The day is not exclusive to receiving.
Many men and women, men more so, talk ruefully of the emotional emptiness they feel when thinking about their father. They may sense love there, but also big question marks: What did he feel? What did he stand for? What did I mean to him?
Father’s Day will soon be here and it’s an apt time to ponder on the topic.
The secondary school I attended hosted an annual Father/son Day concert. The disc jockey (whose job it appeared to my youthful mind was to see that all fathers made fools of themselves) lined fathers on one side of the hall facing sons on the other. The challenge was to see which side could sing the loudest to selected songs. This competition brought out the true feistiness in the sons, which seemed to melt the competitive streak in the fathers.
I recalled my father (who was wise in not choosing singing as a career) looking so dumbstruck, but with a display of pride, as my brother belted out the tunes at the top of his voice. At the conclusion of this friendly face-off, each father walked over to his son, they shook hands, embraced and together went to their seats.
How many fathers tell their children how much they love and treasure them? Pray tell me what holds them back? Is it genetic, cultural, environmental, fear of being too un-macho, or is it attributable to our sick society that attaches sexual connotation to every gesture? What so ever is the causal factor(s), perhaps the time is at hand to rewrite this portion of gender history.
Fathers, let your children see you in a more humanizing manner. Father’s Day is not exclusive to receiving. Instead, the day can be used to pass on a legacy to your child/children that no one can take away.
Maybe you may want to describe the way you felt, or what it was like the day your son/daughter was born. Or tell how he/she came to have their name. Better still you can describe in some detail your worst job and what it taught you about the value of education and persistence.
So dads, on Father’s Day spend time writing or telling each of your children something that you always wanted to say, but never had the courage to do. You do not need to strive to be a hero in their eyes; just be human.
Happy Father’s Day to all fathers everywhere.