Daddy dearest ...

17 Jun 2017


Illustration by Ahmed Amin
Illustration by Ahmed Amin

While growing up we tend to relay on our mother for everything — she is the centre of our universe, the superpower that controls everything. It is only when we grow older that most of us realise the significant and irreplaceable role our father plays in our lives. Theirs is a quiet, yet secure, presence that really shapes our personalities and how we go out and face the world.

A father teaches us about life without actually lecturing us about anything. He lives life and we learn from it. He instils the importance of hard work and sacrificing for others through his examples. His honesty and integrity in dealing with others shows us the right moral values to follow. He does and we learn.

moral values to follow. He does and we learn.

Not many dads are good with words or expressing emotions. And they don’t scold countless times like mothers do, but a disapproving look from them is enough to make us leave anything we shouldn’t be doing. And the expression of their boundless love is through the security they provide us, making sure our every need is met and every fear is conquered. They make sure we get up after every fall, they provide us with reassurance and courage when we are surrounded by self-doubt and zero confidence.

One of my favourite quotes about fathers is by Jim Valvano, not just because it is so true in my case but so true for any child: “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”

Knowing that the most important man in our life believes in us, in our abilities and everything else that we are both capable and incapable of, is the biggest confidence booster there is. It pushes us in our quests and consoles us when we crash. The sense of protection he provides remains a pillar of strength even after he has become old and feeble, needing our physical support more than we need his.

That is the power and strength of a father’s little expressed loved. Theirs is a silent, yet impactful presence that shapes our lives even after they are gone. And once they are gone, no matter how grown-up we may have become, we feel lost without our greatest sense of security.

Just like fathers have their own way of expressing their love, children too express in different ways the love they nurture for the big guy who taught them to ride a bike and get up after a fall.

A father is someone you look up to no matter how tall you grow

Here we asked a few children of all ages to share their thoughts about their fathers, as a tribute to celebrate the most important man in our lives.

Umar, a chubby eight-year-old is excited about Father’s Day and has his own plans to surprise his father: “I am making a card for Father’s Day and I will also make something special for him at Iftar that day ... maybe a special Father’s Day drink!”

When asked what makes his father special, he simply said, “Because his is my dad!”

Arif, a thirty-something engineer, who is also a father of two, says: “My father was not very expressive in terms of love in the conventional sense, but we never felt short of love. I guess with fathers you just know that they love you even if they don’t hug and cuddle you all the time, especially when you are growing up and are a boy.

“I saw him leaving home early to go to work each day and coming back late. I have learned from him that hard work brings rewards and nothing is worth much without sacrifice. I guess that’s what has shaped my work ethics and that has been the secret of my success.

“I now realise I owe him much more than I gave him credit for earlier, especially after becoming a father myself, I have realised the love he feels for us. However, I do plan on being more expressive with my kids. I guess the older generation just behaved in a more reserved manner than we do. I hope I can be half as good a father as my father has been.”

Faiza is 16 and seems a serious kind of a girl, but when she spoke about her hero, her face lit up and the shyness disappeared. “Abbu is my hero, guide and support. Whenever I am confused about anything, I go to him and he clears up my confusion in no time.

“I had been very worried about my studies as I didn’t like science but I was studying it because that’s what everyone else in my family studies. I want to become a graphic designer or an artist of some sort, and finally when I was able to gather enough courage to speak to my father about it, I found him totally open to the idea and it completely bowled me over!

A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty

“I was ready for a lecture, especially since I have decent grades in science too, but Abbu coolly told me I should select whatever subjects I was really interested in and then do it well. He has just asked me use these holidays to research and learn more about the different fields and subjects related to my interest so that we can have a solid plan to work on. He is also helping me research the various options available to me.

“Oh I am the luckiest girl in the world to have such an understanding father!”

“I am more scared of my father than I am of my mother,” disclosed Tahir, a 13-year-old boy. “But the funniest part is that you know he never raises his voice even if he is mad! My mother also knows I really fear him and when she is really, really mad, she tells me that she’s going to tell dad and it is enough to tame me!

“Yes I love my dad very much too and whenever he has time, he makes sure that he spends it with us, taking us out to parks, playing cricket with and doing fun things. But the one thing he never compromises on is studies. Oh, I’ve got to get good grades or the cold treatment I get from him really scares me! But I don’t mind studying for him as he too does so much for us.”

Illustration by Ahmed Amin
Illustration by Ahmed Amin

“My father is a real hero ... he was in the army and he gave his life to defend this country. I am proud to be a martyr’s son. I miss him everyday very much and like to listen to my elders talk about him,” 21-year-old Ahmed reveals emotionally.

“I do get angry that why did he have to die, but the courage of my mother and grandparents in accepting this tragedy has helped to make me face it too.

“I remember him looking so handsome in his uniform! When I would be with him and people saluted him, I felt proud and important, and I also saluted in return.

“Abba loved us very much and I remember his laughter. It was so beautiful. I miss you so much Abba, I wish you were here to guide me, to love me. I know you are in a good place now as you gave your life for your country. May Allah bless his soul. Ameen.”

“My father takes care of all of us. He buys us many things and takes us to many restaurants too,” Saad, a 10-year-old shares his views. “He is a very kind man who also helps others and is very friendly with everyone. Whenever my friends come to my home, he sits and talks to them and they all like him.

“I want to grow up and become a doctor like him. I like the respect I see people giving him because of his profession, so I also want to be a doctor.”

Published in Dawn, Young World June 17th, 2017