Fathers know best, too!

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Some argue that the adage “Mothers know best” also applies to Fathers. When asked about their experiences with their fathers during their lives, some gender advocates believe this is true.

Google says: “Father’s Day was first celebrated in 1972 when US President Richard Nixon signed a declaration for it. The history of Father’s Day dates back to 1908 when Sonora Smart Dodd celebrated it to honour her father, William Smart, who brought her up single handedlyFather’s Day is celebrated to acknowledge the efforts of fathers and to thank them for their efforts.”

Father’s Day was introduced to the Philippines as a result of the influence of American holidays and celebrations, as declared by late President Corazon Aquino in 1988. According to a recent presidential proclamation, it is officially celebrated every third Sunday of June, though it is not a public holiday.

Filipinos believe that honoring thy Father is appropriate, just as we do on Mother’s Day. And as we celebrate Father’s Day today, this writer ran into fellow gender equality advocates, both men and women, who shared their perspectives.

Here’s how they view about fathers, like mothers, knowing best.

“My father knew how to deal with his children — we grew up within our means. He allowed us to choose from buying TV or stop schooling. He meant what he said. He went to the market early to catch the best yet inexpensive meat and vegetables. He cooked for us. He washed our clothes. We were trained to appreciate urban gardening earlier as we enjoyed the vegetable harvests for pinakbet regularly. He made double time to earn extra income while committed to the public school system. Our father taught us how to live in a modest fashion — with our own house where only the basics were found. The goal was for him to provide us college education, selling two of the three houses he manages to build and two residential lots — all for us to complete a degree in engineering, commerce and social work,” narrates Mae Ancheta-Templa, former undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

However, Newsline publisher Edith Z. Caduaya expressed a different viewpoint when she commented, “Wala ko ka-experience naay papa” (never experienced with a father). My father died before I was born. And I grew up calling my friends’ fathers as Tatay,” Edith said, recalling how she coped and survived without such a figure in the family.

 “Beginning this year, I will not celebrate mother’s and father’s day separately,” Malou Tiangco, a thespian in her own right and a social worker by profession, explains. “I know they weren’t the best, but they both know better, and I’ll always remember Ina-Ama Day because of the way they shared life with their children, both physically and spiritually.”

Oscar “Oca” Casaysay, Special Assistant on Special Projects at the Governor’s Office in Davao Occidental, tells how his Papang has transformed his children into goal-oriented individuals. “Like my Mamang, my Papang knew how to best serve us by providing our needs. Despite the fact that he was not as outspoken as my Mamang, he was the one who taught in us the value of hard work and discipline, not in words but in deeds.”

“That all fathers know best, too, like mothers? That’s a cliché. But my father Joe knew best for his family and country. As a father, he raised us children well. And he served the country well as a public servant,” as proudly shared by Melot Balisalisa-Atillo, a gender equality advocate and trainer who fondly recalls how her father also served as the peace-maker amongst family members.

Lyda Canson, one of Davao’s icons who pushed for the Women’s Development Code to be enacted, describes how hands-on her father was. “He washed our faces, brushed our teeth, cleaned our ears, cut our nails and brought us to school, movies, church, restaurants, beaches, and visit places together with our Nanay. He never laid his hands on us. But a little stingy. He has a complete list of money he gave us including what we owe him. He would always remind us, ‘ang utang ay dapat bayaran’ and ‘bahala nang ikaw ang masaktan huwag ka lang makasakit’ —- I guess that was the reason I married Alex without second thought. No regrets.”

We do celebrate Father’s Day with great zeal and honor, but our local culture has also taught us to honor all men, including women, who act as father figures, particularly during our growing-up years. As a matter of fact, we remember grandfathers, uncles, brothers, stepfathers, and even male friends for the acts of kindness they bequeathed upon us.

Many fathers today would undoubtedly feel honored, regardless of how little or how much they have accomplished, but especially for sharing life’s roles and responsibilities beyond any social or gender orientation.

Be informed
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