Fatherhood - A Lifelong Journey (Part 2)
In Part 1, we found out who was the prankster among the fathers. In this concluding part, find out who offers to have a wrestling match with his children, who is the master-chef, and who is just enjoying his grandchildren!
Father with teenagers – Pastor Gerald Tan
1. How has your parenting style changed through the different stages of your children’s growth?
For me, consistency is the key to parenting. My kids need to see that I lead the family based on the same principles regardless of their age or phase of life. Of course, as teenagers, they need to know that they are able to talk and share openly, as well as to be challenged in their thinking on life and values.
2. How do you handle conflicts with your teenagers?
There are no conflicts because the children know that what I finally say is going to be what it is! I always offer them a wrestling match if they’d like to challenge that!
Jokes aside, as teenagers, they exhibit changes in moods, and when dealing with their typical challenges, I often give them time to pull away or have some space, and then find the right moment to have meaningful conversations.
3. What are some of the concerns you have for them now that they are teenagers?
My greatest prayer for them is to discover what God has called them to, to grow, and to walk into the destiny of God for their lives, and to serve their generation for the glory of God. And that the challenges of this world, and the struggles of growing up, will not shift them from this.
4. What’s the best advice “on being a father” your dad has ever given/modelled for you?
My dad demonstrated what it means to serve. Growing up, he would often get up early to cook meals for the day before going out to work. He also had this quirky, cheeky sense of humor that balanced his really strict side. These have helped shape some of what I do as a father now.
5. What other roles do you play – Pastor, Dad and ____?
Father with adult children – Lead Pastor Dominic Yeo
1. Do you feel your role as a father has diminished now that your children have reached adulthood?
Not diminished, just changed. Through our children’s rites of passage, our parenting style changes. I was more of a disciplinarian and authority figure when they were younger as it was important to establish foundational values and a solid baseline in life. When they were teens, my parenting style changed to one with a lighter touch. With my older daughter, Natalie, now married and turning 30 while my son, Matthaeus, is four years younger, I am still there for them as their dad, now playing a more advisory, consultative role.
2. What are some of the concerns you have for them as a father, now that they have reached adulthood?
In truth, I have no concerns! Now that they are adults, they should have caught our values. My only desire is to see them establish their own legacy. I wish to see them do well in their life-planning and fulfill their own goals and dreams.
3. With the multiple life stages in your children’s growth, how has it shaped you as a father?
It has caused me to be a little more reflective. Over time, I have asked myself, “How could I have parented better?” and “How has my parenting impacted them positively or negatively?” If it has impacted them negatively, then my follow-up question is, “Is there anything I can do now to make it a more positive experience for them?”
For instance, I realized I couldn’t always be there for Natalie in her younger years. While I can’t compensate for those times, I now try to be there for Natalie as much as possible, asking her questions and checking in on her to make sure she’s doing well. And for my son, I cook for him whenever I can!
4. What’s the best advice “on being a father” your dad has ever given/modeled for you?
My dad modeled for me to live my life based on the decisions I make. My advice to all parents is to raise your children to make wise decisions so they can experience the good fruits of those decisions later.
5. What other roles do you play – Lead Pastor, Dad and ____?
Master-chef! Go-to guy! Grocery shopper for the family! My family comes to me whenever they need my help… and when they’re hungry. I can cook Peranakan, Western, Asian…anything that tastes delicious! It’s a joy to serve them.
Grandfather – Pastor Danny Leong
1. You have journeyed through life as a father – how different has it been now that you are a grandfather?
As a father, I have full responsibility, together with my wife, for the total development and well-being of our children. As a grandfather, I am now playing a supporting role to their parents. My main focus as a grandfather is to enjoy my grandchildren!
2. What’s the best advice “on being a father” your dad has ever given/modelled for you?
My dad passed away when I was 14. My role model is my mum who worked hard to raise her children. My mum modeled for me true love and care through self-sacrifice for her children.
3. What advice would you give your children from the life experiences you have gained in your fatherhood journey?
Be a responsible husband and dad by always being there for them.
4. Does the job of being a father to your adult children get easier now that you are a grandfather?
Definitely. As adults, they have to make their own decisions. I’m there to give them the support they need.
5. What other roles do you play – Pastor, Dad/Grand-dad and ____?
I would re-order it as Husband, Grand-dad, Dad, Son, Brother, Pastor.
As we celebrate Father's Day this weekend, let us appreciate and affirm our fathers, for each of them are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14) .
Reflect & Respond
Where are you in your journey of fatherhood/parenthood? How can you involve God in your journey?
What are the areas that you need to change in your approach as a father/parent?