I became a dad when I was 18. I got married the year I found out my wife was pregnant with our first son. Everything moved at such a fast pace after that. We had to prepare for a wedding – and get ready for our baby – all while I was studying to get my advanced diploma.

It’s quite scary to think that my oldest son Alden will be taking his Primary School Leaving Examination next year. I have another son Alvis who’s 10, and a daughter Alyssa who is five this year.

There was no sense of internal change when I found out about the pregnancy. I was just thinking about getting things done because a lot was compressed into those nine months. It was only when my son was born that it fully hit me that I was responsible for another person’s life.

I couldn’t do what others were doing anymore. My life accelerated and I had to think about how I could best provide for my family. Putting that into perspective, I had to think about my future, and being in an eight to five vocation in National Service (NS), I took the opportunity to study part-time.

My direct superiors were flexible and understood that NS was also about the development of the individual to contribute to society. They’d give me a few days off when I had exams. I managed to complete my degree while I was still serving.

I’ve been working since completing NS nine years ago,  and I’m now at a stage of my career where I’m more senior and have the luxury of spending more time with the family. Call it bias, but I get to enjoy parenthood more with my third child than I did with my first two. Being the only girl, I dote on her a lot.

I guess the biggest thing fatherhood taught me is to always have a positive outlook on life. Instead of crying over spilled milk, I think how you react to situations is very important. This is what I try to teach my kids, in addition to other important values like kindness and perseverance.

My biggest sacrifice? I would say my youth, but to be totally honest, I do not regret anything. In turn, I gained much more than what some of my peers have experienced at this stage of life.

I’m turning 30 this year, and I’ve never travelled much. I may have missed out on experiences like campus life and going on a graduation trip, but I believe that maturity and happiness count for more.

My best friend and I are doing a boys’ trip this year to Russia for the World Cup. This will be my first proper trip without the family. I’ll be gone for nine days, but my wife is fully supportive. It will be amazing! I look forward to soaking in the atmosphere of the whole world converging on a city for a single purpose.

Yes, it’s important to give to people, but it’s also very important to give to yourself. No matter what’s happening in your life, you need to spend that time with yourself. It helps balance everything out.” – Aaron, 30



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Arman Shah

A former travel writer with fond memories of solo adventures in Southeast Asia, Arman is now Founder of The Everyday People. He's also the co-host of Channel Empathy, a podcast about the marginalised in Singapore.