Saturday, June 15, 2013

What do fathers want?

FATHER’S Day is this Sunday and the “Sweet and chocolaty message for fathers” in The Star the other day has prompted me to put on my thinking cap on what a father wants for his children, the generations to come, and the fathers themselves.

After being a father for close to two decades, it sets me to think for the first time what is treasured most in my life as a father. Children. They are more than apples of my life. They are God’s most precious gifts that have been entrusted to my care.

Every aspect of their development, such as their health, education, emotional and spiritual growth, brings great joy to me. A father’s responsibilities are burdensome but worthwhile and rewarding.

Among them, education tops the priorities and this includes enrolling one in Austin Heights Private and International School and another in Singapore Polytechnic.

The decisions, though incurring a huge financial commitment, become easier after deliberating on their strength and weaknesses in studies.

Discipline comes in whenever necessary for sparing the rod will spoil the brats to achieve academically. The endeavour to nurture them requires, other than discipline, love and care plus lots of patience.

During school breaks, they are pampered with a holiday, either locally or once in a blue moon, an overseas trip, to enrich their lives and at the same time strengthen the family bond.

Most fathers desire a peaceful and politically-stable country for the children to grow up.

Political stability is important to ensure sustained socio-economic growth which promises brighter job prospects for their children.

Some parents, like me, are in our early 50s and very soon, our generation will be over but to our children and the future generations, it is just the beginning.

So, it is all the more crucial for our young people to be brought up in a society that is conducive and harmonious.

The country should also be free from political bickering and in-fighting for these will distract the leaders who are mandated by the rakyat to prioritise the country’s development, which includes seeing through policies like the Economic Transformation Programme and Iskandar Malaysia to fulfil the high-income nation status and Vision 2020.

Many views have also been expressed by various stakeholders, especially the PAGE and lately, Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, to emphasise more on the English language, to enable our children to be competitive in this globalised world.

Mutual trust, neighbourhood security, transparency and efficiency in the delivery system and public accountability should prevail in a society that treasures meritocracy much more than ethnicity.

A desirable society values diversity in religion, custom and belief that are part and parcel of a multi-racial community. It is also a nation where the leaders lead by example and walk the talk of the 1Malaysia concept in their daily lives, and not only when the general election is around the corner.

The proverb “behind every successful man there is a woman” depicts the importance of a wife to the father and the children. Her role in a family is further highlighted in “home sweet home”, “home is where the heart is” and “the hands that cradle the cot rock the world”.

The father and children of such a home are the MOST blessed souls in the world when there is a wise and diplomatic wife at the household. Her words are soothing in times of weariness and refreshing when one wakes up on the wrong side of the bed.

They could turn to her for words of advice or for second opinions.

Fathers should be treated as the head of households and be allowed to call the final shot if a compromise is difficult to come by. This will set examples for the children to emulate when they have their own families one day.

As the Chinese proverb says, jia he wan shi xing, which literally means that when there is harmony at home, every aspect of our lives will prosper.

That is something that every father wishes to have for himself and family but has always been elusive.

New models after new models have been launched but are often beyond their reach.

The high taxes have put many fathers in the “day-dreaming” gear and hopefully, the 20%-30% reduction in prices over a period of five years as promised by the Government can be shortened to say, two years so that a teacher like me can start saving from now on and be in time to pursue my dream of owning the Toyota Altis to replace the 13-year-old faithful Toyota Unser before the retirement.

Cheers to all fellow fathers on this coming Father’s Day!

TING LIAN LEE Johor Baru

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