With my dear son being enlisted and in basic military training, he soon reached the part where his company had to go on the field camp. The company officer sent us a letter asking parents to write some words of encouragement during this time. It is supposedly a tough time for them and it is not uncommon for some of the kids to get really stressed out and have a nervous breakdown.
To give you an idea, here is a clip from the movie I found produced by the Singapore Armed Forces.
I’ve put the URL at the part where the letters are distributed to the recruits and they get all teary-eyed.
This was what I wrote for my son to read at his field camp.
To my dear son St John,
I really just wanted to copy the words in one of the letters from Ah Boys To Men, that awful movie you were watching, but then I realised that with my command of Chinese, it would be a project that would take too long. So some honest words from my heart will have to do.
Every father wishes his son to be better than him. I so glad that you already in so many ways are a better man than me.
Your sense of virtue and always doing the right thing.
Your willingness to help other people, even those you don’t know.
Your loyalty to your friends and how you would go out of your way to help them.
And you always being optimistic, being able to carry on with a song in your heart and making do with what you have.
Sometimes it makes me sad that I can’t always be there for you. Letting go is always the hardest part for a parent. I feel some comfort thinking that you will be able to make things work out and help your friends along the way.
I would like to say I’m proud of you for the man you have become. But I always knew you for the person you were inside – you have all the best parts of the person I intended to be and more. And I think you know yourself for what you are too. Please continue to be the best person worthy of your name.
Be mindful of the situation and what needs to be done Always have your head in the game.
Be prepared, the Scout’s motto, is a motto for a reason. It always pays off.
Be agile, be quick.
Be ahead of the game or trends. This will pay off later in life.
Put in your best effort in whatever you do. If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well. I believe there is a Chinese version of this saying.
Be there for those who need help or comforting.
Be true to yourself. Always. In an age of declining morals, I am proud to have a son that does right for himself and others.
In the meantime, your family will always be here for you. So glad you are having such a great time in the army and are enjoying it with your mates. Please thank your sergeant and your officers for us.
Always with you in spirit and May The Force Be with You.
Love from Mum, Dad and Randy.
I hope he did not tear up in front of his friends mostly because he’d known what my thoughts of him were all along and it should not come as any surprise. Still, he said it was very moving.
Life is too short for words to be left unsaid.