“It was one of my most special moments as a father yet,” says Jeev Milkha Singh, one of the most successful Indian on the professional golf scene. Jeev is recounting the Kids Golf World Championships in Malaysia where his son, Harjai had claimed the bronze medal in 2017. The Padma Shri Awardee caddied for his son in this match.
It was a perfect moment to bond for the son and father! An elated Jeev says, “The roles of a caddie are similar to a father’s. A caddie makes the golfer aware of challenges and obstacles of the course and guides the golfer, in the same way a father guides his children.”
With the pandemic bringing a halt to everything world over, ace golfer Jeev Milkha Singh is spending quality time with his family in Chandigarh.
He is finding this to be an opportune time to bond with his parents and connect with his friends. Something he hardly had time for, in his jet setting schedule before.
The Four-time European Tour champion talks to us about fatherhood, his relationship with his legendary father, Milkha Singh-’The Flying Sikh’.
You clearly are a supportive father, how would you describe your overall parenting style?
My approach is to set structures and guide my child with a loving yet firm hand. Be kind, be a friend to him and set boundaries as well. I believe in my child being outside of the home, not glued to his tv, phone or tablet. Children need to sweat it out. It is essential for them to build immunity and to build a spirit to survive in life. Being a father, if I can instill the belief in my child that he can do whatever he wants and do it well, then, my job is done.
Is this the same parenting style your legendary father has? How was your experience being the son of a super athlete?
My relationship with my father is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I am so grateful to him for guiding me throughout my life and giving me such a strong belief system. He would emphasize these things on a daily basis. It is his voice which reminded me that there are no shortcuts in life.
My father achieved a good balance of being firm when he needed to be and a friend in other scenarios. At the age of 18-19, he started treating me like an adult and a friend. He has an excellent influence on me and he is my best friend.
With you being an outdoor person, how has the lockdown been for you? How are you spending time with your family?
Honestly, it has been challenging but I feel that I have made the most out of it. I have been playing golf all over the world for the last 30 years. I play over 30-35 weeks of golf all over the year. So, certainly, the lockdown has put things in a new perspective. I am thankful for the freedom to fly and play all over the world, to have a caddie who prepares my golf set or even to have access to a golf course!
My new routine is waking up and doing yoga in the morning, catching up with a few friends, followed by lunch. In the evening, I play cards with my parents, from 3 to 6:30 PM. Dinner post this and then sleep.
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The Man, The Myth, The Legend. I call him Dad. I was lucky to have a father with such an inspiring story. He would wake me up at 4:30 am every morning to go for a run along the Chandigarh lake. I hated it then but it’s made me the man that I am today. Thank You for teaching me how to be that man. #father #milkhasingh #bhagmilkhabhag #olympics #india #padmashree #sikhs #golf #pga #pgti #instagolf
Any special dad-son routines you would like to share?
Oh plenty! I like to play table tennis with him. Cricket and even carrom during the lockdown. Every 6 months, he is adapting or showing interest towards a new sport. As a parent, I encourage him to try different interests and skills. I feel as parents, we need to give opportunities to our children to do what they are passionate about at a given time.
Sports do not build character they reveal it
How important is sports for young children? What are your hopes and dreams for the children of India?
Sports helps children learn to fend for themselves from a young age. It helps develop their character. The impact of sports is immense! These children turn into adults who can find ways to handle themselves in different situations, no matter their profession. I believe that children are the future of this country and sports is a wonderful way to teach them survival. Teach them the right values, how to be good human beings and to be good parents eventually.