Father's Day Special with Ian, the Family Guy
Happy Father's Day to all the amazing Dads in our life! This weekend, we celebrate Father's Day with a Father's Day feature with Ian, as he gives us a peak into a day in his life with his two adorable boys - Elijah and Isaiah. As a financial consultant, Ian is passionate about inculcating the value of money with his kids from young. Watch the video and our interview with him and his wife Julia, to pick up some useful financial literacy tips for kids!
Ian and Julia's story is also one of the many stories from our book, In Time, We Blossom. If you'd like to read more stories like this, you can download our free e-book here.
Seeing my friends with their kids reminds me of my responsibility and role as a dad.- Ian, on why it’s important to journey with a community of fellow parents
As one of my older cousins, Ian was always coming up with fun activities for the rest of us. Once, he created a disco in his room. Imagine eight happy kids, bouncing in the dark to Spice Girls, waving torchlights covered with coloured cellophane paper!
Ian and his wife, Julia, now plan fun adventures for their two boys, Elijah (4 years old) and Isaiah (1 year old). Over a chat, they shared with us some of their creative ideas to teach their boys about independence, resilience and the value of money. They also talked to us about the importance of a community of fellow parents for companionship on this road.
How did your parents raise you and how does it differ with your style of parenting?
Julia: When I was young, my perception of parenthood was much simpler. My mother was home with us and my grandmother helped take care of us. This was a straightforward arrangement, minus the pressures of full time work and jobs.
Ian: My parents had limited resources when I was young, so being a good parent meant working hard to feed the family. Now, we have more options and opportunities, especially when it comes to starting businesses. It is amazing to see how parents take bold risks to pursue their dreams and find a balance between work and family.
What aspects of your upbringing would you retain in your parenting?
Ian: I hope to teach my kids the same three values my parents taught me – discipline, respect and the value of money. We came from a very humble origins, so I learnt to value money at a young age. That is something I want to pass on to my kids.
How do you teach Elijah about the value of money at 4 years old?
Julia: Ian came back from a trip to Vietnam with three piggy banks for Elijah. One piggy bank is to save for primary school, another for secondary school, and the last one is money for spending. We had him put his coins into these categories, so he can understand what it means to spend versus save money. He now puts any coins he finds in the house into a piggy bank. We try not to leave money lying around!
Ian: We also get him very involved in cash transactions, like giving him $2 to buy a treat, and having him collect change from the auntie. By the time our kids grow up, most transactions will be cashless, and they might not understand what money is and how to manage it.
Discipline, respect and the value of money.- Ian, on the three values he wishes to inculcate in his children
What are some ways you have tried to teach him to be more independent?
Julia: We signed him up for Forest School, where he could have a wild adventure in nature. He had to climb and walk along a forest trail, get muddy and take care of his belongings. When we arrived, we saw other kids climbing trees in the rain. At first, I was worried about their safety. I then realised that as long as they are shown how to keep themselves safe, even if they fall, they will be alright. Sometimes, as parents we need to let go.
Ian: On the second day of Forest School, Elijah didn’t feel like going back. He was crying when we dropped him off, until an older boy in the group comforted and guided him through the day. He shared his food and told Elijah that everything will be ok. He was so sweet to Elijah and treated him like a little brother. Coincidentally, the older boy’s name was Ian too!
How do you maintain your social life, after having kids?
Ian: One of my goals for the year was to form a community of parents to support each other. Not just online, but to physically come together for family activities and gatherings. Often, I get groups of my friends and their kids together, for outings like kite-flying or zoo visits. I truly feel we lack this in Singapore.
Parents either make plans with their immediate family, or spend most of the time at home. And we know kids cannot stay at home for too long! Seeing my friends with their kids also reminds me of my responsibility and role as a dad. When we are busy with work, we might get used to letting our helper or their grandparents take over. But being around my friends helps remind me realise that is something I want to focus on.
What is one thing you are most grateful for about each other?
Julia: I am more of a thinker, so I am grateful that Ian takes the lead on important family decisions. If he thinks that something is wrong and we should not do it, he will stand firm and drive the family in that direction.
Ian: One thing I appreciate about Julia is her presence in everything we do as a family. I cannot imagine raising the two boys without her! Hats off to single parents who raise kids on their own, because it is not easy even with both of us. I feel blessed that we have each other. Not just to share the workload, but as a partner to count on as we travel this road.
What advice would you give to your younger selves?
1. Don’t worry
Let go of the idea of trying to be a perfect parent. I wish I had spent less time worrying, and more time being present and enjoying time with my kids.
Money gives us more opportunities and flexibility for our family.
3. Community Support
It takes more than just the both of us to raise our children. As kids grow, they have different needs. Friends who have been through it and have older kids can help guide us. The gap with our parents is too wide so having friends of a similar age helps a lot.
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