The Leader of the Family – A Father’s Perspective 4

Hi Erriwan.

A couple of weeks back, I was requested by the government to serve my ICT. My last one was apparently 9 years ago. Way before I got married to my most wonderful mother of my child…

Now, being a new father, it was rather difficult for me to be absent and away from my family for all of the 1 short-to-you, but-not-to-me week.

Thankfully, my mother in-law was able to come over for the duration of my in camp training (ICT) stint to assist the wife with the tasks that I usually do when I’m at home. I don’t think I do a lot, but I think I still do small stuff around the house and looking after the bub when I can.


I personally am for NS and serving the country. It had a positive impact in those 2 years of my life and changed me for the better. But that’ll be a story for another time.

I may not be into politics or up to date on the happenings but I would still fight for my family and in turn my home and country. Not necessarily because of what the country has done or not done for me but more on the fact that Singapore is my home and the place where my family resides.

Anyway I packed my stuff the night before and got a ride from a neighbour to camp the next morning. During the first day there was the standard ICT briefing regarding safety and the objectives of this current ICT.

The briefing went on to talk about our country’s protection not only physically (like deterring raging enemies in tanks and ships and planes) but also commercially (like our economic stand and cementing our station in the world as a country which provides world-class facilities like our port and airport).

Although not a straightforward type of protection, it is important of course to protect the interests of Singapore.


The talk/briefing although long and boring brought a few things to mind.

I can’t remember exactly what the topic was, due to my dismal gold-fish-like memory (my wife can vouch for me on my mental prowess). But they talked about being a commander and what being a commander entails.

Basically the army is composed of 3 types of people, as follows:

  • the warfighter – the guy that is ordered to bang bang bang
  • the trainer – the guy that teaches you to bang bang bang
  • the leader – the guy that brings a bunch of warfighters to bang bang bang with them

The talk also included points of preparedness, proficiency, functionality and of course serving the country with pride, honour etc.

(Please don’t switch off on me just yet..)

What I realised was that the army definition of a leader meant that to be dependable, a person who takes initiative, charismatic, has influence and presence amongst his men. And most men in the army, would want (or secretly want) to be that man. (Maybe not all, but most.)

followme intobattle

The army can and will train you to the best of their ability with all their training and manuals and guides, and practicals and drills and exercises, to get you fighting fit and battle ready and perhaps groomed into that archetype which is the Leader.

Especially when we talk about the longevity of the armed forces, it’s important that we get the training right every time recruits come in, or we are sent for reservist or retraining so that we have a new bunch of people who fit into these 3 categories and hopefully create enough strong leaders to lead the new generation.

In that way, this method of education – sending people in for talks and briefings and just telling people what is expected, works particularly well in the rinse and repeat system that applies to every batch of soldiers.


But I found that these points to being a commander/leader not only in the armed forces (and perhaps at the workplace too) is not as easily applied at home. In this case, being a leader mainly means being a parent.

It’s just not the same thing. And things just happen a little bit more on the fly when it comes to taking care of your own child.

An example would be asking your man to get an IPPT (physical fitness test) gold whereas you do not or have never earned the gold standard qualification YOURSELF. To ask someone to perform better than you when you have not done so is err… not very nice.

Or if you have long-ish hair and a hairy face and you ask someone to shave and cut their hair prim and proper while you remain scruffy and unkempt….

You can’t expect your child to eat their greens or call potato chips vegetables when either one of the parents don’t. You just can’t.

This also brings to mind that our kids, in time, would be fed/eat whatever we prepare for their meal at the time. So if we don’t eat the veggies, we won’t prepare them. And that means that our kids won’t eat them either.

distraction eating

That means we really need to practice what we preach. That’s not going to be easy.

But most important of all, what struck me was that when we become parents, there’s no real person to train you and you can only do so much on your own effort.

Reading all the forums, websites, blogs, tips from your very own parents etc, definitely does not equate nor guarantee you to be an A-grade parent.

You may have done your research on how to soothe/feed/play/teach your kid this way and that, but does your kid actually behave the way you have read/studied? You only hope that by the time you finish reading, you can actually retain and hopefully even apply said information.

We, as parents, basically HAVE TO lead by example, whether we want to or not. And we had better be damn good role models for the good of our children if we want them to turn out alright.


So here’s hoping that I’m able to absorb what little bit of information that I’ve read and be able to apply them, adapt to them and most importantly, be dependable, to take initiative, and influence my own child to be a man that I can be proud to say that I raised; for me to be the leader that I need to be.

Got my work cut out for me,



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