Monday, 9 June 2008

Of Children & Fathers Day

Excerpt from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran

Of Children....

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.


This is Fathers Day week and I am not a father who makes any bones about needing a day in a year to celebrate fathers.

To me, a father has got to do what a father has got to do without needing any recognition for carrying responsibilities that he chose to have in the first place. As Nike puts it..."Just Do It!"

I am more inclined to think Fathers Day is about my kids as they are the reasons I am a father in the first place. Krystyn Cheah Pei Shan born in 1986 and Cheah Jie Juan (JJ) four years later are my children. And as cliché as it may sound, they are the best things that happened to Jeannie and I; we could not have wished for better children.

Jeannie and I discussed way before they were born what we wanted in a daughter and a son. In many ways they became what we talked about. We wanted them to grow up to be good people and felt the best way was to inculcate in them what we felt were the right values. We knew this could only be by continuous process of daily guidance and consistent practice of what we preached.

We also knew they were not going to have a religious upbringing (in the sense of mainstream religions) and we wanted them to have solid grounding in humanist values. With the global and local upheavals that were going on these last two decades in the name of religion, we did not want them to be confused and misguided by peer and societal pressure. Yet we wanted them to be able to blend in with society at large. We needed to equip them with independent thought.

Krystyn and JJ were brought up with love and were taught that love is never zero-sum. Nevertheless, we tried to inculcate in them a strong sense of fairplay and justice as a basis of dealing with people and situations. Jeannie showed them the meaning of compassion, generosity and respecting others. She also imbued in them a strong sense of humour and the ability to laugh at themselves.

Our children never needed to be straight-A students nor did they need to excel on the sports field or in any extra-curricular activities. But, they were expected to pass their exams and put in their best effort in anything worthwhile that they do. They know the importance of having sufficient academic and non-academic ability and qualifications to be able to compete in an increasingly competitive environment. They know we do not want them to be pushovers and taken advantage of.

They will face their own trials and tribulations, yet we cannot and would not try to live their lives for them. Just as our parents allowed us to make our own lives after adulthood almost by default, Krystyn and J.J. too would, as they come into their own.

Krystyn and J.J., the only difference today is that Mummy could not keep her promise of always being here to welcome you home any time you are hurting. She did better; by not being with us physically, the sense of her in our hearts and the memory of her provides us with our own strength to live a life worth living; a good life that is satisfying and which encompasses good conduct.


Fathers Day presents from Krystyn and J.J.

Thanks Krystyn, you are a special daughter.

J.J. you put it so well when you said in your blog, you are not a mummy's boy but that you are Mummy's son. It is an honour for me to be your father. This present from you I think is because of the duet Mummy and I used to sing; "My Way"....mmm, "Our Way".


And now, the end is near;
And so we face the final curtain.
Our friend, we'll say it clear,
We'll state our case, of which we're certain.

We've lived a life thats full.
We've traveled each and evry highway;
And more, much more than this,
We did it our way.

Regrets, we've had a few;
But then again, too few to mention.
We did what we had to do
And saw it through without exemption.

We planned each charted course;
Each careful step along the byway,
But more, much more than this,
We did it our way.

Yes, there were times, Im sure you knew
When we bit off more than we could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
We ate it up and spit it out.
We faced it all and we stood tall;
And did it our way.

We've loved, we've laughed and cried.
We've had our fill; our share of losing.
And now, as tears subside,
We find it all so amusing.

To think we did all that;
And may we say - not in a shy way,
No, oh no not us,
We did it our way.

For what is a man (for what is a woman),
what has he got (what has she got)?
If not himself (herself), then he (she) has naught.
To say the things we truly feel;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows we took the blows -
And did it our way!

** *********************************************************************

This Fathers Day post is also dedicated to Yi Wen, Saiful, Leah and Hui Sin.

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