YK was more than a little disappointed with his father. As if not bad enough that his dad forgot his birthday, he conveniently forgot to send the promised monthly allowance despite many reminders. I'm not surprised of course.
The father has been missing in action for several years until he decided to surface in their lives again early this year. This time, he contacted his sons directly because he felt I was such a pain to deal with. I have no objections since he's their dad afterall but in my heart, I have my reservations.
Now that the kids are in their teens, they're in a better position to communicate with their dad. Naturally when he found out that YK has a marine aquarium, he started dispensing all kinds of well-meaning advice. He's an expert in this area afterall. Like YK, he kept marine fishes since his early teens.
When YK began this hobby 1.5 years ago, I didn't want him to consult his dad. I had my reasons. I knew nothing about marine fishes but I was willing to support him in every way I can. Due to our inexperience, we made some wrong decisions in the set-up, like we should have used thicker glass for the tank.
Fearing that our safety is compromised, we're now looking into replacing the tank. It's a huge exercise of course, and an expensive lesson. Luckily, his dad had offered to fund his new tank.
As it turns out, the father failed to live up to his promises again. Seeing my son so disheartened, I offered to make up for the shortfall after he sells the corals, fishes and equipment from decommissioning his old tank.
One thing I have learned over the years is never lie to children (no matter how young) because they cling on to every word you say. If you promise to bring them to the playground after lunch, you do it no matter how tired you are because they believe in you.
And you can forget your wife's birthday, but NEVER EVER forget your child's birthday because they came into this world because of you. Is it so difficult to remember your children's birthday? If you want the kids to love and respect you, you will have to lead by example.
I often feel sad that my kids grow up without the influence of a father yet I console myself that it is better than living with an irresponsible one.
Recently I expressed gratitude to best friend's husband because he spent an afternoon discussing shrimp rearing with SK. I was bowled over by my son's in-depth knowledge.
Unlike his older brother who has met many fellow hobbists in the reefing club, SK is all alone in his hobby. I cannot add any value other than listen to him describe enthusiastically about his 'babies', naturally I was happy he found someone to share his interest with.
For all the parents out there, give your kids more attention and support. You are all they have for now.