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More than a biological title

With Father’s Day approaching, attention will once again focus on the important role of fathers in helping to provide guidelines for sons or daughters in coping with the challenges of life.

While mothers have always been regarded as key in providing guidance within the family, especially in the area of teaching good values such as honesty, respect and obeying golden rules, fathers have an equal responsibility that rises above simply having the title.

No matter how many times it has been stated, it is never said enough, no special qualification is required to become a father, but much is required to actually be one. Perhaps this is why Mother’s Day without question is celebrated on a larger scale. Our history involved extremely challenging times as a result of an early social system that was unjust for certain sections of our communities, based on race.

Obviously, this placed an enormous strain on family life because many fathers in the black community back then were more concerned about keeping food on the table for their families, and a roof over their heads.

This was a challenge even with white families, especially during the war years when there were shortages of so many things we take for granted today. It took many years of strife and determination by people on both sides to move Bermuda away from that dark chapter of our social history. But that’s another story.

What is important today is the same thing that was important many decades ago: the role of the father, no matter the challenges or circumstances, is crucial in helping to keep essential family values alive.

We all know life is not perfect and that in many cases some men have opted sadly to abandon that role, leaving the mother to take on the mammoth task of trying to be both parents.

When that happens and children are involved, it is critical that they are given assurances that they are loved and must never lose hope for a brighter tomorrow.

There have been times when for whatever reason, it is the father who is left to play a dual role in raising children. Undoubtedly, there have been many fathers who will never have their names in lights or be the recipient of a special award.

For devoted fathers, the only reward they would want is the success of their children.

These days, with so many distractions, parents’ heads are spinning over trying to find ways to keep young minds on a positive path towards understanding why it is important to practise being honest, respectful and truthful. That is a task made even more difficult because we are living in an era where conversation is slowly becoming a lost art.

Electronic gadgets to some degree have resulted in a generation where not to be holding a communication device is similar to having a missing body part.

There will be no turning back to the days of no radio or television, mobile phones or internet. However, the learning skills from quietly reading a good book should never become lost in a maze of 24/7 texting or tweeting with devices that have created strangers even within families.

Fatherhood should never be a biological celebration. The role of a father is never just supplying material items and buying a few presents. This Father’s Day should be a time to focus on values that cannot be purchased in a store. No father is perfect, and that is not expected, but providing love and good guidance will have its own rewards.

Happy Father’s Day.