Reflecting on Fathers/Dad

By Ivy Maloy

We celebrate single dads out there who have defied all odds to raise exceptional children who have in one way or another impacted our lives or the world at large.

 “Happy Father’s Day dad.” I whispered to my father and hastily hung up the phone. I felt my tears sliding down my cheeks. It’s an emotional day for all of us, we were really sure, a time like this last year, that was the last time we would celebrate him while he was still alive. You see, the pandemic really made each one of us change a lot of our perspectives.

My dad was diagnosed with covid-19 last year and he being a diabetic, we really had no hopes at all. But he pulled through, even after the doctors told us he had no chances, he pulled through. He’s now as fit as a butcher’s dog. Enough about that. What does Father’s Day mean to you? Father’s Day is a day not only about celebration, but reflection on the privilege of fatherhood and the gifts that are bestowed upon each of them when they become parents.

We celebrate single dads out there who have defied all odds to raise exceptional children who have in one way or another impacted our lives or the world at large. Growing up without a mother can be very challenging but some dads have managed to raise their children and have done so without any help and have done a good job. But it is not easy being a single dad, the society finds it “weird” and “socially unacceptable” for a man to raise children on his own with no help from a woman and the society always wait for him to fail. We should stop victimizing single dads and children raised by single dads as they are no different from us.

But unfortunately, there some children who have grown up without dads, some with dead beat dads, incarcerated fathers, alcoholic dads and those whose dads passed away. Dads are an important figure as one grows up. They provide guidance and protection to our families. The role of a dad is unique and important and each child has a right to experience that but not all of them get the chance.

In as much as we are celebrating fathers, we cannot forget the absentee fathers. This may end up causing long term mental and emotional effects on their children as children may end up blaming themselves for their father’s dissociation with them thinking that it is their fault. The fact that they know their dad is somewhere out there but has chosen not to associate himself with them can be heartbreaking and harmful for their emotional well-being.

There are some who grow up with incarcerated fathers. For these ones, it is really hard as their peers make fun of them once they find out that their fathers are in prison which may lead to the child resenting his dad because of the stigma the situation brought them. The pent up frustrations may end up breaking the child making them rebellious because they feel like they need to prove something to the society. That they are something not just the “child of a prisoner”. But we choose to celebrate them as some of them have tried, in one way or another to be there for their children and actively participated in raising them even though they were not able to be there.  

Children who have grown up with alcoholic fathers may end up emulating their father or be anti-social or emotionally unavailable. Research shows that most alcoholic fathers end up being violent hence exposing the child to violence at a really young age. This may scar them for life and kill their innocence. The effects of this is that the child may end up being aggressive and violent to his or her peers or My end up abusing drugs and being disruptive.

There are those who this day is a painful reminder of what they once had, the commercialized aspect of the day illuminates the absence of their dads, that it brings the pain of grief all over again. But we choose not to reflect on the fact that they are no longer here with us but to celebrate and be thankful for the time he had with us. The beautiful memories are what matters and when one chooses to reflect on the life they led and celebrate, then they have really embraced and learned what Father’s day is all about.

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