Dear Ian,

I’m glad that you are excited about your first day in Secondary School. It has been a good PSLE experience for you; firstly, you got the grades you wanted, which proves that you stayed grounded and realistic. You did aim well, and hit your mark. This is more important than that lame motivational saying “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” You aimed well, and didn’t miss, it’s not the moon, its not the stars, its much better, it’s where you want to be, and it will lead you to where you want go, screw the moon and stars and all that crap.

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Now you’re in the school of your choice, Compassvale Secondary, you got there because you wanted to go there. They teach Aeronautics there, and it is something you wanted to learn. We as your parents were basically guiding you along, you made the decisions and your choices.

That’s how we wanted it.

I talked to your mum about choices, and right now at my age, I’m still kind of reeling from the choices I made when I was a 14-year old. You see, I left school at 14 so that I can have the aspirations of travelling the world as a tour guide. Look at where I am now.

When I was 14, no one told me about the consequences of my choices, no one walked with me down my future. My parents didn’t smacked me in the head and asked, “So what happened when you’re done travelling the world, say 3 years down the road?” Without a proper education, where can I go? Oh, yeah, I wanted to take up Japanese language classes, so that it will help me be a better tour guide. Nope, didn’t get to be that proficient in Japanese.

No one guided me as to what I can become, had I continue with my education. Yes, eventually I got my degree and all those keeping up with the Jones thing, it was a bad call to leave school at Secondary 2 without any plan whatsoever. Well, to be frank, I had plans, and look where my plans lead me? Without vision, and proper task and action, plans are like building sandcastles with bare hands, no tools, no skills, no structure.

We all look like an expert on hindsight, and of course on hindsight, had I not gone the way I went, I’d not met your mum, I’d not had this wonderful family life, I’d not be who I am right now.

On hindsight, I would have been a lot better, a lot more purposeful, and more prepared for my life, had I gotten that guidance.

I have no plans to make that mistake with you and your little brother.

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You choose Compassvale for their Aeronautics, you might have the interest, only to falter later. Maybe aeronautics isn’t your thing. Or maybe it is?

We don’t know, but if at this age of twelve, you have set your sights on aeronautics, and if you proved to be quite good at it, it is my job to push you to do better, so that you get a proper education in this field, a diploma, a degree later, and become who you want to be. You see, one thing I’d wish I had done differently, is to stay the course, and become a deep, knowledgeable expert in a specific discipline. I see this in my more than 20 years of practice in Aikido. I am good at it, and people recognised me for my skills. (although I’d also wanted to devote more time to become a more pronounced Aikidoka)

So now you have set your sights on Aeronautics, and you got into a school that does that, it is a worthy effort to go all out, become an aeronautical professional, and be recognized as one, spend all you time, devoting yourself to become one, don’t falter, or lose sight. Achieve that goal, and be so good at it, people recognize you as a Aeronautical expert, then you can see success, and more importantly, satisfaction.

Chasing Dreams

One thing I can tell you, chasing dreams are fine, but if you give up half-way then that is a problem. If you chase a dream, but you have nothing much of an action plan, then that is a problem. To chase a dream, you need to be relentless, have a plan, grab the dream by the neck, hammer away until the dream becomes a reality. This takes grit, commitment and support.

GRIT

It looks like you might have some grit, and commitment, support is where I try to offer. When you falter, I have to perk you up. When you lose sight, I have to give you that compass. And when you want to give up, my job is to remind you how far you have come and achieved so much, and not to give up. My parents didn’t do that for me, I didn’t do that for myself, as I didn’t know how to then.

So don’t worry about the future, part of my job as your dad is to give you that resources to face the future. You have some inkling of who you want to become, so go chase it down, and never settle until you have achieve the success and satisfaction you wanted. Then you’ll be a man, my son!

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