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Fathers engender strength. Mothers, on the other hand, give comfort. Children imagine their fathers as capable of changing any circumstances: stopping their pain, rescuing them from bullies, providing for all their needs, stopping any calamity from reaching them, making them fly up in the air and back. At least, my daughter believed that I could make her disappear to visit Africa, and then back. It takes time, for children to come to grip that their fathers are not nearly as omnipotent as they once thought.
Children, especially males, copy or take in their father’s personality through observation. Like their father, sons quickly learn to tolerate pain and pledge to themselves never to break down and cry in the face of adversity.
Fathers are not the only repository of strength. Many mothers do have phenomenal character when it comes to solidifying their children. But, provision of comfort is more of a mother’s strong suit.
Remember that father’s day must encompass all fatherly figures: biological fathers, stepfathers, mentors, avuncular, big brothers, single mothers and all others who rose up to fill the role of an absent or a transited biological father.
Do not beat on fathers that have fallen below expectation. A lot more is demanded from fathers than from any other biological status. Over-expectation of what fathers should do is hung on them early, at birth, and later by societal assignment of gender role play. It is a sentence etched on man and reiterated by the scriptures; to labor and sweat for the family.
Some fathers carry this burden their entire life—-they continue to jog even when all they had left is the energy to walk. They continue to offer opinions even when they have lost touch with reality. They continue to force a smile even when all they have left is to grin.
As I focused on what today meant to me, the memories of my father and all my deceased fatherly figures uploaded into my psyche. On the heel of that memory came two soaked eyeballs. Tears broke. A few managed to trickle down my cheeks. Midway down, the tears were dried by the warmth of my mother’s silent voice saying: ‘you got to let go, remember who your father was.’
The two qualities of my father which I admire most are:
Respect: My father conjured respect because he was consistent. When he showed up, people quickly pull up their pants, straighten up their shirts, buckle their shoe laces, prop up their shoulders and head.
Firmness: I never saw my Dad equivocating. If you agreed on something, you must make it work, he used to say. What is right, is right the first time and will still be right the last time.
I treasure the time I spent with my father. I got to know him well before he passed.
Fathers do relate differently to their daughters and sons. Conversions between fathers and sons are impenetrable to third parties. It is an unbreakable bond. Do not wed any man until you have talked to his father about him. Run if his father says that he will never amount to anything good.
All fathers can use a break on father’s day. Allow them the opportunity to choose how they want to spend the day. Use this day to reflect on how human and vulnerable fathers are. It is not a day of reckoning. Every father has to face their date of reckoning. Leave the day of reckoning for another day.
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write by Basil