Please let your children live their dreams, and not yours.

The GCE A-Levels results were released last Friday. I couldn’t be with my daughter as I had to attend a training class at NTU. I had no expectations of the grades she should get and I just hoped that she would be happy with her results.

At 2.45pm, my wife sent over a photo of her results and my daughter had done really well. I was so pleased I held up my phone to my classmates at my table and said, “Check this out, guys!” Don’t stop a proud father from flexing!

Months ago, I had discussed with my daughter what course she wanted to take in university. She had explored her choices and made up her mind on an arts course. I asked if she’s sure she doesn’t want to make big money in the finance sector like many people do. She said she didn’t want to study anything else.

“Alrighty!” I said and I went back to doing my work. I have never asked her to achieve any specific grades in school and I sure wasn’t going to tell her which university course to take up. As long as she had done her research, I was cool.

On the other hand, I heard a story about this student who also did well in the same exams and now his parents are forcing him to apply for a faculty he doesn’t want to go into. I think it’s law or medicine or something that is prestigious and makes big money.

Look, I know Singapore is the world’s most expensive city and everyone seeks stability and a good income. In our Asian culture, many parents want their children to have a good life and becoming a doctor or lawyer is a well-known path of achieving upward mobility.

But consider letting your children decide their own path. They may be too young to know the ways of the world, but they also know what kind of things they like to do and what they don’t.

We parents may have more wisdom and experience, but I can also tell you that thanks to AI, the world will be drastically different in the next decade and the old rules of career planning will no longer apply. We should advise our children on their options, but we should not burden them with our own desires or unfulfilled dreams.

30 years ago, although I also scored well at the A-levels, I chose not to go into medicine like my classmates. I simply didn’t feel I wanted to be in a job involving people’s lives.

Today, my doctor friends do live a much wealthier life than me, but that doesn’t mean I’m worse off. I have enjoyed every job I’ve had and God has provided more than abundantly for my family every step of the way.

I pray that my daughter and my son will be happy and content in their lives too, whichever path they choose.