The Standard’s Masterclass - My father’s pivotal role in nurturing my independence, confidence and resilience (Dr. Theresa Fok)
Equip your children with the skills to be independent, trust that they will be able to manage, and only step in to assist if really needed
My father is the person for whom I hold the utmost respect for as his guidance and exemplary conduct in life have shaped who I am as a person. Due to the early passing of my mother, my father was tasked with the challenge of raising all five children on his own. My father started off working as a General Manager at a Chinese restaurant chain in Kennedy Town in order to support us. Through my eyes as a child, I perceived him as being a well-respected individual in the community as my family was well recognized and always warmly greeted by our neighbours, which made me feel proud. Though I can imagine the financial burden of supporting such a large family, my father’s involvement in the F&B industry enabled my siblings and I to never experience a sense of poverity as he was always able to put food on the table and we were never hungry. My father had to work most of the day, and was not able to be physically by our sides at all times, yet he deeply instilled in us strong moral values and entrusted us to take care of one another. An example of this is his imparting of a letter to me before my departure to my studies in London, stating: 【防人之心不可冇，害人之心不可有】 translated as “One should never tend to do harm to others, but should always guard against the harm others might do to you”. Later, he opened up his own bakery, the 【金英】 in Tin Hau. In this way, he managed to provide three of us with a higher education, and my elder sister and I studied abroad in the U.S. and the UK. I learned a lot from him on bringing up children, dealing with people and tough situations, and running a business.
Here are a few interesting stories from my own children’s childhood where I trusted that they knew best on handling particular situations: Like many children these days, my son has always had an affinity to playing computer games. I recall my son’s tutor advising that I take away his computer to stop him from having any distractions in the midst of his upcoming GCSE examinations. I told my son’s tutor that I would not do so as I believe in respecting my son’s ownership over his personal belongings and that I trust him to manage his own study schedule. I am pleased to share that my son ended up doing exceptionally well in his high-school examinations and he scored straight A’s. A similar example is when my daughter asked for my permission to attend a Jay Chou concert on the eve of submitting a school project. I asked her whether she really needed to go and whether she thought she would be able to manage the assignment. She said yes to both questions, and I trusted her judgment. She ended up pulling an all-nighter after the concert and managed to obtain a top score in her class!
About Dr Theresa Fok
Dr Theresa Fok, founder of the award-winning boutique real estate agency Jade Land Properties (HK) Limited, is a property investment expert with entrepreneurial vision and over two decades of extensive experience in real estate investment and property management across the Asia Pacific region.
The Standard’s Master Class
The Standard’s brand new online video series ‘Master Class’ features the successful female entrepreneur Dr Theresa Fok, who has made notable achievements both in business and in her family. She shares with the audience her recipe for success and finding happiness in the face of adversity.