A father’s love | Sunday Observer

A father’s love

Father's Day is honouring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. In Catholic Europe, it has been celebrated on March 19, Saint Joseph's Day since the Middle Ages. This celebration was brought by the Spanish and Portuguese to Latin America. Though many countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas have adopted the U.S. date, which is the third Sunday of June. It complements similar celebrations honouring family members, such as Mother's Day, Siblings Day and Grandparents’ Day.

Fathers are the heroes in any child’s life. They are superman, ironman and spiderman. So, celebrating this day is quite a big deal now that it is so commercialised. Your dad is as important as mom, so yes, a special day is there for him too. Spending time with your father is sometimes a bit difficult as he is very busy. As the bread winner of the family, most of the time he is not around to go to your swimming meets and cricket tournaments, but he is always there.

Father’s day was an original idea by Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington. Mrs. Dodd reportedly had the idea for a day to celebrate fatherhood while hearing a sermon on Mother’s Day in 1909. Her father, a War veteran, raised her and her five siblings alone after her mother died in childbirth. She believed he too deserved a moment of reverence and celebration, so she pushed to have a day to honour fathers. Mrs. Dodd drummed up support among local religious leaders, who subsequently celebrated the first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910 in Washington.

In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a proclamation that declared the third Sunday of June as a day to celebrate fatherhood. Lets celebrate those who embrace the title of father. The day also serves as a jolting reminder of the damaging impact that occurs when our fathers are absent.

If your father has passed away, this Sunday in June can be a tough 24 hours. You have this love to give to your dear old dad, but he is no longer with you physically. The commercialised aspect of the day illuminates the absence of him, and you can feel the pains all over again. For those of you experiencing your first Father's Day without dad, this can be especially raw. The year of 'firsts' after you lose someone special is something that you have to walk through. And it is not easy.

For those who, like me, have been without dad for some time, it can still be a day of melancholy, a time where you can't help but think, “What if he was here?” You notice the families out for Father's Day brunch, you see the greeting cards that say just the right words, but dad is not here to be showered with your love and affection.

Tell a good story: Each time I write, or try to tell my own story to another, I think about him. I think about the example he set for me for living a grateful life. My father showed me how to see the world with optimistic eyes, in less than perfect circumstances. One of my gifts back to him is to continue to see a world of possibility, magic, kindness and love and tell stories about this beautiful life.

Be kind: My dad was a doer and a helper. He showed me that the return on an investment of kindness is tenfold. My gift to him is to be generous of heart, and to be kind to those I meet on my journey. And, just as he did, I will do so without expectation or conditions.

Be resilient: My father did not have an easy life. He had struggles and hardships like most. An accident left my father blind in one eye. He had heart troubles and like many other fathers, quietly shouldered the burdens of raising four children. It couldn't have been easy. But with each challenge that confronted him, he rose to the occasion and focused on the solution, all the while sheltering his children. He showed me how to rise.

Love without condition: I remember coming home with a bad report card. Sitting on my bed, I listened for the sound of my father's footsteps walking through the door. Upon hearing the news, he sat on the bed with me, and told me he loved me, and everything was going to be just fine. He could have said so much more. But he just loved me, when I needed it the most.

My Dad may not be able to open up a card or present from me. But I believe, that today and every day, I celebrate him by using the gifts he gave to me during our time together. I can feel him smiling.

In essence, Father’s Day has come to hold different meanings for us all. That jarring moment demonstrated the frailty of this life, and how little control we have over it. I was crushed, but not without hope.

I took solace in the fact that God, our Father in Heaven, is breath-taking and breath-giving. It is the Creator, the Giver of Life, who determines the beginning of living, and we have to trust His timing. How about you? How can you celebrate your father today and every day?

- MH

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