Centre for Fathering-Dads for Life (CFF-DFL), in partnership with Mediacorp, announced the kickoff of this year’s Celebrating Fathers 2018 at a press conference on 17 May 2018. This nationwide initiative to honour fathers continues a tradition of month-long celebratory activities over June, and culminates in a Dad’s Day Out event on Father’s Day.
Celebrating Fathers this year explores one area of raising strong families that deserves more attention: the role of grandfathers. Expanding on the theme: “A Dad is for Life – Honouring Fathers from Generation to Generation,” CFF Chairman, Mr Richard Hoon, highlighted the importance of values and value transmission across generations.
A father and grandfather’s influence in a child’s life makes the successful passing of values across the generations far more likely. James Bates, a professor in Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University, cites three major themes in studies on relationships between grandfathers and grandchildren:
1. Grandfathers have a lasting influence on their grandchildren.
2. Grandfathers are meaningfully impacted by their active involvement with their grandchildren.
3. Grandfathers and grandchildren’s relationships are strengthened by interaction and participation in activities, which impacts relationship quality (closeness) and relationship satisfaction.
Bridging Across the Generations
An inter-generational fathering outlook goes beyond the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. CEO Mr Bryan Tan shared that as a son, he too needed to “demonstrate to my children what it is to honour my father, my parents.” Mr Tan added that establishing strong multigenerational ties have lasting value and impact, especially as we ourselves become grandfathers in the future.
Drawing from personal experience, Mr Tan explained how building strong generational bonds is a work in progress for everyone. “I had a very strained relationship with my dad, to the extent that for years, I kept my family away from him. But I realised through reflecting upon the relationship between him and my grandfather, he could not give me what I needed as a son because he did not receive it from my grandfather.” It was this change in perspective that finally “led us onto the path of reconciliation.”
Mr Tan also added that it is good that children see the struggles that their fathers face in real life. “My kids may be young, but I’m sure they’re starting to evaluate who I am as a father,” he said. His efforts to continue reconciliation with his father will surely leave valuable lessons for his children.
From Generation to Generation
Grandfathers never stop being fathers, and fathers never stop being sons. The impact and legacy of every fathering role doesn’t just stop at one generation, but leaves a mark for generations after.
Collin Chee, 51, a business consultant and dad to four children, recalled how his father taught him to forgive and love unconditionally. Chee revealed, “I’ve let my father down many times in my earlier days, but instead of being angry he sought to understand me. Now that I’m a father myself, I try to do the same for my children. I’ve also come to realise that my father has been very patient with me, so I’m that way with him now. But the best thing is how my children can see this and they have become more patient and understanding towards me too.”
Chee also recounted a deeply touching anecdote of his early years in the acting profession. Back then he was nominated for a Starsearch award that involved voting via local magazine cutouts submitted by readers. He did not win that year, but months later, while he was clearing his apartment, he found a stash of almost a thousand magazines with the Starsearch voting page cut out. Tearfully, Mr Chee explained how his father had secretly gone and bought stacks of magazines, cutting out the voting slips one by one to fill up painstakingly, in support of his son.
CFF volunteer father, Mohamad Umar, did not grow with a deep relationship with his own father, Mohamad Mossudiq. At 11, his parents separated and he only met his father once a year on Hari Raya. However, when he became a dad, Mr Umar’s relationship with his father took a turn for the better and they now spend much more time with each other. Now, Mr Mossudiq has even taught his grandchildren to swim. Further strengthening their bonds, Mr Umar has also learned how to manage his family finances from his father.
Keeping all the grandfathers in mind this Father’s Day, we hope to see many families make Celebrating Fathers an occasion to connect across the generations!
The Dad’s Day Out carnival this year is held on 18 June at the OCBC Square, Singapore Sports Hub. It features challenges that promote intergenerational family bonding, such as a trishaw ride down memory lane, virtual reality games and stage activities with appearances by popular Mediacorp artistes. Held concurrently with the World Cup football season, there are also special sports activities like human foosball and inflatable ball challenges for dads and their kids to enjoy. Find out more about the activities for Celebrating Fathers 2018 at http://celebratingfathers.sg.