OPEN LETTER To my son, a future father

Dad Calvin Soh dishes out invaluable life lessons to his son on being a good role model in the future.

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We all know of great dads, but Calvin Soh is definitely a one-of-a-kind type of dad. An accomplished adman, Soh once took an extended sabbatical from his profession, so he could focus fully on nurturing his son and daughter when they were younger.

In 2015, Soh and his son Dylan, then 12, co-wrote the book, The Big Red Dot. They’d published it in the hope of getting local kids to believe in themselves, so that Singapore (as a little red dot), can be a nation of big red dots. Book proceeds will go towards printing more copies for underprivileged children.

So impressive is this modern dad’s take on fathering that even Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently shared a picture of Soh and Dylan as part of his Father’s Day message on Facebook. Read the message here:

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I hope that after each epic failure you respond with an epic comeback. It's all about the getting up and not the falling down.

In response to PM Lee’s message, Soh penned an open letter to his son. Here, he shares his thoughts, hopes and dreams for his mini-me, who will himself become a father and role model one day …

“All fathers were sons before but not all sons become fathers. It’s also true all fathers start off by fathering like their fathers. But times are different. Exponentially so… Here's to my future father.

I hope you make your own mistakes and not my old ones. Never be afraid of making them, because that’s how you learn.

I hope that after each epic failure you respond with an epic comeback. It's all about the getting up and not the falling down. To think you can go through life without failure is unrealistic.

I hope you never stop asking “why” ― never stop questioning. That’s the foundation of critical thinking. You don’t solve new problems by asking the same questions.
 

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I hope you never stop imagining and dreaming. That’s where great ideas come from. Imagination Is the ONLY superpower we humans have over machines.

I hope you see both sides of everything as every opinion has a backstory. Then develop your own point of view. Without empathy and compassion, we might as well be robots.

I hope you never lose your inner child. That innocence that lets you believe in the possibility of everything and the impossibility of nothing. Because the world of ‘yes’, of optimism, is what moves us forwards.

I hope you understand the power of "try". Because if you don't try, the fear will grow. But when you try, the fear will go.

I hope when given a choice between love and hate, always choose love. It is the default setting for humanity and frankly, the world’s major religion, too. If you don’t choose love, what is the alternative?

I hope you will strive to leave the world a better place. Find people who share that purpose, because us adults have done such a great job of leaving the world a worse place.

I hope you understand the power of “try”. Because if you don’t try, the fear will grow. But when you try, the fear will go.

Most importantly, if you don’t try, none of the above matters.

I hope you remember this as you become a father of the future (if you choose to). Then make your own list up. Because that’s how we raise red dots bigger than we are.”

This letter has been edited for clarity.

Photos: Calvin Soh Facebook

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