It does not matter how big you are, how strong you are or if you are able to leap tall buildings in a single bound – if you are a father, you are a hero!
As I am a father to 2 boys, I will talk about the bond between fathers and sons is unique in the world. It is never too soon to start a few traditions to help cement that bond. Who knows, maybe your sons will carry on the traditions you start with their own sons one day?
I do different things with my 2 boys to bond with them. Gor Gor is in Primary School now. We have our exclusive father and son badminton game fortnightly on Friday evening. We will book Sports Council or Community Centres badminton courts at these websites: https://www.myactivesg.com/ or http://one.pa.gov.sg. During weekends, I would bring him cycling at East Coast Park. Sometimes Gor Gor grumbles it’s physically tiring to play games or cycling but he knows it is important to start building his fitness to prepare for his “Ah Boys to Men” ritual (Singapore’s National Service) in future. On weekends we may go for a hike at MacRitchie or Pierce Reservoirs where he can explore nature like watching monitor lizards and monkeys.
With Di Di, before I send him to his nursery class every morning, we will have the “Let’s explore different hawker centres for breakfast” session. Our favorite breakfast dishes include roti prata, nasi lemak, curry noodle and you tiao (Chinese doughnut). I try to expose him to different ethnic dishes in Singapore to make him understand we live in a multi-ethnic society. Sometimes we would stop at a nearby playground near the hawker centres for him to play for a while after breakfast. It is our exclusive father and son bonding time.
Traditions can be small things that mean nothing to anyone beyond you and your children. Fathers, here’s an easy ritual to start, even with kids as young as three, is to create a secret handshake. (Don’t deny it Dad, you may always want to have your own secret handshake! or a ritual that is shared just exclusively between you and your children).
The handshake can involve a clap or a special high-five or anything you like. The key is that only you and your sons know how to do it. It may evolve over the years, but you’ll always have your secret handshake. Use the handshake to seal deals between you and your boys, as a way to say good night when they hit the age where they are not as eager to give hugs and kisses and as a way to celebrate big achievements.
Another simple traditions that you can build with your boys. Take your boys camping! Start out in the garden or in the living room when your boys are very young and gradually progress to more adventurous locations. Pick a long weekend to go camping each year. All of you should be involved in picking the location, planning the food and activities and packing before the trip. Spend your trip getting dirty, eating messy foods and trying new things. As your boys get older, let them assume more and more responsibility for planning the trip and activities. These bonding and memories will last them for a lifetime!
As our bond grows stronger, the boys will always share with me their daily happenings in school and their personal thoughts like recently, Gor Gor would tell me who he has booked in class for misbehaving (he is the class captain). He would share with me the reasons why he has to book the boy even though the boy is his friend. He will also share with me the joy and challenges of being a class captain, his own personal feelings about things that happened to him. Similarly Di Di would tell me what games he played in school that day and who sat with him in the bus for the class excursions. As a father, I cherish these sharing sessions and hold them close to my heart.
The above photo is what the boys imagined us and themselves to be, it is just for laughs!
Recently when we took our boys to the Singapore Cable Car ride with the Super Heroes (there were Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman and Green Lantern) theme ride, when we asked the boys “Who are your favorite Super Heroes?”, both of them answer unanimously : “Daddy and Mummy!” Both boys think Daddy is their Superman and Mummy is their Wonder woman. (Hee hee … Mummy is smiling)
You do not need to do special and or expensive stuff like going for a tour overseas for bonding, all you need is to find time to walk with your children, talk to them and listen to them every day and you will be their Super Hero. These are the things that I do for my boys and hopefully to create long-lasting traditions and to make lasting memories. Don’t miss your chance to shine as a super-hero, Dad!
Today is Father’s Day, here’s wishing all Fathers,
Happy Father’s Day!