Ten years ago, 19th of November was a day to remember… Yes, it was International Men’s Day, but it was also when our lion city saw the beginning of its own Fathers’ movement, DADs for Life! On this day, more than 100 fathers and children were mobilized across the island to distribute “Toolkit Packs” for dads.
Since then, Centre for Fathering has developed and run countless programs that ensure fathers in every part of society know and commit to their role. We continue to provide tools for fathers to transform their families into resilient, loving and supportive environments for their kids of all ages – because someday, they will be fathers and mothers too!
It has been an amazing decade of rediscovering what family means to each dad, and what dad means to the family!
As a national movement arising from the Lion City, we’re dedicating this tribute season to all Lionhearted Dads that make up DADs for Life, to honour every brave protector and provider of the family.
Lions are regal and restful, and exert an authority and influence by their presence. They are also fiercely loyal, and fight alongside each other to defend their common territory. We’re celebrating 10 years of DADs for Life only because of the many champions likes these Lionhearted Dads walking with us.
David Ang is a CEO and Dad of three; ages 21, 17 and 15. He believes a lifestyle of love and sacrifice for the family pays handsomely in the end. In fact, “fathers who choose to be selfless grow and mature the most.”
Volunteering with DADs for Life over the past 10 years has also made a difference in his own family. “Awareness of my role as a father and husband greatly improved my relationship with my wife and children. And that makes nurturing and teaching much easier.”
David advocates for DADs for Life in community talks and constantly encourages fellow fathers to be equipped with CFF’s practical fathering courses. It’s a powerful movement he believes his kids will continue to carry as parents themselves! “My hope is that ahead of balancing career responsibilities, they would love their spouse deeply and take the time to nurture their children, instilling good values all the way from birth, for their adulthood,” he added.
Goh Hong Yi
Here’s one of our passionate DADs for Life champions, Goh Hong Yi! An occupational psychologist by training, Hong Yi (top: fourth from right) has been helping to engage dads in the community since DADs for Life began.
While facilitating DADs for Life programs for different groups, this 10th anniversary year has been special for Hong Yi with the kick off of Bapa Sepanjang Hayat, the local expression of DADs for Life in the Malay community!
Hong Yi believes better dads grow stronger children, and constantly looks for practical ways for dads to stay connected with their children at every stage of their journey. “As they grow, we need to grow alongside as parents too.” Volunteering in this fathering movement has been his way of leading by example, and he hopes his three teenage children will carry the same heart to serve, and redefine the status quo to make their impact on society!
Mustaffa Bin Osman
Celebrating the highs and growing through the lows: that’s what being a Lionhearted Dad means to Mustaffa Bin Osman! The public service officer is a father of 3 kids (ages 24 to 28) and hopes they will become loving and responsible parents themselves.
DADs for Life has helped Mus recognise the utmost importance of being present in his children’s lives. As a volunteer trainer since 2015, he equips other dads to actively journey with their children, and to apply successful parenting principles.
“Giving your children what they want may not necessarily be what they need. Learn along the way and make an effort to understand your child. Most of all, love them unconditionally.”
Ever since Umar rose to the challenge of being the best father he couldbe to each of his six children, life was never the same for their family! Aged 2, 6, 8, 10, 11 and 13, his little ones are living a vibrant childhood in the footsteps of their father.
Speaking from experience, the Senior Parts Officer and DADs for Life Champion hopes that “every dad would be positively and actively engaged in their children’s lives, as it is beneficial in the long run.”
“They develop more socially, physically, academically, emotionally and spiritually when they have a positive role model in their lives,” Umar observes. He hopes to cultivate in his kids the wonderful habit of giving and volunteering.
“Volunteering is the selfless effort to bring cheer to others. It is the greatest, most rewarding thing to see lives change for recipients, their communities and in turn, volunteers ourselves!”
Introducing Dr Frankie Tan, Director of the Sport Science Medicine Centre, Singapore Sport Institute, and a Father of three! As a volunteer ambassador with DADs for Life since its inception at 2009, Dr Tan recognises that being a proactive father and defender of his family is a man’s greatest work.
“I am so convicted about my own fathering journey, and it’s a joy to be able to influence and impact other men toward their calling and purpose. It’s always so heartening and fulfilling to see fathers connect with their children meaningfully, through father-child bonding activities which take no small effort to organise. Fathering tips we share with one another have improved relationships tremendously, too.”
Every little step is significant and appreciated and that’s what has kept him going all these years. Together with his wife, he has been serving in the parent support group and father group within their children’s primary school. Meanwhile, he daily does his best to have meals at home and help as much as he can around the house.
“Involved fathers make blessed families, and blessed families make a blessed nation – Our Singapore!”
Once a repeat-drug offender and gang member who came from a single-parent family, Bruce spent the prime of his life in and out of prison. By the time of his fifth prison sentence, Bruce had become a husband and father.
Then one day, his daughter Beatrix came by to celebrate her fourth birthday with him. Her special wish was simple – just a hug from dad – but it was impossible with the glass partition separating them both. The sight of her bursting into tears broke his heart, and convinced him to abandon his destructive habits once and for all so that he could be reunited with his family for good.
Bruce and Beatrix eventually locked arms in an embrace when DADs for Life facilitated a father-child bonding session in prison. That faint memory remains sweet for Bruce. “What I remember most was the precious two hours I got to spend with my daughter. For two hours I got to hold her and carry her. 🙂”
With eyes fixed on his beloved family and newfound faith, Bruce walked out of his addiction, his past social circles, and never looked back. “Time and tide waits for no man. Once a father has missed that growing up period, it’s lost forever. The only thing we can do is to NOT repeat it again and henceforth to do our best to raise and nurture our child.”
Making the most of every moment, he now stands strong as an active volunteer, barista and brand ambassador for social enterprise Blessed Collective; but first and foremost, Bruce is a lionhearted DAD for Life!
“My wish is that no child would ever have to experience growing up in a single-parent family, and that Dads would UNDERSTAND how important a role they play in their child’s life.”