Greetings from your Dad, aka Heartland Boy.
Congratulations on your safe arrival. We have all been eagerly anticipating for this day to arrive and that includes your big sister, Olympia. I cannot emphasize how eager she is to show you the ropes in life and the number of hand-me-downs she has already accumulated for you. Like the seat booster that she has no need for and instead of donating it, she thought of you.
Despite having garnered some parenting experience under my belt, I am certain that I will inevitably fumble and struggle along the way. To help me become better at parenting, I have made 10 promises that will serve as a moral compass throughout this journey. Whenever I detract from these promises, you have every right to pull out this article (if this blog is still alive then) and remind me of the promises that I made this day.
1) My greatest fear is not showing the same level of enthusiasm as I did with your sister
Even your mother reminded me that I was less keen to feel your strong kicks during her pregnancy. Even after you have been delivered, your mum remarked that I did not take a lot of photos of you!
Well, this is akin to the Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns because the experience is no longer novel. But hey, that is no fault of your own and you have every right to remind me that I am not being fair. Therefore, unless something that we have tried with your sister did not yield a good outcome, I will endeavour to let you have your fair share of such experiences accompanied by the same level of enthusiasm from dad.
2) You will not be compared to anybody, especially your sister
To prepare for your arrival, I read this book “How To Talk: Siblings Without Rivalry”. Comparing you to anybody, including your sister, would be one of the gravest mistakes. I should instead describe what I see and what I feel needs to be done. That is more constructive and respectful to you as an individual.
3) Respectful parenting as the cornerstone of our parenting philosophy
Before we have you, we have friends who would ask us what is our parenting style/philosophy. The default answer would always be respectful parenting. The truth is it has been very challenging to stick to this parenting philosophy. Your mum always laments when I momentarily lapse into issuing thinly veiled threats. With you, I get to start with a clean slate and I hope that 2nd time is the charm.
4) I will be a good role model
I know that I will have a huge influence in your life as a father. I was reminded of this huge responsibility when I was pushing your sister in her pram and beat a red light out of desperation after it had started pouring. I was very embarrassed when she called me out for my errant behaviour at home.
To be a good role model, I hope to show you good virtues such as resilience, determination and grit. These are traits that I have in abundance so it should not be difficult to demonstrate them on a daily basis.
5) I will satiate your curiosity for the world
Your dad wears multiple hats and have lots of responsibilities to fulfil. However tired or lousy a day I have after work, I promise to answer all the questions that you may have. I will constantly remind myself that your curiosity is a blessing and I will never find them silly in any way.
As you grow older, your curiosity will soon expand out of this little island. Travelling to see the world and experience different cultures, languages and different races is one of the best ways to satiate your curiosity. You will grow up to realise that this is a privilege but one that I hope I can adorn you with.
6) Don’t be afraid to make mistakes in life
One thing I can guarantee you is that you will make lots of mistakes in your life, just like Dad did and still do in his life. Whenever Dad makes a mistake in his life, he eventually grows to become wiser from the experience.
In the most forgiving and nurturing environment possible, mum and I will teach you what is right and what is wrong. I will cuddle you when you feel scared, hold your hand so that you don’t trip again.
Ultimately, the message I want to deliver is that making mistakes are absolutely OK.
7) As much as possible, I promise to be there throughout your major life milestones
This stems from your dad’s own childhood. Growing up, I spent plenty of my time on volleyball as my chosen CCA. My only regret is that your grandparents never once came to watch a game of mine. Granted, I was mature enough to recognise that they had to tend to their hawker stall for long hours daily. Yet, a part of me wished that they were there to witness a craft that I have devoted a significant part of my teenage years towards.
I was there for your sister’s first taste of solid food, first day in school, first school performance, first swim. Ha ha, speaking about this I got reminded (by a reader some more!) that I was not there when your sister attended her first concert because I wanted to save on my entrance ticket. Therefore, now that I have become a parent, I also recognise that some money is not worth saving.
8) You will be given every opportunity to fulfil your potential
As a parent, I consider it to be my key responsibility that you maximise every ounce of your potential. Growing up, I had to pass on many opportunities due to the lack of money at home. While this has moulded me to what Daddy is today, a wistful part of me often wondered what might have been. For instance, I could have gone abroad to study at a prestigious university but I often let the finances at home restrict my mindset.
For your case, I hope to avail you to every opportunity out there especially if you are deserving of them. In this way, you will not have a childhood stemmed with “what-ifs”.
9) You have a beautiful and meaningful name
Upon learning that your mum was pregnant with you, the 2nd most common question we received is what name have we chosen for you? Of course, the most common question pertained to the gender of the baby. This is where Mum and I are faced with a tall order because this is a life-altering decision that we don’t take lightly. Just ask Malcolm Gladwell.
Do you know that your name is of Greek origin and is representative of light or sun ray? The reason why we named you Lenora is because we hope that you will be a beacon of compassion brightening the lives of those around you.
Your Chinese name, Liew Ying (刘颖), also received the seal of approval from the geomancer.
10) Our love for you is unconditional
Finally, you will be loved and I will cherish your existence in this world. Just see how many photos I have of you on this article alone! (rebuttal to Mummy’s Pt 1)
Of course, this love will be unconditionally gifted to you as our family wish you a life of love and joy. Finally, if 10 promises are too many to remember, just memorize the last one.
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