OPINION: Being a father figure
12 September, 2020, 8:00 pm
Bula readers, I hope you had a great Fathers Day, and if you are lucky enough to be a father or father figure to somebody it is indeed a privilege for you.
As we all know it is easy to be a father, but the hard work begins once we assume the role of being the father figure. This is a time when patience, love, gratitude, selflessness, compassion and forgiveness all come into play.
It may seem a lot to do and in some cases be overwhelming, but rest assured the positives far outweigh the negatives in this bond. Growing up I always remember wishing to have two children, but I have been blessed to have three children and with this comes responsibilities.
I am in no way a perfect father, and I really don’t think there is such a thing, but having the foundations of love, respect and non violence towards your children is a must in order to give them the right start in life.
I call myself a progressive father, as I make mistakes, but also try and learn everyday to improve my skills in parenting and the journey itself is one of enrichment and fulfillment.
This brings me to today’s story of an incident that actually changed my complete outlook on parenting and it happened when I was a young boy of 11 years of age.
My neighbour and I who was the same age as me were at his house one day and found a switchblade knife and while playing with it we accidentally cut and made a hole in his sofa. This ultimately led to both us of being in trouble with our respective parents.
I was sat down by my parents, reprimanded and told about the serious dangers of knives and also about respecting people’s property, I appreciated this stern warning very much and certainly learnt my lesson.
On the other hand my neighbour was physically assaulted by his father and had a black eye a bloodied nose and lip after being punched numerous times in the face and body and then locked in the outside toilet overnight.
His mother was in tears over the incident and may also have been assaulted for trying to defend her beloved son.
My neighbour ultimately grew to hate his father and eventually moved with his mother to Canada where they started a new life. His father on the other hand became very bitter and turned into an alcoholic.
The father continued this downward spiral by loosing all his dignity and self respect, finally he died, depressed, lonely and disheveled.
My own relationship with my parents on the other hand has flourished and today I speak with them everyday, this is not through some special secret formula, but more so through simple steps of respect, love and non violence.
I sometimes think my neighbour and his father could have quite easily had a wonderful relationship together, but by the poor and also illegal choices the father made in striking the son on multiple occasions, this ultimately led to the son’s dislike, then disrespect and ultimately hatred towards the father.
This life lesson made me understand that by making poor choices, this can lead to sorrow and misery in life just like my neighbour’s father.
Yes, we all make mistakes in life and no one is perfect, but the majority of us must at least try and learn from these mistakes. So there is hope for all of us to make the effort to change if our actions and deeds are not helping us lead a better life for our loved ones.
There will be days when we loose our temper or fall short in some way, but that can never be an excuse for any sort of physical or mental abuse to our loved ones.
Finally, I fully understand the hard times that so many of you are going through at present, and this would weigh very heavily not just on your shoulders but also on the shoulders of your whole family.
I realise that there is very limited guidance and also very little assistance for those of you affected by the dreaded COVID-19 situation, but during these difficult times please try to muster the courage to be positive and appreciate the families and friends you have around you.
Finally, happy belated Father’s Day to all the progressive fathers and father figures out there, be safe and be caring during these difficult times and continue to strive to be the best person you can be. God Bless and stay positive.
n Ajay Bhai Amrit is a freelance writer. The views expressed in this article are his and does not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper.