Get to know Gurmit Singh the Dad, and who he is beyond being a celebrity -in his own words. In our interview, Gurmit shares about his appreciation of being head of the family and having support from his in-laws. Gurmit is married to Melissa Wong, a homemaker; they are parents to Gabrielle, 15, and Elliot, 11.
Not at ALL! (Laughs) It’s so opposite of what I do for a living. Fatherhood is more personal and real for me. Most of the work I do for a living, on the other hand, is based on pretense.
Does being a celebrity dad pose any special challenges?
Yes it does. Going out with the family for one is not something we can just do. I have to be mindful that the intended venue will be conducive, that it allows us to have personal and family time as opposed to a place where I end up doing autographs and photograph-taking.
How do you stay involved in your children’s lives?
A few ways actually. One, my wife keeps me updated via SMS or even by chatting over the phone at bedtime. Two, having a nice long meal with the family and asking the children to tell me what’s been going on with them.
Driving them to school also allows me to keep in touch with my children. And once a fortnight, if possible, I take one of my children, in turns, to a place to simply ‘chill’ -have some one-on-one time with either my son or my daughter.
It could be watching a movie, or taking a walk, cycling or hanging out at video arcades, as long as I get to spend time and have the opportunity to engage with the child, and give him or her full attention.
Can you share some fond memories of your journey of fatherhood?
Of course when the children were born -that would always stay embedded in my memory. It is true what they say, that the birth (of a child) is truly a miracle. It is a jaw dropping – eyes wide open – speechless – inspiring moment.
Some of the other fond memories would be little things like when they started talking about things and asking questions; when we went for holidays; and little things that we did like feeding ducks, patting animals or collecting sea shells.
How do you measure the quality of your family life?
I am simple man, so seeing my family happy, and smiles all around, is all I need. What I would like to improve on is to spend more time with the family but with my schedule it can be hard. Not impossible, still doable.
What do you appreciate most about yourself in your role as a dad?
I appreciate the respect that I am given as the head of the family.
It is a daunting responsibility but one that I cherish too because I am able to help my family to keep going on the right track and stay happy as much as possible. It turns me into a useful and valuable individual whereas in a corporate world you can be made insignificant too easily.
What is the toughest part about being a dad?
I am only human and I can’t be always level headed. Tiredness and other factors come into play that may jeapordise my role as the head of the family. But when I think not about myself, but my family, then that’s when I find my second wind and I get back on track.
How does your immediate and extended family, help you as a father, to overcome the challenges of bringing up kids?
A long time ago my wife and I realised that for us to play our roles well, we would need to recharge and refresh. So when I am really overwhelmed with work or other things, I make time to rest by myself and to recharge.
And as for extended family, my wife has four sisters with families, and we can always count on them to help us take care of the kids so that Melissa and I can go on dates and have some time together.
Likewise, we have also extended the same help to look after their kids so they can take time off as parents and just have couple time. It’s a win-win situation.
Do your children enjoy watching you act?
Yes they do and that makes me proud of what I am doing.
Are there any signs that any of your children might have your sense of drama or comedy?
Definitely. Both my children have excellent comedic timing and good acting skills. My daughter has already followed in my steps in a way – she is now studying Theatre in at School of the Arts (SOTA).
What are your children’s aspirations?
(Laughs) They keep changing. The list includes wanting to be a ballerina, mum, scientist or teacher. For now, my daughter wants to be an actor and my son wants to be a robotics engineer.
What are your aspirations for your children?
I always have and will continue to say to them, “Be whatever you want to be as long you are happy, you have the passion for it and it is LEGAL!“
About the Author: The Dads for Life Resource Team comprises local content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals, dedicated to developing useful resources for dads.
First published on 02-04-2012