Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fathers must be responsible too

 Fathers must love the mother of his children

As we celebrated Father’s Day there was so much praise and thanksgiving being showered upon fathers for all they have done and are continuing to do for the children. It is indeed fitting and right to shower them with such praise as the vast majority of them really deserve such praise and gratitude. Most fathers are good, loving, caring and will do anything for their children.

In the midst of these great fathers are some who continue to be irresponsible and cause so much heartache and sorrow in their families. These arise due to the problems between fathers and mothers that leads to separation, divorce and bitter breakup of families. In this process the major losers are the children. Although there are many causes for these separation and divorce the saddest reason is religion differences. Of late there have been a number of cases where the father converts to another faith and in the process forces the conversion of their under aged children without the consent of the mother. This has caused tremendous uncertainties for the wife and children.

Although these cases are pending in the courts for an amicable solution but the problem of child custody remains a real issue for the children as they are torn between two people whom they love most in the world - their father and mother. It will be unfair to ask them to make choice between the two parents at that tender age as both of them mean the world to them. 

The underlying cause of this problem is the lack of love between father and mother. If only the father loves the mother which he promised whole heartedly when they got married, he will be able to compromise and come to an amicable solution of their marital disputes at least for the sake of their children. Why invoke the courts when the problem is your own making? Why the hatred and cruelty to the wife who he married out of love? Why the heart to cause so much misery for the children? 

In this regards a recent quote that impressed me goes like this, “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” We can understand that at times separation and divorce are inevitable for many genuine reasons but why go through it with so much hate for the spouse? Can’t that be done in a more civilised away where all parties are agreeable and solved peacefully?
On this Father’s day it may be timely for such fathers to reflect on what they are doing to their wives and their children. All that is needed is a little love and consideration for the person whom they loved. All that is needed is a considerate mind and loving heart not to cause hardship to the children they love. 
 For the healthy development of a child to become a good and useful citizen later he needs            good parents and a family united in love. A father who loves the mother of his children will lead to the creation of a united and harmonious family. Embattled parents with broken families lead to problematic children who become a burden and threat to society.

A father can give his children all the money in the world, the expensive gifts, the best education and the most luxurious lives but above all these the more important thing is to give them good parents to make their lives more meaningful. He can only do this for his children by showing love for their mother whom they love most. The children are watching the way their father lives his life which will go a long way to determine how they will live theirs.   

Father's Day 2014 - A dad's love 40 years ago

I missed my father and he missed me too
by Joice Malathi
My parents sent me to India after my SPM in 1975 to pursue a degree in Pharmacy. Despite my reluctance to leave home for a foreign country, I finally agreed to go. My father managed to save enough to sponsor my studies in India. Little did I realize then that it was all he could afford at that time, having to educate seven of us.
The day which I dreaded most finally came and I left home with my father to India. We reached my uncle’s house in Trichy where we stayed and made further arrangements to enroll me in the college there. When everything was done it was time for my father to leave me and return home. I was so sad that I couldn’t control and broke down. He too looked very sad but kept himself composed as he bid me farewell. As he left me I could see the pain in his face, the image of which I still remember so vividly till today. That look on his face revealed the love he had for me in his heart.
As the days passed I felt better but the sadness continue to g haunt me. The sad picture of my dad leaving kept coming back to my mind which made me very disturbed and sad. The College I enrolled was not the best and the facilities there were far below standards especially in the hostel where I stayed. They were rather poor and most of the students there came from very poor rural families.
I found the conditions unbearable and to make matters worse I was homesick missing my parents back home where they gave me the best they had, although they did not have much. They gave us the best meals, decent home to stay and drove me to wherever I needed to go. I particularly missed my father who takes me wherever he went and spent hours talking to me about politics and social happenings in and outside the country. I missed my siblings especially my brothers and their playful antics.
After about 3 months in the college, I couldn’t bear the situation anymore. I started to pester my parents to take me back home. My father seemed to understand my problem better than my mother and was more sympathetic to my ‘sufferings’ in India.
Without my mother’s knowledge he finally he sent me a return ticket with which I was so pleased. I am grateful to him for that brave move till today. At that age I thought he was just feeling sorry for me but later I realized he too missed me and was wanted me back. Yes, the agonizing look on his face when he left me in the college was real and represented how much he loved and missed me.
Today my father is sick and bedridden and all alone after the death of my mother but he continues to remind me of his love for me and my siblings. He worked very hard to give us the best he had. In fact he gave us everything he had without having to ask for them. He is a self-made man of success, rose from the poverty stricken village of Puthukottai in India to become the head of a respectable family in Ipoh. He did only not help us but everyone in need who crossed his path. As I watch him lying quietly I see the greatness in him which many may not be aware or refuse to acknowledge.
I continue to cherish the loving memories of my dad in my heart. The painful sight of him leaving me in India 40 years ago keeps reminding me of his goodness which makes me eager to keep him longer with me. I continue to pray for is health but deep in me I know, at 90 and in coma, he must go. All I ask God is to take him home peacefully and with the respect and dignity he deserves. My father will always be in my heart wherever he may be. 
Happy Father’s Day Appa.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Father's Day 2014

