Updated: Sep 13, 2020
“June was traditionally the most popular month to marry, and still very common. The goddess Juno (for whom June is named) was the protector of women in all aspects of life, but especially in marriage and childbearing.” What am I getting at here? As we mull over the month of June, I can only envision THE PROTECTOR as a male. A strong and powerful, yet gentle and endearing, masculine figure... much like a father, (Sorry Juno).
As much as there are many groups and activists fighting for gender equality and for gender biases to be non-existent, I personally, rather be nothing but a woman and would rather none other than a male to be my protector. You do not have to share my views but just know that I also rather NOT change a car tyre.. but be driven in said car; NOT lift that heavy suitcase...but shop to fill it up; NOT cut the lawn... but lounge thereupon, and NOT crack open those coconuts...but certainly, bake some coconut bread with said coconuts.
I am, indeed, no damsel in distress. I can do all those things... but why should I when there are men around? Black Panther, Spiderman, Superman, Thor *waving vigorously to catch you heroes’ attention* protect us! Protect our families! Protect our children! Growing up, there were plenty of occasions when I knew when to call mummy but others when the first and only person I wanted to come to my rescue was DADDY!
It stands to reason, that if children perceive mummy and daddy differently, it must mean totally different things to parents. This I wanted to find out for sure. I know what it means to me to be a mother. I identify with this. However, what does it mean to be a father? I cannot answer this.
So! I took to the streets of Bridgetown and interviewed 100 fathers from varying backgrounds to find out what Father’s Day really meant to them and, what it meant being a father. Okay. No, not really. However, I asked a few friends and family members, who asked their friends and family members and the following responses were what I thought to be most insightful. Unfortunately, I could not share all and here are but a few:
“Father's Day doesn’t mean anything to me... Being a father however, means everything, cause the persons that made me a father are everything. The responsibility I owe to them motivates and guides my planning and decision making processes.”
“It is a time to reflect on me and my strengths and weaknesses as a man and a father. I reflect on the kind of role model I am for my daughter and my son. As they get older, I can start to have more adult like conversations with them and let them know more about me and not only who they may see me as. They need to know the success stories and also the failures and struggles I've faced. This is what I reflect on during Father's Day.”
“Father’s Day ...Man that’s just another day for mothers to organise things for kids to do. I don't really study it because it’s how your child interacts with you that's important and vice versa. Gives me pleasure being a father all year round, not just one day that it's designated for recognition. Being able to raise someone and care for them...That means a lot. I think it gives you a better appreciation of what your parents have done and helps build you as a human being.”
“Being a father that is present in all his children's lives makes me feel proud that I can contribute to their upbringing and the people that they will turn out to be. I'm happy to be present and important. Even before I had my 1st child I was present in the lives of other children and it indeed is a great feeling.”
“A role model. Gives you a whole new purpose in life. Changes your mindset on a lot of things. Makes you feel stronger/proud knowing that you have a legacy. Keeps you busy and out of trouble. On a whole, being a father is one of the greatest feelings ever and it is more endorsed when your children do things to that you can show them off. Get a son and you will see what I mean. You will give him everything you never had without thinking.”
“Son, mommy, me. Following that chain of command is the epitome of what I think being a father is. It requires sacrifice of your time, finances, emotion, love and support in raising your kid correct. Playing a part in the child's life whether it is going to PTA meetings or football games make sure you are present and giving your undivided attention because your child will only be young once.”
To you fathers who shared; I thank you. For what you have shared; I salute you. Without you, there would be no us. This has definitely opened my eyes and perspective on fatherhood. I hope it has done the same for you! Let us continue to appreciate all fathers, not only on Father’s Day but every single day, in the same manner in which they perceive their roles in our lives, families and society. I welcome you to share what it means to be a father with us by commenting under this post.
Deborah Walrond is a daughter, a sister and a mother of two children. She is a teacher by profession, who has a love for baking, cooking, reading, writing, the beach and appreciates all types of exercising. Deborah loves interacting with people, with a particular passion for children. With God at the forefront of her life, anything that follows after is well done