A Father’s Day tribute: How dads equip their kids (Part I)

From left: My dad and I with my dear godfather, the late Jone Wong; Papa with our family at Alexander’s Steak House in San Francisco last summer; my husband equipping my kids with Marin and Orbea bikes complete with helmet when they were learning to bike; and my husband’s latest gift to them was installing this Spalding NBA Basketball ring from Pro Line Sports.

IT was 2010 when I wanted to push for “Dad Empowerment” in my work. I remember how my husband was too afraid to carry our newborn because she was so tiny. He only got confident to carry her more when she was a little over a year old. I wanted to find tools to equip fathers more. At the time, we found a carrier brand, Ergobaby, which allowed “heart-to-heart” embrace while the baby was being carried. We introduced the concept of how dads, after a whole week of work, can actually spend quality heart-to-heart time with their baby, and mothers can relax a bit while the family strolls through the mall.

Today, 10 years after, I am very happy to see how dad involvement in childcare has vastly evolved. I see how more dads proudly carry their babies in the mall. I see how dads accompany their kids to school or enrichment classes, or even tutor their kids. I see how single fathers assume their emotional parental roles by actively seeking time with their kids. I value this development because I genuinely benefited from my dad’s parenting. Now that my kids are 14 and 10, I also see many traces of proof on how my husband’s guidance has led my kids to be the strong individuals they are today. So, for this Father’s Day, allow me to write a tribute on how grateful I am on how dads in my family have equipped us….

FROM MY OWN DAD

WOMEN EMPOWERMENT. This came in both material and emotional support. When I was into basketball in high school, my dad actually made it possible to clear out the garden at the back of our house and build a concrete half court for me. When he knew I started to collect 1:18 model cars, he actually gifted me with an XJ220 1:12 Maisto Grey Collector car. I learned how to drive at 14. I got my license at 18. He trained me to use hand-me-down cars first. He did not mind that I was called “Schumacher” by my college friends because I drove fast. He knew that driving skills would equip me in being more independent. My dad even taught me how to hold my liquor. Ever since I was a child, my dad has always equipped me with the strong belief that being a girl should never limit me to accomplish what any boy could do.

DISCIPLINE AND HARD WORK. My dad walks the talk in hard work and discipline. He still lists down all his expenses for the day. I remember since we were kids, he would bring home all the daily vouchers from the office and meticulously check them at night. He is also disciplined in his heritage. He never fails to visit the ancestral temple every Chinese New Year, or continue the legacy of my grandfather through family associations. He is adamant about things he knows will equip us for our future, like how he trained us to speak fluent Fukien and Mandarin. At work, I admire my dad’s convictions and how he employs his long-term and unpopular approach. He always took the harder role of pointing out system improvements.

THE MEANING OF FRIENDSHIP. With friendships, he would always tell me to be a good “rainy day” friend, that even if you don’t see your friends during the good times, it’s most important for me to be there for them in their time of need. I am lucky that one of my godfather is a friend my dad had known for over 50 years. I want to take this chance to say thank you to Ninong Jone Wong, who recently passed away. Thank you for always treating me with my favorite food, like Ruth Chris, whenever I visit Hong Kong. Most of all, thank you for being a dear friend to my dad.

FROM MY FATHER-IN-LAW

HIS EXAMPLE OF HARD WORK. Papa, as we usually call him, has worked since he lost his parents at 17.

Up to now, he never stops and even has new projects. His practical and resourceful ways never fail to impress us.

THE LESSON OF GENEROSITY. Papa has devoted his life for his family since they lost their parents early. He has helped not only many a family member but his generosity is also reflected on how he cares for his employees. With my kids, he is the first to reward them when they get academic awards in school.

GOOD CONVERSATIONS. We are lucky to have long and meaningful conversations with my father-in-law whether it be about business, family or core values. That’s why I love spending the New Year in Bicol because of the time we get to converse with Papa.

FROM MY HUSBAND

THE LOVE AND DEDICATION FOR SPORTS. My husband has been an athlete all his life. My kids would always get inspired from how he would practice basketball for hours a day during his grade school and high school life; and from all his stories in honing his skills in tennis, swimming, badminton and, now, triathlon. I thank him for my kids’ love for sports today. From giving them pointers when they were starting to swim and bike; to supporting them in their basketball; and, and of course, for cheering them on in their fencing competitions here and abroad. They know that, win or lose, he is there to hug, push and be their No. 1 supporter.

To be continued….

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