My late father eight years later

Anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad

It is almost 8 years since my father passed away in 2006.The pain of his loss may have lessened but his memories are still very fresh in my mind. In fact every time I confront some problem I remember him, trying to imagine how he would have handled it. 

When I was young my father was everything to me, he was my hero whom I admired and tried to imitate. As I grew older I realised he was not infallible but I began to appreciate more of his wisdom in managing his life and the family in the most difficult times. He was not formerly educated, did not have money or any positions of power but he had great wisdom that I did not realise then. He was very poor, did have a proper job, he did not have a proper house and hardly any money even for proper food and clothing. But somehow he gave me everything I needed to become what I am today. I still look up to him despite having risen far above him in social and financial status. Yes, a dad is someone you look up to however tall you grow.

 In fact looking at the past I realise that he did not lecture me on how to live but had showed the way to do so. I had actually watched him live a decent and morally righteous life and subtly adopted many of his values into my own life without realising.

One of the things that I learned from him was about the pain you experience when the children leave home for the very first time which has a profound effect on the children later. It was 10 years ago when I sent my own daughter, the eldest of my 3 children, to college. The pain was so terrible. It was no ordinary feeling when your child who was so dependent on you for 18 years leaves home for the first time to live all by herself. I can still remember the pain in her face as she kept crying as we left her. In fact my wife broke down and cried all the way back to Penang after we left her all alone in the college hostel. I tried my best to put up a brave front but deep inside I was terribly shaken and broken like never before. 

Can she manage everything all by herself? Will she be safe being all alone in a strange environment? Can she cope with the problems that will crop up from time to time? Will she be comfortable in the new abode? These were some of the doubts that ran through my mind on leaving her. As usual only time helped to heal the pain in my heart.

Then came the next separation when my eldest son too left home to pursue his studies overseas. The same emotions of sadness, fear and anxiety struck again which gave me sleepless nights. The only reassurance is that he is going for a good course and time will definitely heal all the pain that it causes. 

 My own experiences with the departure of my children brought to mind a similar situation forty one years ago when I was 20 years old, when my late father sent me to the university. It was an emotional and heart-breaking moment separating from him. 

I was very, very sad when he left me. I still remember the sad and agonising look on his face which made me cry. I did not really understand the magnitude of his pain then but now I appreciate what he must have gone through as he returned home alone by train after leaving me in the college. I understand now how difficult it must have been for him to put up a brave front in front of me.

 I knew the separation was temporary and was for a good cause but emotions are hard to control and only time could heal the pain and heartache. Now my father is not around anymore but the emotional scene of that first parting remains vividly in my mind, to remind me of his goodness.

That sad look on his face was enough to keep me focussed on the right path and doing the right things in my own life. That look of love was enough to make me grateful to him for the rest of my life. That agonising look on his face was enough for me to realise that there can be no other man who will love me and sacrifice more for me like him. I am convinced that anyone can be a father but only one special man can be a dad.

A dad in one of the greatest gifts one can have. His experiences are invaluable assets especially to his son and his wisdom no money can buy. He may have been just be a small part of our lives but the effects of that short stint leave a lasting impression in our lives. To those who have lost their fathers remember he is still very much alive in you, in everything you think and do.

As I grow older and stepped into my sixties I realise the profound effect of this special man in my life. He was no ordinary man who passed by in my life but one who has left a lasting and permanent footprints in my heart and mind. He may have died 8 years ago but I can still feel him living in me every day of my life.

Father I do not know where you and how you are but deep in me something tells me you are in a faraway place called heaven, happy in the company of God. Dad wherever you are I wish you a Happy Father’s Day on behalf of all at home. We will continue to miss you for what you were to all of us.

“A dad is someone who holds you when you cry, scolds you when you break the rules, shines with pride when you succeed and has faith even when you fail”

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