1 February 2012, by Darren Lim
“A man chasing after his stolen car jumps onto it and struggles to take control of the wheel. After a few exchange of punches, the car thief loses control of the car and hits a tree nearby, flinging the man onto the road while the car thief escapes, injured. There are people at the scene offering help and a lady even tries to stop the man saying that he should just rest until medical assistance arrives. The man ignores the lady and continues to crawl towards the car despite his injuries, as if he is reaching for something very important. And as he opens the back door, the loud cry of a baby is heard.”
That was really an impactful opening scene from the movie “Courageous”, one of the best movies I’ve seen in recent years. It has not only inspired me but also caused me to re-look my role as a father. I asked myself after the movie, if circumstances arose that threatened the well-being of my family, will I protect my family? My answer, “I will“. Who will provide for them? “I will“. Who will be the one to love them? “I will”. Who will teach my children good moral values? “I will“. Who will promise to be faithful to his wife? “I will“.
Suddenly, I felt upon my shoulders, this very great responsibility! Does it have to be that heavy? Is it that difficult to become a good father or husband? What does it entail to be a good father and good husband? Have I made it to the benchmark?
What I know for sure is, I must have a willing heart to want to do it and have lots of “Courage”. Just to side track a little, I once saw this documentary on human life and there was this classic question about who you will save if both your wife and child were drowning. The likely answer is the child because your child inherits 50 percent of your genes and your wife none. (Ladies, now don’t get me wrong here, we’re talking about instincts, which means there is no thought process involved). But instinctively, a man WILL willingly lay down his life for his children!
How about the other normal days that don’t require such “martyrdom” — sacrifice of oneself? Traditionally, Asian fathers are expected to provide materially for their family and in this super-fast paced world we live in, have we tipped the scales of the balance in favour of living out this role over the rest of our responsibilities? For example, being there for them as a mentor/friend to listen to them talk about their struggles with school, life and peers. And by being a positive role model through paying attention to the real important things in life. Like spending time with our extended families and building relationships with others, being an ever-ready help to friends in need etc?
And how about the important role of leaving behind a legacy of values for your children? In this time and age we live in, our value systems are being challenged constantly. Look at the influences from the media for example. In a typical movie scenario… romance (and maybe more!!!) starts almost instantly after the first date. In this show, for example, the father of a teenage girl (16 years old) was criticized by her (guy) friend for not letting her make her own decision about whom to “hang out” with. And in our open-minded society, this may indeed seem quite old-fashioned and somewhat restrictive! But it turns out that it was just divine wisdom of parents at work here — as the story unfolds to reveal that the (guy) friend was involved with a gang, dealing with drugs. Imagine the heartache (and even danger) the girl would have to go through if she had gone ahead with her friendship with that guy!
I believe we have a much greater role to play in our children’s life here. And even though I am just beginning to fathom the immensity of the responsibility of the role I have been given, I am stirred to be the better man that I know I will rise to become! Along with Evelyn, the security and love from home will be the greatest defense system my children will ever have in facing the outside world.