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Pastor How (Tan Seow How)   pastorhow instagram
Pastor Lia (Cecilia Chan)   pastorlia instagram
Heart of God Church (Singapore)   pastorlia instagram
Stay connected
Pastor How (Tan Seow How)
pastorhow instagram
Pastor Lia (Cecilia Chan)
pastorlia instagram
Heart of God Church (Singapore)
hogc instagram

Length: 3-minute read

The Advantage of Being Fatherless

A Father’s Day Message to Heart of God Church Youths

Every Father’s Day, my heart goes out to the youths in Heart of God Church who do not have a father at home. I do not want them to feel left out. While other young people celebrate with their families, for these youths, it can be an awkward or meaningless occasion.

So, every year, I write a letter to them. This is what I wrote last year.


This Father’s Day, I write to all of you who are not celebrating this occasion.
For the past 4 years, I have been writing to you as a father would to his children.  But this year, I am writing with the aim to change your mindset.

If there is a title to this little message, it will be – The advantage of being fatherless.
In a perfect world, it is always good to have a father.
However, in a fallen world, I have also observed that sometimes – an absent father is better than a bad father.
A void in the heart is better than a thorn in the flesh.

For those of you who are fatherless, you don’t start from a disadvantage.  You actually start on a neutral.
Sometimes family carries both blessing and baggage.
So you may not enjoy the blessing but you certainly will not be burdened by the baggage.
You have no big shoes to fill.
You have no footsteps to follow.
You don’t live under a shadow.
You don’t have a family name or tradition to uphold.
I have seen the hopes and fears of parents holding their children hostage.
I have seen family expectations and traditions taking their children prisoner.

The life jacket for one generation can become a straitjacket for the next.
The life jacket of a stable job for parents can become a straitjacket for the entrepreneurial spirit of the children.
The life jacket of financial security for one generation can become a straitjacket for the spiritual dreams and idealism of the next generation.

There would not be Apple if Steve Jobs had not dropped out of college.
There would not be freedom for Israel if Moses had not left the palace.
There would not be Heart of God Church, if I had taken over my father’s business 20 years ago.
There would not be a youth church, if Pastor Lia had not quit her job as a journalist.

Thus, in this sense, my dear fatherless friends, you have an advantage.
You are free to paint on the white canvas of your life.
You can live your dreams unencumbered by the burden of the previous generation.
You are free.
So be free.
Dream big dreams.
Live for Jesus.
Change the world!

and oh…
You don’t need to have “daddy issues” too.
You have a Father in heaven.

Love & Respect,
Pastor How
June 2016


  1. Ong Li Ping says:

    It’s so meaningful what you do here SP..It really changes the perspective of how things can be seen. Instead of self-pity, it helps us to see that we can have a different and positive take in life. Thank you!

  2. Kian Leng says:

    Thank you SP for writing letters to us every year even though you don’t have to. Over the years, I received every letter you wrote and every letter spoke to me! You don’t just write to us as a father but you write to encourage and elevate our mindset!

    This letter spoke to me so much and it changed my perspective of being fatherless. We don’t start on a negative in life but we actually start on a neutral. Instead of having self pity and being negative about life, we are free to do all that God has called us to do! To dream big, live for Jesus and change the world!

  3. Aaron Tan says:

    Father’s day is coming this Sunday. This day held little meaning to me for the first half of my (present) life. I had a father who was present and yet absent at the same time.

    In 2007, my father passed away battling cancer for 2 years. He fought strong and hard. But my little heart was bitter and ignorant. I was broken on the inside, and hid everything inside.

    In 2008, I stepped into HOGC for the first time and it changed my life. The healing process begun.

    In 2010, @pastor.how, you found out about my family’s situation and placed me under the church’s Scholarship and Opportunity Fund (SOF) to enable me.

    Every year then, I’d receive a personalised note on Father’s day. Messages of hope, strength and encouragement. A father’s message from Pastor How.

    This year, I want to do something different. Rather than expecting to receive something, I want to give. I was thinking what I could get, but, practically, I know Pastor you always chose to live simple – not materialistic. So I thought an Instagram post and a message would be the next best thing to do.
    ··· ··· ···
    This Father’s day, I want to celebrate your heart for the next generation. You gave up your youth to build and believe in the next generation of youth, to build HOGC. Without HOGC, I wouldn’t have made it this far.

    The words you write in every letter speak faith and life into our future. Thank you for empowering us and believing with us. You may not be my earthly father, but you’ve always treated me as your own. More than that, your life is a living example for us to emulate and reproduce in our own lives.

    Greatest of all, you are the same on stage and off stage. Thank you for doing what you do without respite. I’m excited for the next season of our church to grow to a new level faith and strength!

    Love you very much!
    P.s. I think you are funnier than Jimmy Fallon.
    Thank you @pastor.lia for believing and sowing in the next gen too!!!!

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