The Many Faces of Fatherhood: Honoring the pillars of love, strength, and guidance

The Many Faces of Fatherhood: Honoring the pillars of love, strength, and guidance

A father is a male parent or a figure who plays a paternal role in someone’s life. Seen as providers, protectors, and role models for their children; fathers are loving and nurturing, supportive and encouraging.

Every child loves a patient and understanding, reliable and responsible father. A lesson will be learnt from an honest and integrity-filled, playful and fun-loving and strong and resilient father.

Fathers come in many forms (shapes and sizes lol) which include biological, adoptive, stepfathers, foster, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, spiritual fathers, mentors or father figures. The roles of a father are cumbersome. They play a vital role in shaping their children’s lives with love, care and dedication. Being a good father is a lifelong learning journey and as such fathers everywhere must be appreciated.

Father’s Day commemorations offer a chance to honor and show appreciation for fathers and father figures. 16 June marked the celebrations and it is the writer’s hope that due respect was given to the fathers and father figures.

The Travellers Band understood the need for celebration by recognizing and honouring fathers through words of gratitude in song. The electric atmosphere saw an audience of all ages singing along and dancing to yesteryear and now generation tunes by the tight-knit ensemble. Portraying international standards, the six member band sent the audience into uncontrollable exhilaration from the saxophone. The artistic presentation of Pesto on the congas reminded the writer of the conga legend ‘Chibhodhoro’.

BaShupi, a father and one of the performing artists at the Father’s Day event said, “I believe Father’s Day is a celebration of fathers or fatherhood. By fatherhood I mean, as much as women do the raising of the children most times, the father figure is equally important. I believe it brings authority, authentication and direction to the kids.”

He added that: “A father is the head of the house. Most times we celebrate our mothers but fathers are always forgotten or given a cup. But fatherhood is the sole provider making sure you have good shelter, are healthy and sacrifices his time, space and also his own dreams to make sure the wife and kids are okay. So I personally respect the fact that fathers always carry this great responsibility as the backbone of the home.”

There are not many days in a year to celebrate fathers but Sunday 16th was commemorated globally. The holiday has its roots in the United States in the early 20th century, when Sonora Smart Dodd wanted to recognize her father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran and single parent who had raised her and her five siblings after their mother’s death. The first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane. Like any special day, it serves as a reminder to love and appreciate the fathers in our lives.

The ambience of the family friendly and musical event brought a large crowd to Milan Family Restaurant. It was heart warming and emotional for the crowd when two young children invited to the stage, recited a poem, sang a song and handed gifts to their father. The writer was taken aback to Ricardo and friends’ song ‘I love you daddy’ as the angelic voices spoke of their father being their hero.

In a bid to understand how it feels to be a father, the writer interacted with various fathers around the world and below are some of their input.

“Fatherhood is synonymous with provision. As a father I find joy in giving to my children. That’s because a chief role of fatherhood is to provide. This is an important role because as a father no one is best suited to provide for the family. A father always has the best intentions, so if you let others provide for your family they become open to those providers’ ulterior motives. A father is a correcter or disciplines in fostering and teaching life lessons. He loves, is a protector, advisor, leader and a friend,” said Oliver Mandikiyana, a dad of two daughters.

“A father should be the provider, the protector and the priest. He should give security and guidance. He should constantly demonstrate what his creation role is so that his children grow imitating him and then do better. My boys know what it means to love and respect a woman, as they see me loving and respecting their mother. I pray they can reproduce this godly love, even in a greater way when they get married. My daughter will never settle for less, she receives prime love and guidance, so when she will come of age, she will make a sound judgment in the man she decides to spend the rest of her life with and call husband,” said Elimbi Moukoutah, a Nigerian born worshipper based in the UK, emphasizing the other responsibilities of a father.

Website-Banner-4-3-1024x448 The Many Faces of Fatherhood: Honoring the pillars of love, strength, and guidance

While Father’s Day is a day of remembrance to celebrate the efforts made by fathers in the lives of their children, it is important to then appreciate them more often and not wait for Father’s Day or his birthday.

“Acts of gratitude are always great…what I’ve learnt from being a leader is that a pat on the back always spurs the recipient onwards. My 10 year old son Levi totally floors me whenever he says ‘Thanks dad for the food’. It melts me in a million ways and pushes me to want to do so much more than the basic,” said Dr Comfort Manyame.

For those who believe that an orange tree doesn’t have to be thanked for producing oranges therefore this is what Dr Manyame also said:

“I think it’s too broad an approach in general and can be misleading. Acts of gratitude (regardless) are always great. The alternative is the orange tree may be barren or not bearing fruit then one get to really appreciate the one that does that which may be considered natural and obligatory. Another point – Context is important. If you are in the position of the orange tree PRODUCE without being pushed, that’s your duty and that’s your nature. If you are the owner of the tree, APPRECIATE the blessing that the orange tree produces even though it’s supposed to be in its nature to produce!

“One last point…. This question is almost the same as asking whether after you do something charitable or any service you should expect to be ‘thanked’. Whilst it’s not why you’ve done the good deed, a ‘Thank you’ is always appreciated. Kusatenda huroyi so for the one aitirwa even though he was expecting it should just be able to show gratitude,”added Dr Manyame.

As the writer I believe here many lessons have been learnt.

May we not take for granted the fathers in our lives. They have a list of roles and responsibilities as long as the writer’s arm. When we walk in their shoes we will understand why they sometimes limp. Some are nursing corns on the soles of their feet. Appreciating means love.

I send out my Father’s Day wishes to all the fathers all over the world. To some of us who were not privileged to know them, or those whose memory we hold dear, we remember and cherish the way they touched our lives.

Lingiwe Gumbo

Lingiwe Patience Gumbo aka Miss PatienceZw is an Administrative Secretary by profession and a creative artist: singer-songwriter, poet, writer and voice over artist. She is the Arts & Entertainment Columnist for My Afrika Magazine.

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