Father’s Day is a time for reflection and gratitude.

This Father’s Day brings back memories of when I first became a dad to my firstborn son. Soon after, my family grew I was blessed with two daughters, completing the magic number: 3👌🏽

Back then, I had no idea how to be a dad, but I knew it would be a wild ride, given my own childhood antics and the challenges my father faced in raising me. Growing up in a rough neighborhood certainly shaped my expectations, making me anticipate a tough road ahead.

When the opportunity arose to attend an ICAN Fathering workshop conducted by Edwin Choy at the Centre for Fathering, I seized it.

This workshop was a revelation. It opened my eyes to the complexities and challenges of fatherhood, far beyond what I had initially anticipated.

Despite these challenges, I realized that being a father would be the most fulfilling role any man could have in his lifetime.

This realization became my driving force.

It is a chance to be someone whom my children look up to, depend on, love and respect as the man of the house. There truly is no job more rewarding than being a father.

Through the ICAN Fathering workshop, it also provided an unexpected bonus: the chance to make new friends who shared my journey and a newfound passion for fathering. We clicked instantly and in 2016, we established “Bapa Sepanjang Hayat”.

Our very first mission was to introduce the ICAN Fathering workshop to all our friends who were fathers, because we believed that the insights and information we gained were invaluable and should be shared. It was the only fathering workshop we knew of at the time and it made a significant impact on me and the others. And together we felt it was essential for other fathers to benefit from it as we had.

Typically, I don’t do much to celebrate Father’s Day beyond having dinner with my family.

However, this year, in 2024, I find myself feeling a bit more emotional. My firstborn son is now 17 years old and National Service is just around the corner. He is on the brink of manhood and I can’t help but reflect on how I’ve raised him and whether I have achieved my goal of helping him become a better version of myself.

Looking back, I soon realized that trying to mold my children into my own vision of what they should be misses the essence of fatherhood.

It’s about guiding our children to become their own unique selves, equipped with the values and wisdom we impart along the way. It’s about supporting them in their journey, allowing them to make their own decisions and sometimes their own mistakes, while being there to offer love and guidance.

And as they discover their own and… in that process, I too have grown and learned what it truly means to be a father.

Fatherhood has taught me invaluable lessons. It has shown me the importance of patience, understanding and unconditional love. It has been a journey filled with challenges, but also immense joy and satisfaction. Watching my children grow and develop into their own individuals has been the most rewarding experience of my life.

Every moment spent with them, whether it’s through their triumphs or their struggles, is a precious opportunity to bond and grow together.

As my son prepares for National Service, it’ll be the next stage of his life, I am filled with pride and a touch of nostalgia. I hope that the values and lessons I’ve imparted to him will serve him well as he steps into adulthood. I hope that he sees in me a father who was always there for him, who supported his dreams and who respected him as an individual. I hope he knows that being his father has been the greatest joy and the most important job I could ever have.

I also look forward to continuing this journey with my daughters, supporting and guiding them as they grow.

In conclusion, Father’s Day is a time for reflection and gratitude.

It’s a reminder of the incredible responsibility and privilege it is to be a father. Fatherhood is indeed a wild ride, but it’s one that I wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world.

It’s a role that shapes not only our children but also ourselves.

✊🏽Here’s to all the fathers who strive to be the best they can be and to the lifelong journey of fatherhood that we all share.