Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day

The definition of who a father is has been somewhat steeped in controversy, with some people arguing that a male can only be considered a father if only he dutifully takes care of his biological children.

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While that may be true to some extent, some also posit that a male does not necessarily have to be a father to only his biological children, but may also be a father figure to people he would not necessarily have given birth to.

But who is a father? Must he only be someone who is able to take care of people, guide others, provide for others or he must just be a grown up male?

Whoever is considered to be a father, the role he plays is considered by society as very important, hence the setting aside of days from March to December each year to celebrate such people.

Father's Day is said to have been founded in Spokane, Washington, at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas, and the first celebration was held on June 19, that year.

Father's Day is a day for honouring one's father, as well as fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society on various dates across the world, and different regions maintain their own traditions of honouring fatherhood.

Ghana and a host of other countries have chosen to celebrate fathers on the third Sunday of June each year, and several activities are held to honour fathers.

Celebrating fathers each year is laudable but apart from the fun fare that marks the day, the Daily Graphic wishes to put on record that fathers, and for that matter, men, go through a lot, which society has shelved for too long.

In many cultures, including Ghana, the man is seen as the breadwinner in the family. From a young boy, the male child is taught how to be able to study hard to land a good job after school, with the ultimate aim of catering for his family when he marries.

His challenges while growing up are thus somewhat overlooked, and he is psyched up at an early age to exhibit bravado and endure pain because he is a male. “Be a man” is one of the phrases uttered to males to convey to them that they must not show it when they are in pain.

Men also have emotional needs but in our culture as well as others, the man is not expected to show emotions, especially while in the company of others. “Barima nsu” to wit, a man does not cry, is one very common Akan phrase.

Although men are leaders in the home and help take major decisions as well as see to the welfare of all in the household, who sees to his welfare?

The Daily Graphic believes it is high time society took cognisance of the fact that men also have needs, and indeed they cry.

Men cry inwardly, bottling up emotions till they can’t take it anymore. This is one of the reasons most men have taken solace in alcohol, hanging out with friends even when they should be home, or going after other women, engaging in past times that take them out of the home most of the time, just to vent  all that they are going through. 

In the home, men are mostly seen as the worse of parents because they instil discipline in the children. They are often out of the home, and are therefore unable to bond with the children while they grow up, ending in they being detached from the children when they reach adulthood.

When there is a need at home it is often the men who are looked up to, so who does the father look up to when he also has needs to be met?

Of course we are not saying all grown males – those who have offspring and those who do not, are living up to expectation. There are bad lots everywhere. Unfortunately over time all men have been put in a certain category, especially when it is time to honour fathers.

If for nothing at all, the role of men as leaders, providers of security, safety, shelter, guidance, sustenance and all others must make us all endeavour to change the narrative.

Men also have needs that must be met every time they arise. Fathers are human and go through all phases that human beings go through. Let us remember this as we honour men tomorrow. 
Happy Father’s Day to all men.

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