Friday, 5 January 2018

The Walk of Life

When the Centre for Fathering told me one month ago that they plan to make a video based on what I wrote three years ago entitled "Walking my girl to school, walking with her for life", I was pleasantly surprised.

The first question that came into my mind then was: "It's just a morning routine lah, what's so special?" That was my honest thought.

In fact, I was not doing it alone. Other parents were doing it too. From every race, from every background, many parents accompanied their kids to their primary school.

If we parents are the gatekeepers of their little life, then every morning by the school gate, or by every school gate in Singapore, you will witness many heart-felt exchanges between parents and their children.

Here are some of the exchanges I sometimes witness in the morning.

There was a mother who to me was more than a gatekeeper to her daughter. She was also a coach, a cheerleader and an entertainer all rolled into one.

Despite her child's tears, and refusal to enter the school gate, the mother would patiently assure her. She would hug her repeatedly, assure her she will come to fetch her back, and tell her jokes to distract her.

Another regular sight was a father who rode on the e-bike to school. His son was his pillion rider, a very cute boy with charming manners - if I may say so myself.

This was the same father whose teenage son recently collapsed when playing basketball in school and sadly passed away.

Yet, despite the pain, which I can only imagine, he faithfully fetched his younger son to school. Now, that's one paternal devotion I hold in high regards.

My point is that there is always this special meaning for parents when we take our kids to school. Our presence, even in silence, reminds them that we will always be there for them when they need us.

We are like the guardians of their little galaxy before they grow up one day and become guardians of their children's own little galaxies.

But let me just add that it doesn't have to be a walk to school. It could be anytime spent when we are alone with them; that special bonding time.

It could be anything from the most routine to that which takes months to plan.

I sometimes date my son out for a movie, or take my daughter out to buy ice-cream after dinner.

Some fathers I know do even more like bringing their kid to a five-day camp, to overseas missionary trip or for a staycation. These moments spent remind us dads of our sacred responsibility we have over our kids.

Now, back to the Centre of Fathering video. I realised that that's exactly what is so special about fatherhood.

It is the routine activity we engage with our kid that nobody sees. And every such ordinary moment eventually adds up. It adds up to that defining moment to make the routine special, the ordinary extraordinary, and the moments transforming.

So, below is the video about one of these defining moments. I hope it moves you the same way it moved me. 

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