Dr John Ng, a father to three active teenage children, is the Honorary Chair of EMCC (Eagles Mediation & Counselling Centre). He received his PhD in interpersonal Communication from Northwestern University, USA. An expert in mediation and conflict management, John is also EMCC’s Mediation Consultant and provides mediation training. He is an appointed mediator with the Singapore Mediation Centre as well as Ministry of Law.
A Wake-Up Call for Daddy
Today, children have too much and take too many things for granted. They have so much, enjoy so little, and complain too much. The biggest jolt came when I saw how my then 10 year-old daughter treated the maid: demanding water whenever she wanted it, getting the maid to tie her shoe laces, pouting or shouting at the maid when she did not do things her way. I realised then that I was raising a monster at home!
A New Mission for the Family
In order to inculcate in our children more compassion for others, my wife and I sent them on a mission trip to spend time with the poor in Hyderabad. My oldest daughter went when she was 11. Every year since then, they will go on such mission trips on their own accord. Using their own allowance, they are now sponsoring children from poorer countries.
“Children of Hyderabad” image by Martinstelbrink@Flickr
Enabling Experiences That Teach
I did not realise how much that has changed them until my oldest daughter wrote: “Ever since I set foot in the slums of Hyderabad at age 11, my view of life and the world as I knew it changed drastically. I saw poverty first hand, and met children my age who had no access to clean water or a proper education. However, what shocked me the most was not the conditions that these children were living in, but the incredible joy they had. Their smiles and laughter forced me to think about my life and inspired me to dedicate my energy to working on issues of poverty, injustice and human rights. I knew my dreams were to work on the ground with people — people who remind me that life is to be rejoiced.”
Now a Proud Daddy
My daughter has since started the “Amber Initiative” to help the children of prostitutes in Asia. Her vision is to challenge and empower youths to be involved in organisations that serve these people.
It is this compassionate heart that will keep my children sensitive to the needs of other people, move them to action, change their perspective of life and make them more generous towards others. That is why I applaud any initiative by the government to sensitize our youths to the disenfranchised in our cities.
By involving them in social work, delivering gifts to the poor, spending time with the elderly, taking handicapped children for activities, or even raising funds for causes, these initiatives help to make them more compassionate. As a father, I want to encourage these efforts and even join my children in such activities.
Like Father, Like Child
We can set examples for our children and help them become more compassionate towards the less fortunate. This will truly bring out the beauty of our children. Finally, what I want to inculcate in my children is to be humble. It is important to heed the words of one of the greatest college basketball coaches in the U.S., John Wooden: “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”
This is an adapted excerpt from Dim Sum for the Family by EMCC (Eagles Mediation & Counselling Centre), a not-for-profit organisation that is committed towards building a society that fosters and maintains positive and supportive relationships through the promulgation of peacemaking.
Established in 1997, EMCC became a full member of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) in 2000 and is today an approved Institute of Public Character (IPC). It is the only charity in Singapore http://www.emcc.org.sg with the expertise to provide integrative services in mediation and counselling.
First published on 03-05-2012
Categories: Dads' Stories