What ‘I used to think’… about fatherhood
June 16, 2018
Watching and waiting
June 16, 2018

Let’s affirm fatherhood

by Juliana Valdez

I’ve been observing lately, the many ads promoting different products, and whereas it is normal to see mothers being featured, fathers are now being featured more in these advertisements.

There is one in particular, promoting a laundry detergent, which I enjoy. The father narrates that once a week the daughter dons her sheriff outfit so that he can wash the princess outfit, with the ad showing him using the washing machine. I guess washing is no longer only mummy’s job!

The other is the father who complains about his snack being eaten and uses his ultra violet light to catch the culprits, the mother, children and the family pet cat, all guilty of the crime!

Then with Father’s Day to celebrate, the choice of gifts—clothes, electronics, tools, dining venues, entertainment, et al—numerous ads, all promising to make dad happy, are advising that it will be money “well spent!”.

But viewing the news’ reports lately, I wonder about the many children who have lost or don’t know their fathers because of the many murders. Whenever the news’ reporter adds that the victim leaves to mourn young children, sometimes babies, sometimes pregnant wives or girlfriends, I think about the future of these mothers and the children. Sometimes, these men are so young and added to the melee, is the fact that they have ‘fathered’ children with different women.

For some killed, it is said that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time: collateral damage. For so many others though, it is a question of choices made, and as we know, we face and have to live with the consequences of our choices.

Fatherhood, then, is in a state of crisis. Although we have mothers who have brought up their children without the father being present or even being part of their lives and these children are law-abiding and successful citizens in the society, we also have the opposite where the mother may not have been as strong to achieve that. Therefore, the lack of the presence of the father is blamed, rightly or wrongly so, for the indiscipline among many of our youth today.

One may argue, sometimes the father is present, yet the children still display negative attitudes, but what needs to be looked at here is the role of the father and how he nurtures his offspring; what kind of values and attitudes he inculcates in them and what kind of example he is to them.

One may also argue that just as there are single mothers there are single fathers and the organisation formed to give these fathers a voice, is making strides in trying to shift the paradigm so that single fathers will no longer be viewed as a group of delinquent, uncaring individuals, who are nothing but ‘sperm donors’ (this is how I hear them being described now), but as a group with the rights to be part of their children’s lives, looking after their social, spiritual, emotional and academic good and welfare.

As Father’s Day is being celebrated this year, the emphasis should not only be on the material gifts with which to present them, but on ways that affirm and encourage the growth and development of the state of ‘Fatherhood’, to ensure that those who are trying will continue to persevere, and that those who are not there yet, will, by the positive examples around them, be motivated to improve their efforts. Remember, any man can be a father, but it takes a special kind of man to be a daddy!

Happy Father’s Day, Dads.