Another Fathers’ Day and another opportunity to dance with all fatherly figures in our lives as we reminisce with Luther Vandross’s Grammy Award-winning song of the Year (2004), “Dance with my Father”.
Though to date, not much hype has been made in the media to remind one of another significant global family celebration, no doubt families and acquaintances are very much aware of the day and would tomorrow, celebrate their men, dead or alive. For such families, they would possibly play a song that would never ever end and dance with their fathers again because such are the men whose commitment, love and care have made life more meaningful for them. Occasions like Fathers’ Day are therefore a joyful pay-back time and a great day to show appreciation.
Growing up, such global celebrations were not that popular in our part of the world. One, therefore, lost out on the opportunity to voice out or show an overflowing appreciation for our fathers and generally, the responsible and caring men one had. As second-generation members of our families and neighbourhoods, some of us had the privilege of exceptional fatherly figures including grandfathers, in our lives. They have become benchmarks as we share real fatherly care with our third and fourth generation family members.
These were exemplary fathers who worked tirelessly to give their families the best in life including unmatched education. And for our sake, they did not mind their wives (the mothers) staying home to be there for us while they, as fathers worked tirelessly to take care of the needs of the entire family, including their nieces and nephews.
The fathers literally led us to the mountains in their search for better lives for us. They gave us stronger ropes with all the encouragement to climb to the top so that we could stand on our feet in their absence. Their joy then was to see their children successful in their endeavours including education, marriage and job.
There are many more fatherly figures around today who would sacrifice everything for the sake of their children. There are even single parent fathers who have proudly and single-handedly taken care of their children because the wife passed on earlier or that the wife walked away from the marriage and virtually abandoned the children. Such are the fatherly figures that the world would tomorrow show appreciation to and perhaps celebrate throughout the year.
Unfortunately, however, there are many more fathers also out there who have shown in word and in deed that they do not deserve any accolades, especially on a day like Father’s Day. There are those who disowned their children either during pregnancy or soon after birth. There some others who walked out in the course of the marriage and even refused to take care of their own biological children. They completely abandoned their responsibilities as parents with no sense of guilt.
And there are still the abhorrent fatherly figures who constantly rain abuses on their own daughters and other people’s children cutting short any dignified future for them. They have sexually abused their own children or stepchildren, raped them and sometimes impregnate them at a very young age.
So that shame is not brought on the family, elders of both families meet and agree not to press for prosecution but instead, talk over or settle matters amicably and go through whatever type of “cleansing “processes that their tradition demands. At that point, the dignity of the child is bruised forever. We have heard many stories in the media which suggest that some fathers have simply proved irresponsible in their conduct with their own or other people’s daughters and leaving them traumatised for life. Fathers or men of the sort would not deserve the honours on the celebratedFathers’ Day.
So counting the undignified fathers out, we join the world to raise our glass to toast the fatherly figures who have proved themselves responsible to their calling and have shown commitment, care and love. Today is indeed their day. Families will be celebrating with them and urge them to pick up their dancing shoes and to quote from the award-winning song of Luther Vandross, ready themselves for “one final glance by the world, take one final step for a final dance”, because the world is not wasting time to celebrate them and say “Ayekoo” for living up to their responsibilities.
Congratulations to every man who deserves to be celebrated on Fathers’ Day tomorrow. Society appreciates your tireless contributions.