29 September 2012, by Kelvin Ang

Let them know

Daddies are perhaps one of the most misunderstood species on the face of this planet.

Because admit it – at some point in our lives, all of us did feel that our Daddies were the dumbest creatures that ever came into existence. Okay, maybe some spouses do fall into that category but let’s not digress. We felt that our Daddies didn’t know anything. They didn’t understand anything either. Their sole purpose in life was to just say ‘NO!’ to whatever we want to do. That, and also to go about slogging hard for the family and making sure we know darn well that it was their hard-earned money that we are spending.

But don’t get me wrong. I love my Daddy. I know he had worked very hard for the family, that he had always tried the best within his means to give my mother, sister and I what we had wanted and of course, loved us wholeheartedly. It’s just that he isn’t one who is very forthcoming with praises and he sure wasn’t the one I would run to when I am facing problems.

And since I have become a Daddy myself, I told myself that I would take after all his good points and improve on whatever I felt was lacking. Of course, I am by no means the perfect Daddy. Far from it, actually.

Because one aspect I had tried to improve on was the gifting of praises to my monkies. But I am human. And humans are quick to point out the wrongs that someone has committed. It’s so much easier to criticise when one falls short, isn’t it?

On the other hand, it’s much harder to praise for good behaviour. Simply because we have such high expectations of our own kids. Good behaviour is the baseline. That is expected of them. Why praise something that is expected?

So I think back to the time when I was a child. Yearning for praise from my own Daddy was something that stood out like a sore thumb for me. And I realized I didn’t want my own monkies to feel the same way too.

Of course, I do find myself getting aggravated at them for the most minor infractions sometimes – whether they are quibbling or just being tiny irritants, complete with that nerve-wrecking buzzing near my ears that just simply wouldn’t bug off. But luckily, I have a great wife and she is the one who has consistently reminded me to see the good among the bad – atrocity if I may be brutally honest – in them.

So now I try to spend a little more time praising and a lot less time criticizing. I’ve tried, but my final report card is still pending.

And on a personal level, I do hope all the Daddies out there would let their kids know that you are proud of them. Go on, do it now. Hug them, and tell them that you will always be there no matter what. And maybe, we Daddies would not be such misunderstood creatures after all.

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