Fatherhood Matters: Celebrating Father’s Day

Fatherhood Matters: Celebrating Father’s Day

Date: June 17, 2018
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by Sandiswa Manana

Johannesburg, 17 June: The contribution of fathers and father figures is highly recognised and celebrated worldwide on Father’s Day. Every year, third Sunday of June, fathers are celebrated all over the globe in showing gratitude and appreciation on being part of their children’s lives.

Fatherhood is celebrated to acknowledge and honour the contribution of fathers and male parents who play a role of being father figures in the society. Usually, complements for grooming children would all be shifted to the mother without thinking twice. It is normal because they are the primary caregivers of the children, and in most cases they do it alone.

Men are perceived as vicious and violent, but some men are genuine and quite heartfelt. The world has men who are capable to love selflessly, but the social norms can force men to act unloving. However, when you get to know them at a personal level it becomes clear that they have soft hearts.

Celebrating Father’s Day is quite important in recognising the role that men play in the children’s lives. Men who are involved in their children’s up-bringing deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated. Being a father does not necessarily mean you have to be biologically related to a child, but positive actions you have towards children can make you a better father.

Nelson Mandela is one person who is known and remembered as a father of the nation, not only because he fought for freedom, but also because of his love for children. He once said “our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth, those who care for and protect our people.” His love for children was astonishing. He did not have to utter it in words, but his actions expressed how much love he had as a leader and as a father.

Many people have many expectations towards male parents, which could drive fathers away. For example, they may expect that a father supports the children economically and if he fails they would prohibit him from seeing his kids. It takes more than money being a father. A father who can only be there for his children no matter the circumstances is better than an absent father. Hence he also deserves being given appreciation.

In some instances some fathers are also parenting on their own, probably because their partners have died or whatever the reason. Being a single father is not an easy task and one needs to be really strong both mentally and physically. Males are generally not supposed to be good with managing the kids, family and work and if a father has taken up the task with grace, it definitely needs to be celebrated. Father’s Day is for men like that, men who grab parenting with both their hands and run with it.

Celebrating fathers does not mean a person has to spend large sums of money buying expensive gifts, but to tell them how much you love and appreciate their efforts can be enough. However, sharing gifts also on this day can be very exciting and it can make a father feel extra special. It is a matter of showing gratitude and making them see that their presence is really appreciated, even if they do not have much.

Father’s day is a bitter-sweet day to some other people. It is a reminder of how some people grew up without their fathers, for various reasons. People usually go on to social media to post their experiences with their fathers or father figures. It becomes very sad seeing good stories about fathers who have passed away. This day becomes a reminder of the important roles those men played while they were still alive.

Good male parents make a lot of sacrifices for their families or children to go to bed with something in their stomachs. This is not to move away from the efforts women also make to ensure the sustainable lives for their children. However, male parents also need to be shown appreciation without being told that their hard work is what is being expected from them after all.

Father’s Day is for men who actually take into consideration that their presence in their children’s lives makes a huge difference. It is not flesh and blood that makes a person a father but a loving heart, so every man who serves as a father figure ought being celebrated this coming Sunday on Father’s Day.

Photo: Courtesy of UNICEF

Sandiswa Manana is the Alliance and Partnerships Intern at Gender Links. This story is part of the GL News and Blogs.


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