The Perks of Being A Father

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It isn’t easy being a father. Nothing you can do adequately prepares you for the role, and after 7 years of fatherhood, I still feel so new and so raw sometimes. Things can often be rough when the kids get up to mischief and awkward when they ask you a question you do not know how to answer in simple terms. Sometimes you run out of ideas. It is one big leadership training ground.

But through it all, I can say it has been a heck of a ride! No regrets, only wonderful memories and worthwhile lessons which shape the person you are. The perks of a father are not these little gifts from your kids on Fathers’ Day, but the way these little eyes look at you with that sense of respect and love, the eyes that say in spite of all your imperfections, “You are the best Daddy in the world!”

Alethea and Ephraim, at home with their Proud Father

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This Lion is proud of this Lion’s pride… my two cuties are cuter and more adorable than any other little lion cub in the world… okay I admit, I’m biased, but then again, every other proud father and mother will think in the same way!

It is easy to physically become a parent, but so much harder to learn to be a good one. Many times you feel frustrated, and even foolish, not knowing what to do and how to proceed. Over time, with much effort, we get better at it. We learn how to exercise patience, and seek to think again from the perspective of a child.

It is so wonderfully absorbing just to observe a child at work. I don’t know what it is but is just brings a smile to your face and joy to your heart. It makes you believe in everything wonderful about this world again.

These children are mine, but they do not belong to me, they have been wonderfully made by God the Creator of all things. As a parent, I am just showering my love on them, to care for them, to teach them and to prepare them to be ready to accomplish their purpose in this life, whatever that may be. They have a spiritual destiny, and God has a plan and a purpose for each of them. I must not seek to control their future and destiny. I need to let them find it for themselves.

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The Passbook

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The Passbook:

She married him today.
At the end of the wedding party, her mother gave her a newly opened bank savings passbook, with $1000 deposited in it.
She told her, “My dear daughter, take this passbook. Keep it as a record of your married life. Whenever something happy and memorable happens in your new life, put some money in. Write down what it’s about next to the amount. The more memorable the event is, the more money you can put in. I’ve done the first one for you today. Do the others with your husband. When you look back after years, you will know how much happiness you’ve both shared.’She shared this with him after getting home. Both of them thought it was a great idea and couldn’t wait to make the next deposit! This is what the passbook looked like after a while:

– 7 Feb: $100, his first birthday celebration after marriage
– 1 Mar: $300, she gets a salary raise
– 20 Mar: $200, vacation to Bali
– 15 Apr: $2000, She’s pregnant!
– 1 Jun: $1000, He gets the big promotion
and so on…

However, as the years went by, they began fighting and arguing over trivial things. They didn’t talk much. They regretted that they had married the most nasty person in the world…There was no more love.
One day she talked to her Mother. ‘Mom, we can’t stand it anymore. We have decided to divorce. I can’t imagine how I decided to marry this guy!’

Her mother replied, ‘Sure, that’s no big deal. Just do whatever you want, if you really can’t stand it. But before that, do one thing. Remember the savings passbook I gave you on your wedding day? Take out all money and spend it first. You shouldn’t keep any record of such a poor marriage.’

She agreed with her. So she went to the bank, and was waiting in the queue to cancel the account. While she was waiting, she took a look at the passbook record. She looked, and looked, and looked. Then the memory of all the previous joyful moments came back to her. Her eyes were filled with tears. She left and went home. When she got home, she handed the passbook to him and asked him to spend the money before getting divorced.

So the next day, he went to the bank, and was waiting in the queue to cancel the account. While he was waiting, he took a look at the passbook record. He looked, and looked, and looked. Then the memory of all the previous joyful moments came back to him. His eyes were filled with tears. He left and went home.

He gave the passbook back to her. She found a new deposit of $5000. And a line next to the record: ‘This is the day I realized how much I’ve loved you throughout all these years. How much happiness you’ve brought me.’

They hugged and cried, putting the passbook back into the safe.

Reflections on Love / Wedding Dinner at St. Regis,

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Welcome to St. Regis, decked out in a Shangai theme, complete with the feathered frills, vintage songbird, and zany emcee. Its been awhile since we have attended a wedding dinner with such glitz and glamour. Every table had a towering tablepiece, which added to the grandeur, but posed a lot of problems with line-of-sight. I don’t remember seeing the emcee’s face at all the entire evening, for all his attempts to leave a lasting impression. Felt a little sorry for him, having to crack jokes in mandarin which no one in the ballroom seemed to understand or to care about.

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The food was generally good with excellent presentation, but perhaps trying a little too hard to impress. You’d have to say that it was certainly unique, not the standard Chinese wedding dinner fare. Portions were individually served in French style minimalist portions with great flair and an eye for detail. Service standards of the waiting staff was rather disappointing, I must say, with our drinks being forgotten at least four times.

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Amidst all this talk about the venue, the decor and the food, lets not forget what the wedding is really about, the celebration of love between two people joined together for a lifetime of commitment and companionship. The emcee quipped, “Marriage is not a word, it is a sentence… a LIFE SENTENCE.” Well perhaps we shouldn’t put it so negatively, but there is a lot of truth in that statement. The BIG DAY is only the beginning, the BIG CHALLENGE is to navigate the twist and turns and bumps and bruises of a lifetime of togetherness. Will the union stand the test of time? We always start out with the best of intentions, but a lot of the time we place expectations on our partners and on the relationship, and in so doing we forget what love is really all about.

Love suffers long and is kind: Are we prepared to exercise patience and grace to our partners? Do we accept that nobody is perfect, that in a marriage, you will often experience both the good side and the bad side of your partner? Are we kind to each other? Do we seek to understand before being understood?

Love does not envy; love does not parade itself:Don’t look at others and compare, don’t exalt yourself above the other. You might end up winning the argument, but losing the relationship.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things: Are we a pillar of support to our partners? Or are we a lighted fuse? Are we one that inspires and brings out the best in the other? Or do we make a habit of tearing each other down? Are we willing to go through the sun, the rain, the valley, the storm, through good and bad times with each other? Action speaks a lot louder than words. Many promises have been made, and many promises not kept. How much is your word worth?

Love never fails:True selfless agape love never fails to bring about the best in any relationship. True love is an emptying of yourself, your desires, your needs, and only focussing on the object of your love. You will give your all, and even your life, for the sake of the other person. A sacrificial love. A pure love, without any evil agenda. Love isn’t a feeling, it is a decision, a choice. Long after the fuzzy emotional feelings die down, true love will remain, almost spiritual in nature, it will stand the test of time. Are we committed to dying to ourselves and dying for others?

Marriage is a lifetime commitment!.