Tue | Aug 22, 2017

As a man: For the forgotten fathers

Published:Sunday | June 12, 2016 | 6:00 AMMelville Cooke

This time next week, it will be Father's Day, and (unfortunately), as usual it will not be celebrated with anywhere near the intensity of Mother's Day.

I could go as far as saying it will not really be celebrated at all, but observed in various spaces where the need is felt to honour those men who have fathered and actually been fathers.

And no, this is not another spiel about how fathers are sidelined and much maligned in Jamaica - a country where mothers are revered. Oftentimes, even when they were not the greatest persons in the world (to put it mildly). To have carried a child for nine months is enough - after all, for men it only takes a second (or less) to contribute to the process.

This is the other side of the relationship, the effect, not the cause, and to prepare the men who have tried to be the best fathers they could, who will not even get acknowledged next Sunday. Perhaps - most likely - you are not looking for anything big, not even breakfast in bed, a foot rub or a little greeting card, but just a word to say, 'respect Daddy'.

 

WAIT FOR IT

 

So if there is no great rush to wish you Happy Father's Day as the rooster draws breath, do not get grumpy and begin to show everybody 'bad face' or go out and wash the car for three hours straight. Hang on and wait for it to come.

If midday passes and there is no acknowledgement, you have reason to be concerned. But, at the same time, it may be a dinner affair. However, if dusk draweth nigh and your kudos have not been delivered, it is high time to feel forlorn. Still, do not rail against the injustices of life. A special bedtime gift may be in store.

Now, if the next day dawns and all go about their Monday business with no special hail, then all is just about lost. Again, though, do not be hasty to wrath, but reflect on this column.

Unfortunately, being a decent father, or at least a 'trying' one (and I use this in the sense of attempting, not causing irritation), is not a guarantee of acknowledgement, much less appreciation. It may even become an avenue through which you are manipulated by other persons connected with the child who do not have your best interests at heart. However, being a good parent, of which being a good father is a subset, is not the instant wealth of winning the lottery.

No, it is a careful investment in increments over time, which eventually comes up to something so awe-inspiring and monumental that you cannot believe you were a part of it, much less had a major role. Your presence and efforts not being acknowledged outright on a designated day may mean that your being a good father may be that greatest of things - simply normal.

That is a very different thing than being taken for granted. Think bout it.

melville.cooke@gleanerjm.com