When the gynae first handed me my daughter, I remember being overwhelmed with dreams and hopes for her and my family. If becoming a dad meant having to go through an audition like the one for Singapore Idol – showing the three panel judges what you’ve got; I am not sure I’d ever meet the mark. Nonetheless, in spite of all my flaws, God entrusted this miracle to my care and assured me that there will be on-the-job training.
Like all dads, I am pretty sure the dads in the room experienced the same wonder when they first held their daughters in their arms. I cannot help but wonder what happened between then and now. What happened to those dreams and hopes for their family?
It is easy to think I am doing much better, standing on this side of the fence.
To be really honest, I realize I could easily fall into the traps of this world myself. While these traps may not be as severe to land me in a prison, they could prevent us from being with our family. Take for example a father who strives hard to provide for his family. If he’s not careful, he may fall into the trap of dedicating all his time to his career and providing financially for the family such that he neglects time with them. He may forget the other provisions that are equally important such as providing a safe, nurturing environment for the children, giving his wife support and encouragement, and building a loving home.
How often do we think we need to be in the office just for that hour more for that presentation to go well the next day? Or do the thoughts below sound familiar?
“My wife can take care of my daughter (or son) better than I can, that’s what mothers are for. I should focus on what I do best – my work in the office.”
“Let’s postpone that family trip to the zoo to next month, it can wait – my work is more urgent.”
How about thinking we can do all things on our own strength, only to realize that we are drinking too much coffee or beer?
We do not end up in bondage overnight. It happens with the small choices we make everyday – consciously or otherwise. Choices that reinforce the strength of our family or choices that isolate us from our family.
The Date with Dad Prison Event reminded me to cherish the time I have with my daughter and not to let opportunities to create special memories to slip away.
Chee Mun is a graphic designer with Focus on the Family Singapore, and helped out at Date with Dad held in the Prison. He is happily married with a daughter, with one more child along the way.