Fathers Day: Fatherhood is the greatest adventure of all


'One of the greatest gifts a father can give to his children is to love their mother and be there for her,' says McNab, pictured with wife Leong and their children. Photos: Alexander McNab

Father-of-two Alexander McNab, believes in giving his children the freedom to be what they want to be in life.

“I want my children to have the freedom to express themselves and choose their own path in life,” says the 50-year-old who was born in Kampar, Perak, to a Scottish father and Chinese mother.

McNab and his graphic designer wife Joyce Leong, 46, from, Kuching, Sarawak, have a 15-year-old son, Stewart, and an 11-year-old daughter, Alisha. The family now live in Auckland, New Zealand.

He also believes that both sons and daughters should be treated fairly and given equal opportunities.

McNab doesn’t see himself as an overprotective dad, whether with his son or daughter. He feels that guidance is the key for children to be ready to face society and stay safe, he says.

“I always hear fathers saying how they will shoot down any boys who are after their daughters and I think such behaviour is selfish because we too once courted our wife who is also someone’s daughter. Instead, I will totally support a healthy relationship for our children when they are of age,” he adds.

McNab (centre) and his children bodyboarding at Piha, New Zealand.McNab (centre) and his children bodyboarding at Piha, New Zealand.Having said all that, McNab emphasises the importance of setting a good example.

“It’s very crucial for fathers to demonstrate how a gentleman should behave and treat a girl, so that boys will grow up and know how to be a gentleman and be kindhearted. Our children – whether boys or girls – also need to be reminded what is right and what is wrong, and to speak up as soon as they see something wrong,’ he says.

As a father, McNab feels it is important to pass down what he’s learnt to his children.

The postal service worker says that his most memorable moment as a father was witnessing the birth of his children, and “growing up with them”.

“When I became a father, it was like being reborn and relearning about life,” he says.

“Growing together with our children is part and parcel of being a father. Often our children reflect us as parents.

“This is a constant reminder for us to be more conscious of what we do, say, and how we behave. When a man becomes a father, he often grows as a person and becomes a better man,” he says.

To McNab, one of the greatest gifts a father can give to his children is to love their mother and be there for her.

He is a strong proponent for paternity leave as he thinks it is important that fathers be there when their wife gives birth and support them after.

“The husband’s presence will bring great comfort and provide support for the wife and newborn,” he says.

This helps you understand better what a mother has to go through and it will make you appreciate your wife more, he explains.

“Witnessing the birth of your child can be an emotional experience.

“You’ll have empathy for your child’s mother and appreciate all that she goes through, as well as happiness for the new life being born. It is a humbling experience.”

McNab (right) with his children (from left) Alisha and Stewart toasting to life in their motorhome.McNab (right) with his children (from left) Alisha and Stewart toasting to life in their motorhome.McNab acknowledges that he’s an adventurous father who encourages his children to pursue their dreams.

“I’m the type of person that is brave enough to experiment and be creative, and will encourage my children to try what they’re interested in or curious about,” he says.

McNab, who enjoys motorsports and horseback riding, admits that he did try to get his son interested in these sports but failed.

“My passion for motorcycle racing was so fired-up that I tried to get my son into it. I even asked him if he wanted to try being a horse jockey.

“But he just wishes to be ‘normal’ instead of getting stressed with all the competitive stuff,” he adds.

While Stewart takes after his mother and is more quiet and observant, Alisha takes after him and is more expressive and emotional, reveals McNab.

“Each child is different and we shouldn’t force them to like what we like, but rather encourage them to excel in their own way.

“We want to be parents and their buddies at the same time,” he concludes.


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