Just for a moment, let’s celebrate all our earthly fathers! They come in different names: Daddy, Papa, Pere, Baba and Papi. They are casually unsung and too often seen as figure-heads, rather than Household-Heads! they are born with a long line of questionable characters that shows their various unique personalities. Not one of them is alike in their approach on life. But mostly all share the same title, no matter the extent of their flaws, they are still our Fathers: Marvelous or Lousy!
Today, its very heart breaking that about 40% of people I know, either doesn’t want to discuss their father, or have anything good or memorable to say or never had a good relationship with them. The only thing that binds is the last name. Period!
For years this notion made me feel very uncomfortable singing my own father’s praises, but really, it’s actually a blessing talking about him rather than covering his attributes. He’s had his fair share of challenges with life; he’s been through that dark and confusing tunnel and back, bruised and carries his scars with pride- back home to his family! 81 years and still holding on strong!
So, let me introduce my earthly father: Pa. Arthur! as christened by his parents, religiously called “Papami by his children and fondly called “Mr. Gansy” by me – and my childhood friends (whenever I/we needed a favor from him). The connection between us is spellbound! We could sit down together for hours over newspapers and not talk – just basking in each other’s company, our silence – strange as it might be, sets a resounding trust of deep and sincere companionship. And when we do decide to talk, it is Absolute! ‘all about anything and everything! there wasn’t a secret between us. This grew into my teenage years and beyond and has positioned me for life. For whom I am today.
I grew up calling my father: “Papami” – a broken Portuguese term for Daddy! If there were any lingering beautiful memories of growing up – it was all with my father in the picture: Prize giving day at school, Long dreadful and dusty drive to boarding school, Saturday evening live jazz performance trips to Museum kitchen, Confusing and hectic soccer game between Abiola Babes & Iwuanyanwu at Onikan stadium, Slow and careful drive to Bar beach filled with amusement and giggling, Excitement over dinner at Eko Hotel and planned touring with him to his sites at Maroko (now the exotic Lekki & VGC ), The pride of attending formal evening cocktail/dinners with him and his colleagues, having being taught simple table manners etiquette on the relevance, proper usage and placement of cutleries on plates before and after eating, (to show the host/cook appreciation on how pleasant or bad the food was) His emphasis on reading and writing anything that comes to mind down in my diary, rather than join the kids in the neighborhood to play ten-ten. Hmmm!
For me this is the good part I want to carry along with me. Not the devastating episodes of how society has labeled fathers. The role a father holds is irreplaceable. I have realized that fathers can be much more than physically absent. There is a desperate ache to be loved and supported and affirmed and encouraged by our fathers–all mandates from God. And when they are not, there is a wound formed. And this hurt runs deep in the hearts of children, young and old. Talking with older men, I realized how much their fathers have shaped who they are even today. We do not forget our families or where we came from, even if we want to.
But during this celebration of father’s day, I am trusting and believing with someone that there is hope for the wounded heart. God has promised us that he is our perfect father; the one our earthly father could never be. No longer does the fatherless have to be crippled in their condition. They can change their circumstances through finding their worth in Christ, break the cycle, and be fully present fathers to their children.
May God help us all!