By Gerald Chue, Centre for Fathering
I came home to my 9-year-old daughter standing by the front door with a storybook in her hand. At least that was what I thought Natalie was holding on to at first glance. But on closer inspection, I noticed the words ‘Report Book’ printed on the cover. My heart screamed, passed out and woke up all in a single beat.
It was the day we’d (my wife included) been waiting for, the day we’d spent all year preparing for. And I was to learn if the Report Book contained Nat’s gold medal, or a harsh reminder to “Try Harder”. I closed the door, and motioned her to a chair before taking a seat myself. My wife, having already embraced its contents, chose to remain tightlipped despite my face contorting for answers. So I took the book with an air of calm even the Dalai Lama would’ve been proud of, and opened it to the page that mattered.
“…on closer inspection, I noticed the words ‘Report Book’ printed on the cover. My heart screamed, passed out and woke up all in a single beat.”Gerald Chue
As my eyes swept over the page, all the tuition classes, assessment books, pencils, sharpeners and erasers we invested in flashed before my eyes. Thankfully, they hadn’t come to mock me. Instead, they came to tell me it was all worth it.
Nat aced her exams just as we’d hoped. She was the champ, and I was the winning father who helped guide his child on the path to success. That was when I heard them; family, friends, neighbours and strangers. Suddenly, out of the blue, they were all around me, all chanting my name. I got up off my chair and raised my arms in the air.
Then I woke up.
This time out of reality rather than a dream, more aware, more conscious of my role and responsibility as my daughter’s father. Where my dreams should serve to guide, so her dreams may form on their own. Where I should be her role model, she shouldn’t be my reflection. Where my thirst for her future success should thrive, it shouldn’t end her childhood in failure. Where I should be her father, I must first be her Dad.
So it’s no surprise that I don’t want to be Nat’s father anymore. Fact is, I want to be her Dad more than anything else.
Gerald Chue is a busy professional working in the corporate world and a proud father of 2 girls aged 9 and 3.
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