5 Lessons from a Father

23 Jun 2016 

Father's Day came and went and expectedly, the hype over it was not as huge as Mother's Day.


But in our household, we believe that dads are just as integral as mums! They are central to the emotional well-being of their children and active fathering is essential for a healthy family unit.


To teach the kids the importance of celebrating fatherhood, my kids don't just bring Daddy out for a meal, they include Gong Gong and Grandpa as well. We do this as we want the kids to know the importance of honouring the men in the family. 


Recently, I gathered some of my friends and together we came up with a list of essential lessons or values that we as fathers, hope to pass down to our kids. 


1. Never lay your hands on the Opposite Sex
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A gentleman is someone who does not physically abuse a member of the opposite sex. Violence should never be a solution when there are disputes, and should not even be considered as the last resort. As Dads, we need to be effective role models, and teach our boys this important value.

I always remind my son, that while it is his job to protect his sisters, he should not do so with his fists. Although he is still discovering his "chops" and sometimes hiding behind his sisters, we believe that he will be emboldened to rise up even more in the days to come!


2. Laugh when one makes mistakes!

Everyone makes mistakes! We can either knock ourselves down when we make a "boo-boo", or laugh at ourselves and bounce back up. Instead of taking life so seriously, mistakes are part of the learning process of life. As a dad, I always tell my children that it's alright when we make mistakes!


When the kids accidentally drop a plate, I can get frustrated with them. Growing up, the kids have burst into tears when they made silly mistakes! But as Daddy and Mummy laughed at ourselves, the children too have learnt to look at things differently and not beat themselves up over mistakes. It's like what they say, when life gives you lemons, we need to make lemonade!


3. Setting aside money for a rainy day

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Life is unpredictable and we all need to save for that unexpected incident in our lives. Recently, we planned for a holiday in Perth, with our limited income. We had all our expenses mapped out, right down to the last dollar. However, something unexpected happened! Our car broke down, and we were faced with additional expenses that we just did not cater for. Our holiday plans would have gone down the drain, if not for the money that we had specially set aside for such unexpected road blocks.  


Nothing goes according to plan and when we face an unplanned road block in life, we may find ourselves having to dip into our savings. So we need to build a healthy savings regime from young!


Similarly, when it comes to healthcare, we should always plan ahead.


Take for example; we are required to contribute a portion of our monthly income to Medisave, which can be used for our family's hospitalisation, day surgery and certain outpatient expenses.


Just recently, I brought my dad to the clinic, and I had the option to pay for his medication and treatment, using my Medisave. That was when I realised; that I could not use my Medisave to pay for the complete bill as it was restricted to withdrawal limits.


Like many Singaporeans, I lamented why are there limits in place? But I got back and did some research and realised that the limits help maintain a balance between spending it on current treatments and ensuring I have enough for my future expenses.


Besides payments for medical bills and treatments, did you know you can also use Medisave to pay for your Insurance premiums?  

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4. Keeping updated with the latest in healthcare

On the same note, I believe it is important that everyone keeps up-to-date with the latest happenings in healthcare in order to plan for their family's needs. Since November 2015, MediShield Life has replaced MediShield. Like many, I did not really know what the change entailed, and if it will benefit me. Here's what I found out:

5 Lessons from a Father 2.pngIn a nutshell, MediShield Life is a basic health insurance plan which helps pay for large hospital bills and selected costly outpatient treatments, such as dialysis and chemotherapy for cancer.


Also, all individuals with pre-existing medical conditions will now be covered under MediShield Life.  


I have a friend who suffered a minor back injury from a fall but her private insurance claims were denied as they labelled it as a pre-existing condition, since she was previously a school athlete. Despite being able to prove liability with medical records, her claims were still denied.


Thankfully with MediShield Life, she is now covered. Such benefits are a lifesaver for patients with pre-existing medical conditions not covered by their private insurance plans, as this also means savings for the whole family.

Depending on our needs and financial appetite, we need to make informed decisions and the only way we can do that is to ensure we are always updated with the latest information.


5. Character is more important than Grades                                         

In Singapore, when education is placed on a pedestal, the chase for excellent grades is the holy grail of life.

We all know of children who have tuition and remedial classes throughout the week, and have no time for any other activity. As a family, we pack all our children's tuition classes on weekdays, so that they are free to have fun on the weekends. If there is a sport which they like, we do our best to nurture their interest, and help them develop their game. In this way, families can and should prioritise character over studies, putting a focus on character, rather than getting a distinction in their studies.


Whether it is academics, sports, or the arts, we need to make use of these platforms to instil the right values into our child. Parenting is becoming a life coach, and we need to guide our children, so that they can make the right choices in life.



The above 5 are just some of the many values that my daddy's friends and I hope to pass down. I am sure that there are many more, as every Dad is different! However, we all have one thing in common - we aim to pass on the best and most trusted values to the next generation! :)

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