Effort Sans Celebration

“The noir hero is a knight in blood caked armour. He’s dirty and he does his best to deny the fact that he’s a hero the whole time”

— Frank Miller

This morning I woke up seeing the day like any other day. On my way to church, I felt the morning was a bit chilly, so I checked the weather on my phone. Surprisingly, a weather report declared today as “Fathers’ Day”. Seriously? It seems unlike its vastly less popular sister, Fathers’ Day manages to creep on us unnoticed. 

I got to church and the praise leader somehow mentioned it was Fathers’ Day but people hardly took any notice. Then at the end of the service, a minister asked if people knew today was Fathers’ Day. Surprise was literally written on the faces of most persons. I overheard a lady behind me, sitting with a guy I presume may be her husband, tell him she had no clue it was Fathers’ Day. Like seriously? Would she say this if it were one of the 367 Mothers’ Days we have each year?

Talking about Mother’s Day, if at this point you think I’m a “meninist” shaped after the mould of “All lives matter”, you may want to read this and this. I love my mom. I really do even though I’ve never told her that. Mothers, just like fathers, go through a lot for their kids. However, just like the feminist movement (in my view) seems to put an exaggerated spotlight on the female gender, the society has over time venerated mothers while resigning fathers to the doldrums of invincibility—putting effort but without any celebration.

One way the society has achieved this is by casting men without emotions, grooming men from little boys to fleshy robots who seem to seek no adulation and make much effort towards watering down any attempt at celebrating them. Last year I wrote an article on Fathers’ Day to celebrate my dad. Coincidentally, it was also his birthday, so I sent him a text message. This guy happily did not reply my message until I had to ask him if he saw a message from me. If you were to take a random poll of the society, especially in Nigeria, I can bet the results would show that this is a common trend—fathers having no interest in remembering wedding anniversaries, wives’ and children’s birthdays and even their own birthdays. If a man has been programmed not to take special dates seriously, why would he even think twice about Fathers’ Day when he believes his job is to provide for his family and keep quiet?

There is a big chance that things would change in the coming generations as men become “softer” and start acknowledging their emotional sides. Maybe by then, the society would see that truly celebrating fathers does not in any way subtract from the accolades our mothers receive. Emotional gifting is surely not a zero-sum activity. It’s true that we are generally closer to our mothers (except you’re an only daughter) but this should not keep us from recognising fathers for the work they do all through our formative years. For every one who would point to an absent father, I could point to a mother who abandoned her kid or barely tolerated her kid. The point is that there are good mothers and good fathers. Let’s celebrate the good.

Someday when I become a dad (read: “really cool dad”), I hope to nurture a strong connection with my kids, so they would remember Fathers’ Day two months before the time. If they don’t, I recall my mom reminds me of Mothers’ Day during the preceding weeks, so I’ll remind them. Thou must celebrate me for being a cool dad, and so shall I continue forthwith to be cool towards thee.

Happy Fathers’ Day!

Image Credit: telnet.co.nz

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