How well do you know your dad? How did his dad influence his parenting style? This Father’s Day, we ask four fathers how they feel about their roles, and what inspires them in the way they embrace the role of fatherhood.
Kota (left) and Yam Lim (right) with their children
Kota Ramu, 37, Senior Business Analyst
Dad to Charan, 5, and Rahul 2
My dad is a father, a leader, a friend and a mentor. There’s a lot that he has taught me: to be loving, kind, patient, and supportive.
When I found out that I was going to be a father I hugged and kissed my wife and told her, I love you very much.
The first thing that crossed my mind when my baby was born was to be thankful for the blessing of a healthy baby. I was also very excited to see who the baby resembled more, mother or father!
Being a father has taught me to be understanding, patient, thoughtful in making decisions, and to adjust my life in a way that suits the kid’s needs.
As a dad my responsibility and commitment are to stand as the head of family, the leader and mentor.
My advice to a new father is that you need to understand your own kids as a parent, friend, teacher, and leader, and guide them well on the path between the good and the bad.
Lee Yam Lim, 43, Engineer
Dad to Audrey, 9, and Bryan, 7
My father is a quiet person who does not interact much. He is more traditional and not expressive at home. Hence, my relationship with him is more of a respectful and obedient type. He taught me to study hard and be hardworking. This is very important in this society where academic success is still viewed as an important head-start. The education system is stressful and kids need to cope with so much compared to the past. Questions for the Primary 4 level then may be posed to the P1s now!
The first thing I did when I found out that I was going to be a father was to tell the whole world!
The first thing I did when I saw my first child being born was to touch her, tear up, and think ‘oh, she is so fragile but adorable’.
Being a father has taught me to be brave, as you have to be there for your children. Life is tough but they will have to face it in future. We have to nurture them. It has also taught me to self reflect. What you don’t want them to be, you have to correct in yourself first.
Being a dad rekindles the love every time I see them and am with them. Their innocence makes me smile. Their tears make me melt.
The worst thing about being a dad is the anxiety for their safety, and anxiety when they are down.
What can dads do for the kids that mums can’t? Hmm, to be politically correct, nothing.
My advice to a new father would be to develop your love for your child. Start it early and start it now. It is not routine.
Andy Lee, 41, works in Sales
Dad to Gareth, 8, Kieron, 6, and Gwyneth, 4
My relationship with my father was not very close but we got along well. I feel that as parents, we should be closer to our kids so that they know who they can seek help from when they are in trouble. We should be like a friend to them rather than a discipline master.
The one thing I learned from my dad was to be independent. Similarly, I would expect my kids to be more pro-active in whatever they do. Being independent has helped me to become more sensible and responsible.
The first thing I did when I found out that I was going to be a father was to inform my mother.
The first thought that crossed my mind when I saw my first child being born was ‘when can I carry him?’
Being a father has taught me responsibility and patience.
As a dad, I love the joy of watching my kids grow and learn.
My advice to a new father or a father-to-be is to start planning and get ready for a change of lifestyle.
Thio Gunawan, 40, IT Developer
Dad to Nicole, 7, and Rachel 3
My father respects each of his children as a person. Since early on, we have been conversing like adults, exchanging ideas and suggestions. I have learnt to treat my children the same way, by respecting each of them for the person that they are.
The first emotion I felt when I found out that I was going to be a father was happiness.
The first thought that crossed my mind when I saw my first child being born was to be thankful for the gift of a healthy baby. Then I wondered if she would take after me or my wife. In hindsight, this was no use since the child changes as she grows, in both looks and temperament.
Being a father has taught me that each child is different. My older girl has good social skills whereas my younger girl – who is less enthusiastic about mingling with people – focuses more on doing a good job. If there is one thing that I have learnt from them, it is not to generalise people, as everyone is different.
As a dad, I love to experience my children. I find joy in watching them blossom into kind-hearted children, with neverending curiosity and the will to learn.
The worst thing about being a dad is sometimes missing the time when the children were still very small. When I look at old photos of them, I wonder how time passed by so quickly. I also constantly wonder and cannot help but worry about whether we have already guided the children, developed their characters and set a good example for them.
What dads can do for the kids that mums can’t? Fathers are blessed with objectivity on the topic of vanity. We can teach our children to give less emphasis on things such as hair and clothes.
My advice to a new father is to be prepared to survive on less sleep.