Friday, June 18, 2010

Something to ponder on Father's Day: presents for Daddy

Compared to Mother's Day, Father's Day is more sedate and the commercialization is more muted. But before I go into the commercialization aspect, the three most commercialized anniversaries are

1) Christmas
2) St Valentine's Day
3) Mother's Day

Father's Day isn't in the list. The problem is that it's hard to think of what to get dear old Dad! And marketing whizzes can't be imaginative enough when it comes to Dad as compared to Mum.

Scouting the offerings at the various Metro Manila shopping malls, merchants suggest that you get Dad a 1)Bottle of wine, 2) A beer, 3) A necktie, 4) A book, 5) A shirt, 6) An electric drill, and 7) for people with heaps of money at a swanky Makati mall, a BMW!

I'm sure that your father and probably mine too (if he were still alive) would have number 7. But given how hard things are nowadays, Dad would prefer that you give him something closer to your heart, not his.

Dad would probably like wine, beer, neckties, books, shirts and electric drills too. But by the time you make enough money to give Dad all these trendy presents, he has to watch his diet and blood pressure. Dad probably doesn't need a tie (When I was young, my uncle gave me a tie every Christmas until I hit 21 years of age. Now what would I do with 21 ties in humid and tropical Manila?)

Perhaps the lack of possible gifts is a sign that being a father is hard work with an unceasing fine tuning of roles. Children have different perceptions of father. Fathers in turn have difficulty in relating to their children as they grow up. But what is easily seen through the difficulties is that Dad loves you.

My father was a soldier and so his children were soldiers too. Thus an army childhood means seeing father rarely and when we did so, he was always impeccable in uniform.

But through that, we saw that Dad loved us. But that was a kinder and simpler world.

Now fathering is a more difficult thing than in my father's time (even if were an army officer). The family is under threat as society becomes relativist. Many think you can have a family with same sex parents. Dad works in another country and can only track how his baby girl grows up through webcams and text messages.

The sorry thing is that we now forget that it is Dad that glues the family together. Of course mother is there, but Mom needs Dad to make things work seamlessly.

The family is a foretaste of God's Kingdom. We should protect the family for that is what God wants.

And fathers are not only fathers to their own family. They are fathers to their extended families, their circle of friends and their families, neighbours and their families, your barkada etc. If your dad is boss at work, he is dad too to his subordinates. The nicest features of our Pinoy culture is that it would not be too embarrassing to call your friend's dad as as if he were your own. This is the reason why strangers can call you "Kuya" or "Ate".

And this is also why we should take with great responsibility being a Godparent. Godparents by tradition should take much interest in the welfare of their godchildren not just at Christmas but everyday. Central to the child's welfare is that he/she grows up to be a God fearing man or woman.

And it was my dad that told me that when I reach 18, I should reverse the role. I should be the one to give presents to my "ninong" at Christmas. And this I did yearly until Godfather passed away

The truth is we have one Father. And he glues the Universe together.

And like our heavenly Father, your father doesn't need an electric drill or a BMW. He only needs you!

Happy Father's Day to all.

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