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Love your old man when you can

22 Jun 2020 / 20:18 H.

THE change has been slow but surely it is happening. The evolution of time has changed the way a family is run. The traditional roles of mothers and fathers have changed, swapped, beautifully overlapped and synergised to make a family delightful both from within and outside.

The movement control order (MCO) was insightful on many fronts. On this occasion of Father’s Day while we are living the new normal, albeit with some confusion, it is remarkable to see how families have adopted to consciously go easy with formalities and rituals in relation to how mothers and fathers ran their homes during the “crisis”.

To the astute mind, the reflection and reminiscence on how much of this change in roles needs to be retained and how it enhances family relationships needs to be reviewed and reassessed. I was on a webinar recently and the discussion was geared towards how women were strained, stressed and stretched during the MCO having to feed the whole family with home-cooked meals three times a day.

Most women around the world saw women being worse off compared to their male counterparts. There are other arguments supporting this finding, but it will be out of context to deliberate on them here.

It may be true to some extent, but should we also not pay reverence to the fathers who had to go searching for the food and cooking items, with a list on one hand while picking up items from shelves, garbed like an alien while shaming the invisible enemy.

It was hilarious all right when on countless occasions I witnessed men shopping for groceries with the phone tucked precariously between the ear and chin taking instructions and clarifications on “specifications” for grocery items while one hand rummaged through the shelves. The men did their best and so did the women.

Dad – when you say his name aloud, you realise how much he means to you.

In a beautiful way, his love comes in many shades, mostly disguised. This is the man who teaches you how to lead, respect others and always stand up for yourself. In the same day or even the same hour, he morphs into your action-packed friend or the villain who is the first to reprimand when you are on the wrong path.

Fathers have a unique bond with their daughters and it’s different from the bond they share with their sons. While the mother-son bond is much acknowledged, researched, and openly talked about, the relationship of a father with his daughter has not been given as much focus. Many think that a father’s role is crucial in moulding a young boy into an adult, yet many fail to fully understand the influence fathers have on their daughters.

Psychologists have been emphasising the mother-child bond as the primary influence behind the child’s character until recently. Studies have been conducted showing that the father has a greater influence on his children than a mother when it comes to shaping behaviour.

My father and I shared a unique bond which is irreplaceable and as he passed on, his memories remained with me, surfacing in brief spurts at moments when I know he would have made a difference had he been alive.

In his octogenarian years, I could never understand his craving for ice cream, which he would relish every bit like a child. Sometimes he would be bent over, with his spine completely distorted, his fingers working deftly on something that might not have been of any importance. His do-it-yourself skills always made him a good hand to have when things went wrong with pipes and leaks.

Like most of us, I can’t escape the regret that I might not have spent enough time with him when he was around. My time was stolen away by the conniving thieves ranging from work to family and a host of other indulgences which I could have reduced.

In life we all have options, I am fully aware now, and it is never too late, to start appreciating the things we are used to taking for granted. If your father is around, make the best of moments with him.

Happy Father’s Day.

Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

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