Umberto Eco said, “I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us, we are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” This is in view of the sensitive and observant nature of children in mimicking what they see and hear. Naturally, the genuine love of a father figure in a family radiates peace, joy, happiness, as the father becomes the first role model to his children, due to his supportive role and assistance in their tender walk through life. His presence boosts their psychological wellbeing, as the early interaction, assistance, direction and feeling of love with a father serves as a child’s blueprint to adulthood.
The father is seen as the guardian and protector of his children; his supportive role in their upbringing, by ensuring their daily needs are met, physically and emotionally promotes healthy interactions and relationship that shapes their confidence in decision making, attitude and relationship with others. Thus, the important roles fathers play as the male figures in nurturing their children cannot be overemphasized.
Although the recognition and celebration of fathers, for their supportive roles have been an age long tradition to many families, however, Sonora Smart Dodd, United States of America (USA), popularised the celebration, by honouring her father, William Jackson Smart, who single handedly brought up his six children, at the death of his wife, during childbirth. Sonora who intended celebrating her father, a Civil Veteran on his birthday on June 5, 1910 was constraint by the activities of her church. The programme was shifted to the third Sunday of June and for the first time in history; Father’s Day was publicly celebrated by many, with enthusiasm in Washington, 1910.
Then in 1972, United States President Richard Nixon declared the third Sunday in June annually as a permanent national holiday to celebrate Father’s Day. Since then, in most part of the world; Europe, Pakistan, United State, India, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Nigeria and many other countries, the recognition and celebration of father’s day on the third Sunday in June has become an annual event.
While it is expected that loved ones deserve every day celebrations, designated dates for celebrations like Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Children Day, and many more are expected to be hyped to show more appreciation to loved ones with gifts, love messages, visitations, etc. However, as fathers are being celebrated, there is need for sober reflections on the genuine roles expected from fathers, due to the degrading state of humanity and society. Thus, as it is expected that each child is an offspring of a father, some pertinent questions need the attention of fathers, if society must change for good:
Do you deserve to be celebrated as a father?
Are you a genuine role model to your child/children?
Are you physically available to give the needed support or you are a ceremonial father?
Do you show sincere love to your children or you are an abuser?
How do you treat their mother and others around them?
Are you a loving father or a bully?
Do you love one child more than the other?
Do you extend love to those that are not your biological children?
Do you sincerely mean well for your child/children?
Do you meet their expectations as a father or you shift your responsibilities?
Children are the replicas of what their fathers/parents/society offers, therefore for families and society to be better, the protective and supportive roles of fathers are paramount.
Min. of Information, Orientation and Strategy, Bayelsa State.