Fatherhood: Their Unspoken Presence

by Helmy Sa'at

Fathers are largely deemed as the anchor of the family. Typically, society at large compounded by images perpetuated in the mainstream media have painted fatherhood as a tough role and position to occupy.

In modern and contemporary societies the world over, they are expected to work and provide for the family. A source of utter strength in its many conventional masculine meanings. Such a tremendous amount of expectations and duty being loaded onto the shoulders of men once they entered fatherhood.

And, it does not help either that induction into this hall-of-fatherhood is usually missing all the fame and glory; in addition, to a unique guidebook that guarantees immediate success. Piling on this are the stereotypical attachments ingrained in the minds of all parties involved.

Could we then really blame them for appearing distant, whether by choice or otherwise, for trying to figure out fatherhood on their own terms?

Who Is Your Daddy?

Fathers are like any other human beings. They are not superheroes donning the cape as they go to work each day.

Essentially, fathers are imperfect beings with feelings, faults and flaws. They are also made up of unique and interesting qualities and characteristics.

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Get to know them.

From hobbies to favourite colour or cafe and food related dislikes. Just because they have been and will continue to dedicate their lives to being the best father possible to their offsprings that does not equate to erasure of personalities, ambitions, hopes and dreams as a person.

At times, fathers need emotional support too.

Counting Chromosomes

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It is easy to be consumed by seeming perfection being portrayed by others amplified on social media platforms. The key is to understanding that there is no merit in comparing unique sets of experiences informed by differing cultures, traditions, societal conventions, degree of religious piety, upbringing, family values and relationships.

As challenging and nuanced fatherhood is, the basic building block remains a constant – personal bonding. Family is more than just sharing of chromosomes.

Strip away the layers of facade typically unceremoniously built on cards of delusions and deceit on social media. Fatherhood is just another piece in the jigsaw of family life. It takes everyone’s willingness to support and understand each other in aspiring to be a happy family. An almost elusive, yet definitely attainable, goal when paired with effort.

Fatherhood: Not Forgetting Forgiveness

A reflection on fatherhood would uncover another vital key in ensuring a win-win situation for the family.

Forgiveness towards fathers. Not because we owe them for providing a roof over our heads, food on the table or our very own existence to begin with that almost always comes with unconditional love that is unearned.

Instead, it is because our love for our fathers would always show that their faults are just as ordinary as any other living and breathing individual we know. Fathers are allowed to be emotional, vulnerable and make mistakes. More importantly, to be given the opportunity to redeem themselves where they have fallen; not allowing failures to define their identity in entirety.

حَدَّثَنَا حَجَّاجٌ، قَالَ‏: ‏ حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادٌ هُوَ ابْنُ سَلَمَةَ، عَنْ سُلَيْمَانَ التَّيْمِيِّ، عَنْ سَعِيدٍ الْقَيْسِيِّ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ‏: ‏ مَا مِنْ مُسْلِمٍ لَهُ وَالِدَانِ مُسْلِمَانِ يُصْبِحُ إِلَيْهِمَا مُحْتَسِبًا، إِلاَّ فَتْحَ لَهُ اللَّهُ بَابَيْنِ يَعْنِي‏: ‏ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ وَإِنْ كَانَ وَاحِدًا فَوَاحِدٌ، وَإِنْ أَغْضَبَ أَحَدَهُمَا لَمْ يَرْضَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ حَتَّى يَرْضَى عَنْهُ، قِيلَ‏: ‏ وَإِنْ ظَلَمَاهُ‏؟‏ قَالَ‏: ‏ وَإِنْ ظَلَمَاهُ‏.‏

Ibn ‘Abbas said, “If any Muslim obeys Allah regarding his parents, Allah will open two gates of the Garden for him. If there is only one parent, then one gate will be opened. If one of them is angry, then Allah will not be pleased with him until that parent is pleased with him.” He was asked, “Even if they wrong him?” “Even if they wrong him” he replied.

[Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 7]

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Therefore, any parent’s day should be appreciated and celebrated every single day, in big and small ways. Beyond our childhood years, our parents – their unspoken presence – still pervades every facet of our lives whether we realise it or not. Our fathers deserve expressions of love beyond the routine ‘thank yous’ and occasional ‘I love you, father.’

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