Invaluable contributions of fathers

In the narrative of family dynamics, the spotlight is often shone brightly on the maternal figure. Mothers are rightfully acknowledged for their nurturing, care, and emotional support within the family unit. However, it’s equally important to recognize and celebrate the indispensable role that fathers play in shaping the lives of their children and the overall wellbeing of the family.
This weekend, Guyanese will join with the rest of the world in celebrating Father’s Day. The concept of Father’s Day can be traced back to the early 20th century in the United States. The credit for initiating the idea of a day to honour fathers is often given to Sonora Smart Dodd, a resident of Spokane, Washington. Inspired by the newly established Mother’s Day, Sonora sought to create a similar holiday to recognise the important role fathers play in the lives of their children.
The story goes that Sonora’s own father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran and single parent, raised Sonora and her five siblings after the death of their mother. Sonora wanted to express gratitude for her father’s selfless devotion and love, and thus she campaigned for the establishment of Father’s Day.
In 1910, Sonora approached the Spokane Ministerial Alliance and suggested June 5th, her father’s birthday, as the day to celebrate Father’s Day. However, due to logistical reasons, the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June. On June 19, 1910, the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane with church services dedicated to fathers and the distribution of roses to honour them.
A father’s presence offers a strong foundation for children, instilling confidence and resilience as they navigate the world. Whether it’s through their physical presence, unwavering support, or steadfast guidance, fathers serve as pillars of strength in the family unit. They offer a different perspective and approach to parenting, complementing the nurturing qualities of mothers with their own set of strengths. Fathers often encourage risk-taking and independence, fostering growth and self-discovery in their children. Their involvement in their children’s lives promotes a sense of belonging and fosters healthy attachment bonds.
Studies have shown that children who have positive relationships with their fathers tend to exhibit higher levels of self-esteem, better cognitive development, and greater success in forming healthy relationships later in life. Fathers’ engagement in activities such as reading, playing, and spending quality time with their children contributes significantly to their overall development.
Over the years, Father’s Day has evolved beyond its traditional observance to now become an opportunity to recognize all father figures, including stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles, and mentors, who play a significant role in nurturing and guiding the younger generation. It’s a day to celebrate the diverse expressions of paternal love and the unique relationships between fathers and their children.
It’s important to acknowledge that the concept of fatherhood is evolving, encompassing a diverse range of experiences and family structures. Whether biological, adoptive, step, or chosen, fathers come in various forms, each bringing their own unique perspectives and contributions to the family unit. Additionally, the role of fathers transcends traditional gender norms, as more fathers take on caregiving responsibilities and actively participate in the upbringing of their children.
As Guyana joins in this weekend’s activities to celebrate fathers and their invaluable contributions to families, it’s essential to recognise the need for greater support and acknowledgment of their role in society. Let us not only honour fathers, but also recognise the invaluable contributions they make to lives. Whether it’s a simple gesture of appreciation or a heartfelt expression of love, let’s take this opportunity to thank these special men.
By affirming and empowering fathers, families are strengthened.