With Father’s Day around the corner and Fathers really leading the race (in my eyes anyway) as great parents I feel this year more than any other is a year to truly celebrate the meaning behind what a great father means to me and my whole family.
According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, a highly involved father has a great positive impact on a child’s life. With research proving that stronger bonds and more father-child contact within the first 10 years of a child’s life will lead to fewer behavioural problems and higher success in children’s later life.
Growing up with a much older father, he was 49 when I was born, I was exposed to a not-so-average upbringing. The man sheltered us and used every opportunity to ensure my sister and I grew into enlightened young women who would one day conquer the world. I remember every conversation being a lesson in why we need to be strong and confident, independent and honest and most importantly, hardworking!
We spent a lot of our childhood working in our family business and I resented my father for a long time, but being an adult myself I am grateful for the lessons I learned because of it. He would always encourage us to be the better version of ourselves and being the African dad he was, sometimes came across too harsh, saying, “Every word that exits your mouth is valuable, so always speak sense!” or “Don’t start a conversation about the weather, only ignorant people do that!” Or even better “Consideration is the key to every good relationship!”
On the contrary, my dad had no close friends, he hated human beings and spent most of his life with us, ostracised from the world, dedicating every moment to his family. I later learned that he lost all his friends when his marriage of 25 years failed. He promised not to make the same mistakes again and gave his all to bring us up militantly. We too had not many friendships which lasted because he wanted to protect us from the cruel betrayal and rejection that came with it. This would change my way of thinking for life. I never had long-term friendships and calculated all relationships I had in the future making sure that they could even remotely match up to the patriarch that was my dad.
At 19 and 22, my sister and I were given a ‘Golden Ticket’ to England. My dad, living vicariously through us, jumped at the opportunity when I came up with the idea to come to England on a working holiday. His last words to us at the airport were, “Avoid debt and have fun! Remember you are not only a woman but a woman of colour, go out and make your mark!” This we did! Many years later my sister and I have now settled into our lives in the UK and married great men who are also great fathers to our respective children.
At first, I thought my husband was the exact opposite of my dad. As my marriage progresses I see so many traits of my dad in him. Doting and caring, relentlessly exploring every opportunity to make his purpose all about us. I watch him parent our daughters with a fine-tuned algorithm I could never master. I very nearly became jealous of the better parent he was and for the longest time couldn’t understand why he was dedicated to being this incredible dad. That jealousy pushed me away and I look back in shame as did my mother who felt the same way, she tells me. I now understand my husband had a turbulent childhood and vowed to protect his daughters from that!
I call him Lovey because he truly is loving. As I watch him be the first to wake up when the girls need the toilet at night, something I hate doing because I love my sleep or when he gives them ‘the look’ without uttering a word, stopping them in their tracks of any unwanted behaviour or when he lovingly asks them each morning what hairstyle they want for the day and reminding them how beautiful they are. My Lovey is a version of my dad, a sexier, cooler one of course!
This Father’s Day means that we do not only have to celebrate the men in our lives but all the Kings who are kinder, gentler human beings who understand the true essence behind building the foundations of a Kingdom. Without being sickeningly cliché, Father’s should be celebrated every day. Father’s naturally bridge the gap essential in binding families and creating the unity so important in the formation of well-rounded children.
To all the Dads out there, you are appreciated and on this Father’s Day, I personally pay homage to the incredible men in our lives. I think we can all agree that men have stepped up over the years and we give thanks to all they are and for everything they do to guide and be the anchors us women need to keep our ships of life afloat.
On a side note, here are 5 facts about Father’s Day
1) Father’s Day was invented by American Mrs Sonora Smart Dodd who wanted to honour her father, a veteran who had, as a single parent, raised his six children. The first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910.
2) Unlike Mother’s Day, Father’s Day was originally met with laughter. It was the target of much satire, parody and derision with a local newspaper complaining that it would lead to mindless promotions such as ‘National Clean Your Desk Day’.
3) The first American president to support the concept of Father’s Day was President Calvin Coolidge, who did so in 1924…but it wasn’t until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation that resulted in the declaration of the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day.
4) According to greetings card makers Hallmark, Father’s Day is the fifth-largest card-sending holiday.
5) In Germany, Father’s Day is celebrated differently from other parts of the world. Männertag (Men’s day) is celebrated by getting drunk with wagons of beer and indulging in regional food. Police and emergency services are in high alert during the day (STANDARD lol).
A 30-something with a passion for life and most of all for her family. She spends her days not only working alongside her husband as a childminder but focussing on raising two beautiful daughters. Sabena is a former fashion student and keeps her creative juices flowing by blogging. Her world currently revolves around her children, however, she has a keen interest in gardening and her unexpected love of writing.