A round the world, people celebrate Father’s Day to honour dads and to express their love and affection. Traditionally, the mother is regarded as the sole nurturer of a child. The role of a father is often relegated to a secondary status as compared to a mother. But we all know that the father is just as important for a child as the mother is and the significance of a father in the development and emotional wellbeing of a child is no less. Children depend on their father for their spiritual, emotional, physical, financial and social wellbeing. For daughters, their father is the ideal man in the world and also the first man they adore, while for sons, their father is an idol and the strongest man they aspire to emulate.
Fathers are now as involved in child rearing as the mothers. “It’s tough being a dad today”, says Mukesh Rishi, an actor, businessman and father of two. “Sometimes it feels like you work and struggle, but there’s never enough of you to go around. With changing times, the pressures are becoming more challenging. Yet, you are so important that you are nearly irreplaceable in the lives of your children. Fatherhood is a privilege given by the almighty, and with this comes the power to influence lives. Exercised responsibly that power can shower blessing on you and your family.”But Rishi isn’t the only dad having a tough time juggling roles and wondering so why so much fuss is made about Fathers day every year, when the whole year around it’s work and some more work! Although Rishi confesses that he spends quality time with his children whenever he can, he still feels guilty most of the time!
A role model and friend
Privilege, power, responsibility and sacrifice are all part of the same package – Fatherhood! He gives his children an example of healthy masculinity that will survive down through the generations. Take for instance, this dad who brought up his girls all on his own and is now waiting for them to get married. After his wife died of cancer, life wasn’t the same, says V Appukuttan. “Just when I thought I am retired and can now relax, I feel it’s a whole new life after 60. Without my wife around, I dedicated my life to social service but I also have the responsibility of marrying off my two grown-up daughters who want to settle down at their own pace. I have learnt to respect that mutually,” Appukuttan adds.
The family depends a lot on the father, no matter where they are or what they do; the pressure to perform is a priority. But they do it in the best possible way they can. Voices Victor Ferns, a father of two, an offshore petroleum engineer working at sea most of the year around, “I come home after several months sometimes and its like Christmas. It’s like a reunion party. But I make sure that I am contactable, whenever possible, even when I am away at sea. I have everything chalked out, even the online bills to be paid and the numerous home situations — I try my best to co-ordinate. Victor further adds, “It’s not easy when you come home and your 12-year old has suddenly become a teen who asks, “Daddy, do you think I look fat?” I know the teen “body wars” are on but I smile and say, “you will always be pretty”.
Another important aspect for which all fathers are looked-up at is values. Values that are held in common unite people and families. If the values are profound and worthy of human dignity, they will withstand crisis and deepen the character of the individuals in the family. Conversely, crisis will challenge the values of a family and reveal the characters of its members. If the values are based on superficialities such as money, power, physical beauty or pleasure they will crumble under stress.
Anand Kumar, a father who is a teacher by profession, explains, “Religion provides the context for understanding the purpose of life and its events. Both parents and children are prized in an intimate manner. The shared values of both, dad and mom, are expressed to the children by example and direction. These values help to unite the family while shaping the children’s character.”
Above all, the primary communication in a family is love. The first role of the family is to love and to build a civilisation of love. Dads know their children as no one else and can love them as no one else can. The unconditional love of family members to each other makes their role irreplaceable. Anand adds, “If you become their leader, they will follow your footsteps. If you go fishing or nature trekking they will cultivate a love for it too. And if you pray often and follow religion fervently your children too will do so. Imitation is the best method of learning.”
Thank you for everything
Today, the father is no more the “Big Bad Boss” – the parent who gives orders. He is now a friend, guide and leader – someone who doesn’t dictate ways to live, but sets an example by living that way. So this fathers day, let us show our dads how special they are to us by expressing our love and gratitude in the most special way we can.
So on Fathers day, let’s say cheers to the Dad who is the leader – a leader who gives choices. He is the dad who is mind you, the unseen “corner stone” of every family, standing strong holding up and enjoying his role. It’s tough with life’s many challenges, but worth the while after all!