I remember that in my early years of primary school, we learned for Father’s day, this poem by Belgian author, Maurice Carême:
Pour mon père
Mon père aimé, mon père à moi,
Toi qui me fais bondir sur tes genoux comme un chamois.
Que pourrais-je te dire que tu ne sais déjà ?
Il fait si doux quand ton sourire éclaire tout sous notre toit.
Je me sens fort, je me sens roi, quand je marche à côté de toi.
For my father
My dear father, my father mine,
You who make me jump on your lap like a dear.
What could I tell you that you don’t already know?
It’s so nice when your smile lightens up everything under our roof.
I feel strong, I feel like I’m the king, when I walk besides you.
Very young children have hero-like image of their father. They see him often as someone who can do anything. And as the poem above describes it, they feel strong when waking beside him.
Heroes risk their lives and die for causes that they recognize to be greater than themselves. Being a Father, is a role for heroes!
Some fathers in troubled parts of the world found themselves in situations where they have to literally give up their lives to protect their family; Luckily, this is not the case for the vast majority of fathers, and this is a good thing. However, all fathers often have to sacrifice their own personal concerns for the greater good of their children.
As the child grows-up, he discovers the many flaws of his father, who then loses his status of hero. Yet, even heroes have flaws. However, many father never claim back their status of hero.
I believe that the true essence of heroes does not lie only in their accomplishments, but rather in the special relationship that they establish with the cause of their action.
In a world where fathers are still seen primarily as wage-earner, it is easy to be consumed by the activities of providing for the family and overlook the relationship that we must build with our children.
Pay special attention to the interactions and individual relationship with your child, and take full responsibility of your role as father. Your commitment to the continuous improvement of this relationship is the main expression of the love that you have for your child. You are an important and scares resource for your child, you are his hero!
And because to love also means to let go, remember the poem from the 1923 book The Prophet by Lebanese-American poet Kahlil Gibran; The wisdom it holds speaks volume:
Your Children are not Your Children
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bow from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrow may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Happy Father’s Day!
First published on 18th June 2017