In honor of all fathers in the world

In honor of all fathers in the world

The genesis has elaborately provided us with the accurate knowledge about Creation and Adam, being the first ever human being justifiably symbolizes the supremacy of man over the rest. Man’s role since had been associated with fatherhood…as somebody who sires, rears, and provides for his offspring.

A father, aside from being known as the male parent of a child, has a parental legal and social relationship with his progeny that carries certain rights and obligations. He could also be an adoptive father through the legal process of adoption; a biological father if he’s the direct genetic contributor in the creation of the child either through sexual intercourse or sperm donation; a putative father if his biological relationship to a child is alleged but hasn’t been established; a step father when he marries somebody with a child; a posthumous dad when he died even before the child was born; a foster father when he raises a non-biological child as his own; or an inventory father if he has registered and patented an original innovation.

And to fervently show and express our appreciation for all the wonderful things fathers have done for us, observing Father’s Day is one significantly heartwarming way to celebrate their greatness.

Although history has unearthed a stunning fact that could sufficiently attest to the early practice of Father’s Day when a Babylonian youth named Elmesu carved the first known Father’s Day card (wishing his father good health and long life) in clay nearly 4,000 years ago, still, the world continuously recognizes the modern-day origin of Father’s Day.

Complementing one of the world’s biggest celebrated occasions – Mother’s Day, Father’s Day honors its great male counterpart every third Sunday of June, although other countries celebrate it on other days. Currently Father’s Day is the 4th largest card-selling occasion in the US alone…coming close to Christmas, Valentine’s and Mother’s Day.

Arkansas-born Sonora Smart Dodd is duly credited for inventing Father’s Day for a very personal reason. Her own father, William Jackson Smart, a civil war veteran, has amazingly accomplished a great job by rearing his six children as a single parent in Spokane, Washington. She recommended the reading of her poem in a mass to honor his father’s birthday on June 19, 1910 although his actual birthday was June 5.

Because of the occasion’s social relevance, a bill to set a national recognition of the holiday was introduced in congress in 1913 but failed to attract the necessary number of votes to pass it. Two earlier attempts to formally recognize the special day also failed. In 1957, Maine senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing congress of ignoring the bill that could have honored the other half of our parents.

Fifty six years after the initial awareness of Father’s Day in 1910, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first Presidential Proclamation designating the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. In 1972, the celebration became a permanent national holiday when President Johnson finally signed it into law, like Mother’s Day which was signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914 for national observance. Summing it up, Father’s day is actually 58 years younger than Mother’s Day.

Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd, in addition, encouraged the wearing of roses on this special occasion: a red rose for living dads and white for those who had died.

A personal account of my own father is something inflexible to decipher since I felt a seemingly imperceptible wall that detached me from him…maybe due to his being the archetype of a supreme martinet and formidable disciplinarian. Cecilio Salvador Yalong, a native of Pulong Gubat, Bigaa, Bulacan (now Balagtas town), was strappingly well-built and brawny, and his military background was relentlessly extended until his maturing years…setting house rules to be imperatively followed and observed sans question or hesitation.

We became acclimatized to the imposing implication of his sharp looks, brusque whistle, and incontrovertible lip motions or else a waft of stick or raging whip of a belt would instantly make us grasp the degree of our blunder and bungle. His presence was physically powerful enough to make us cower in fear.

But behind his authoritative nature was the image of a munificent provider, a skilled handy man, a dauntless hunter, a green thumb gardener, a simple man with simple tastes and preferences, and a frustrated singer. When he was good, he was the best…but when he got mad, he could be the most horrible.

Being the first born among his nine children, I was literally delegated to take over in his absence since he became a bus driver plying between Manila and Rizal province completing 6 to 7 round trips daily. I could still vividly bring to mind how I closely supervised my siblings on their assigned task for fear of getting scolded if they failed while simultaneously assisting my mother in her everyday chores.

After being away for days, my father would come home on weekends and that would jolt me…not because I was scared of being ticked off or yelled at for any gaffe but because he would require me to pull out his white hair after shower. I could hear my playmates’ screams and laughter while I was pinned down with tweezers trying to collect as much white hair for him to check upon waking up.

A clever idea flickered on my mind upon sight of our black and white cat, Mousy. Being naturally clingy it was easy for me to gather a few strands from its white spots…and voila! I was able to escape from my sleeping father and joined my siblings and playmates outside.

The height of my delight was spoiled by my father’s alarming whistle. Only a few giant leaps instantaneously brought me in front of him. I already knew my clever idea wasn’t smart afterall. And yes, I got reprimanded after he showed me Mousy’s bald spot.

My father wasn’t picky with food but peanuts, roasted or plainly boiled, made him really full. He would mix his rice with peanuts and bagoong (sautéed shrimp paste), and he felt like feasting over a five-star meal.

Having a good natural voice was something my father was deprived of. During my youth, I remember how his voice permeated in the stillness of the night during a harana (serenade). The funny part was, every time he would be requested to sing, he would readily oblige but the song was the same…”Pipit Puso” (a native lovebird) which he would effortlessly deliver in a nasalized tone.

I knew he was very proud of me although he never verbalized it. He would brag among his friends about my achievements and how far I’ve journeyed. But there were instances when I could feel he’s jealous of my mom since I was extremely close to the latter. And when my mom died there was a huge change in him. He became a loner and all his strong traits gradually putrefied and his silence was loud enough to be heard and understood… until he finally closed his eyes while I was away.

It was only when he left us when I came to realize that we, me and my siblings, are absolutely orphans… with nobody to call “Inang” or “Amang…”  nobody to celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day with… no parents to run to in times of grief or when lost…no words of wisdom to enlighten our path. It was too late to appreciate that my father’s presence was more than a manifestation of my mother’s absence. … that his sternness and being a disciplinarian were the compelling forces that molded me to what and who I am.

I say, shower your father with the same degree of affection as your mother. Make him feel all the love that you can give while he could still appreciate everything rather than making up and forever be sorry for what you failed to do after the world’s greatest man in your life has finally been gone. Take it from me… I still could feel its lingering guilt!

Father’s Day could be a very opportune time to reconnect, establish a stronger relationship, or express dormant emotions to the man you always consider the paragon of heroism, the chief shepherd of the flock, the master of the house, the patriarch of the family, and the guy you constantly look up to… your father. Father’s Day or not, our fathers rightfully deserve the unconditional love, consistent understanding, unfailing support, and unending gratitude expected of us.

The bible strongly attests to the definite roles of a father: “A father encourages and comforts his children, urging them to live lives worthy of God (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12). He is in charge with the instructions (Proverbs 1:8-9) and discipline (Hebrews 12:10) of his offspring. He is expected to provide “good gifts” for his children (Matthew 7:9-11). And most of all, he is to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4)”.

For comments and suggestions, please email: gemini0646@yahoo.com. 

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