Shanghai Dad: A Q&A With Michael Lambert

Job titles, bike tricks and letting go.

by SHFamily | Tue, January 16, 2018

Welcome to our monthly WeChat exchange, where we reach out to a Shanghai dad to discuss family, life and being a father. This month, Michael Lambert talks about job titles, bike tricks and letting go.

Michael Lambert Family

Name: Michael Lambert

Job: Teacher at Concordia International School Shanghai

Nationality: American

Children: Jingwen (23), Kaiyun (21)

School: Concordia International School Shanghai

Time in Shanghai: 11 years

When did it first register that you were actually a father and what did you start doing differently?

Building a wooden clubhouse with Jingwen, my son. I learned how to watch him from a distance as he explored, problem solved and interacted with all of his tools and materials. As he built and as they came up, he asked me questions – I was simply giving him advice.

How has fatherhood changed you?

Fatherhood helped me rethink my past family traditions, my own personal values, and my career goals. I wanted to be a father, thus, I shifted my ambitions to take on this role. Usually, one thinks the titles to certain roles are advancement, and in order to move up the career ladder, we need new roles or job titles. Thereis nothing more rewarding than the title of “Dad.” Once I became a dad, I met my long-term goal. Mission accomplished.

What has been your worst parenting moment?

Getting the phone call in the middle of the night informing you that something happened. I won’t go into detail but it wasn’t good, especially knowing that I couldn’t immediately follow up as I was in Shanghai and my son was in Texas. It’s difficult to find the balance between allowing your child to learn from their own mistakes and fixing the problem. As a parent it is difficult to “let go.” Eventually, we must cut the umbilical cord and simply love our child . . . no matter what.

What is one of your most memorable parenting moments?

Teaching Jingwen how to ride a bike. His smile told the whole story, and it was during an era in which he gained his own independence. He took the training wheels off himself – soon he was riding on one wheel as well as doing other bike tricks.

In what ways have you noticed that your child is similar to you?

Kaiyun is a lot more like I am. She’s transparent and straight forward,says what needs to be said, with no passive-aggression. She always lets people know what’s on her mind. I’m the same way.