Yesterday, Ghana joined many people in other parts of the world to celebrate fathers.
The narrative is that the very first national celebration of Father’s Day took place in the United States of America on June 19, by a proclamation by President Calvin Coolidge.
Since then, the third Sunday of June has been dedicated to honouring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in society.
Until recently, Father’s Day had been celebrated in Ghana with little fanfare, mainly due to issues of neglect and lack of maintenance on the part of fathers.
Although a patriarchal society, the issue of men shirking their responsibilities, leading many women to become single mothers, is far too common. Sadly, some men never move past the biological definition.
For many, it is one thing producing a baby and quite another becoming a father. Most men, after impregnating a woman, simply walk away, without looking back.
But that is not always the case. Some men with children become real fathers, with a devotion that comes almost naturally.
These are the fathers who understand that the real work begins when the child is born.
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They move into the parenting mode where they provide, protect, guide, discipline and, most of all, nurture the child to become a good person.
They are the fathers who know that no matter what else they may achieve in life, the educational, health, physical and psychological well-being of their children are paramount.
We at the Daily Graphic doff our hats to the great fathers who consciously commit themselves to become better fathers than their dads were to them, even in cases where their dads were fabulous fathers.
However, we also note that fathering goes beyond providing for, protecting, guiding and disciplining children. Fabulous fathers go a step further — they get involved in daily care work.
Research shows that men themselves benefit from greater engagement in caregiving, including improved physical, mental and sexual health and reduced risk-taking.
According to the 2019 State of the World’s Fathers report produced by Promundo, a US-based global leader in engaging men and boys in promoting gender equality and preventing violence, fathers who are involved in the home and with their children say it is one of their most important sources of well-being and happiness.
Having fathers who get involved is good for women’s health. It leads to better relationships and can be linked to a reduction in the rate of men’s violence against women.
It is good for children, too. There is ample evidence from all over the world that engaged fatherhood has a positive impact on boys and girls — and the relationships they will have as adults.
Girls are more empowered and boys are more likely to believe in gender equality and share the unpaid work if they saw their fathers do the same.
This Father’s Day, therefore, the Daily Graphic joins many people across the world to celebrate the real fathers, the ones who know they make an indelible impact in the lives of their children and their families, the ones who cherish the special role that they play and recognise the deep responsibility they have.
We also call on those who have shirked those fathering responsibilities, for whatever reasons, to reconsider their stance, as their actions and inaction will cost them the respect or the love of their children.
We further applaud those who have had an impact on others, even though they are not biological fathers but have become father figures in the lives of children.
Ayekoo, fathers, and Happy Father’s Day to all the great fathers in Ghana and beyond.