I was married I was given a book by Mother, How to Talk to Children so They Will Listen, and Listen to Children so They will Talk. I moved to Jakarta with this book.
Ahead of her time.
The generation of my parents, your generation, is known to be authoritarian.
My father used to be like that. I think simply. If you don’t like people to treat you badly, otherwise I won’t do that either. So when I have my own family, I don’t want to do the same way, but in the opposite one. My mother was a teacher, she taught me math until I cried. “You must make it, you must make it.” So when I have my own children, I set them free.
Yes, we learn from parents. Most people think not to do things like our parents did. Does Dita do it otherwise?
Now to Colette?
Yes, for example, “I want to treat Colette like my parents treat me.”
I don’t know and never ask. Because I definitely have many shortcomings. There must be something that fits and that doesn’t. Anyway, I don’t want to have any expectation. If you want to ask, go asking. I feel annoyed when I request, then I get rejected, it hurts me. Don’t bother hahaha, I just want to be happy with my life.
Cool. Because what I often hear, “You are up to you, your children are free whatever they will be, but…” but there is but.
Hahaha… that’s the same way when it came about religion. Once Dita asked me about getting married to a Muslim? I gave her one condition, “Never convert your religion without studying it before. You must know what the religion is like, don’t convert because of marriage. Or yeah, it’s better if you have none.
Make sense. What about Dita’s mother?
Finally, she just follows me. But she’s still a grandma in a general way. She always misses, wants to meet her daughter or grand-daughter. Colette usually visits us on Saturday. If she doesn’t come, my wife then wants to go to Dita’s house on Sunday. I told her, “if you want to go there, go on.” On Sunday I have an activity to do, and I don’t want to be disturbed just because I want to meet grandchildren. I don’t know if this way will work. But the keyword here is expectation management.
Even towards grandchildren, you must manage your expectation?
Yes, we have a lot of interests: meeting grandchildren, expecting that they would be like this or that, etc.
Do you make a big effort to control yourself like that?
Unfortunately, I’ve been trained for that. That’s another part that makes me able to manage hopes, manage expectations. PGB Bangau Putih (The Body Movement Union of White Crane).
Oh wow, the Bangau Putih!
Joining the PGB Bangau Putih for 16 years has changed how I think about many things. The Bangau Putih teaches us to be balanced. Physique (food/drink), body (flexibility) and mind. The question is, have I been balanced? Not yet. Far. Because I think that balance is a goal. When will you want to reach it? No need to think about it. Yes, it’s true that I have a purpose to reach it. And the hardest part is learning to “let it go”. But because I have a true intention to do it, here I go.