Father’s Day needs to be celebrated with as much fervour and commitment as Mother’s Day. The fact that fatherhood is not afforded that same level of honour, even on the day set aside for such a purpose, should be a source of great concern.
Tokenism and lip service are too often the approaches to celebrations of fatherhood and there is not enough recognition and appreciation of their importance in families and communities.
When fathers function fully in their roles, positive influences and strong legacies are passed along.
However, over many generations in this country, there has been a shift in the authority of the father. National dialogue and mindset are not focused on that patriarchal influence and in many households, the role of the father has increasingly been becoming minor, even negligible.
The term “child father” defines him by how well he provides for the family and does not place much importance on his influence on the development and growth of children.
It is a term that needs to be purged from the national dialect, along with all the other pejorative terms habitually slung at fathers.
Also to be eradicated is the mindset of a “parent” meaning only mother. It ignores the fact that the love—or rejection—of mothers and fathers equally affects children’s’ behaviour, self-esteem, emotional stability and mental health.
It has become almost a reflex action to heap scorn on deadbeat fathers and to lament situations of fatherlessness while ignoring the many instances where men are denied their rights as fathers and blocked from being in their children’s lives.
We have to do much better in honouring the fathers of this nation and in doing so recognise and appreciate the efforts of the many men in T&T who have been working hard to promote strong, positive male role models.
Founder of the Single Fathers Association of T&T, Rhondall Feeles turned to activism after going through the pain of a broken relationship and a custody battle following the birth of his first son.
He continues to raise awareness of the disadvantages many men suffer, particularly in a court system that too often favoured women.
His is a mission that deserves full support.
For mentoring and exposing boys and young men to positive masculinity, Officer Derrick Sharbodie, of the T&T Police Service (TTPS), founder of the St James Police Youth Club, is to be applauded.
To these men and so many others who are often unsung heroes, unrecognised and unsupported as they raise healthy sons and daughters, this nation owes a debt of gratitude.
Today all of T&T should take time to salute the many honourable men in this country who are positive influences—the patriarchs who have raised leaders in various spheres of influence, the hard-working single fathers are out there every day providing for and taking care of their children, the coaches, teachers, mentors, protectors and providers.
Where would this nation be without these men?
Fathers deserve to be loved and honoured.