What my dad taught me about how to be a real dad

Most people’s perception of their parents usually changes as they grow older. To a lot of people, they usually become soft and vulnerable when around grandkids. I’m sure you all can agree with me that when we come across other grandparents hanging out with their grandkids on a Saturday morning down the bay; it usually involves treats like double scoops of ice cream on a waffle cone or an over-sized cream doughnut. Come on! Ice cream in the morning? I’m sure it is something they wouldn’t allow when they were parents to their kids! Although my son is not old enough at the moment to spend the entire weekend at his grandparents’ house, I can see seriously see that happening. It’s something I anticipate to happen with my parents – especially my mum! However, in the past 3 months, I’m starting to see the soft side from my dad when he cuddles and plays with Jake – which is practically unheard of. I honestly understand why grandparents would spoil their grandkids rotten because they know kids are in desperate need of a “yes” parent every once in a while, – and that’s their job. But most importantly, grandparents have an abundance of love to give and want to give it all away while they’re still able to watch it being enjoyed.

Ever since the birth of our son 3 months ago, my relationship with my parents, especially my dad, has escalated to a whole new level that has made me realise how magnificent he always was as a dad. For the record, my mon is pretty damn amazing too – but since it was Father’s Day last Sunday, I want to dedicate this week’s dose of wisdom blog to my one and only dad. I’m not sure about you guys, but to me, my parents mean the world.  They have given me everything they have and nurtured me to the person I am today. My beliefs, philosophy in life and work ethics have been infused in me by them over the past 36 years of my life. I am forever grateful for everything they have taught me and the countless family experiences and trips overseas that have opened up my eyes beyond the horizon.

My dad is 70 this year (sounds old but he definitely still looks like he’s in his late 50s) and is still hustling at his business in Hong Kong. He is absolutely one of my heroes, if not my primary hero along with my mom. My dad had a modest beginning with practically no money and worked his way up. He started off working as a door to door salesperson for Electrolux while working part-time as a tutor for high school students. He is what I call a typical “hustler” where he seizes any opportunity whenever he sees one. He eventually moved to the corporate world and become a partner in one of the biggest real estate firms in Hong Kong when he was only in his 30s. In the early ’90s, my dad gave up his business and moved to NZ with us in search of a better lifestyle and future for both my sister and me. I always wondered why dad would sacrifice his highly successful business simply for us to have a better future. Isn’t that too much of a sacrifice? I don’t really understand why until recently when I became a dad myself. If your family needs something, you make it happen. When you become a dad, you are not afraid to do what you have to do to give your kids a better life. Your family comes first, and everything else seconds – even when it comes to your career.

There was a time in our life where dad had to commute frequently between NZ and Hong Kong to make ends meet. It was a very tough time for us both financially and emotionally. It’s during those times where I see the true character of my dad. I can see why nothing can challenge or defeat my dad because first of all, he is adaptable and he never feels frustrated or complains about misfortune. He just simply gets on with what he needs to do to improve the situation. His level of self-confidence, accountability and rational thinking during irrational times are the qualities that contributed to his success today. These are the qualities that I’ve learnt from dad and is the kind of wisdom that I intended to pass on to my son Jake.

I remember 5 years ago when I decided to quit my PhD studies and own my own pharmacy business, my dad gave me unbelievable support and advice to let me do my thing. In hindsight, my dad provided me with unconditional support just because he loved me. I plan on loving my children more than any other variables – and that’s just what I’m doing.

Of all his experiences and knowledge in business, he taught me the most important lesson about building a business from ground zero is that your word is your bond. If you make a promise to somebody you stick to it. I really do think that if dad did not instil this in me, the important lesson of keeping your word, I don’t think I would ever be as honourable of a person. So, thanks dad😊

My dad is truly an amazing person who taught me so much about life and fatherhood through his actions. He shows me how I can still be my best at my worst, how I can be my strongest in times of weakness, and how I can still be the most resourceful when there are hardly any resources.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for who you are and what you have done for me – dad. I’m sure you had a blast celebrating Father’s Day with Jacob this year.