father's day

How did Father’s Day come about?

More than a century ago, an American woman, Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, sat in church listening to a Mother’s Day sermon and felt strangely detached. She was brought up by her father as her mother had died in childbirth. A sense of indignance surged within her and she decided she wanted to designate a day for her dad, William Jackson Smart. Dodd’s father, a Civil War veteran, had taken the responsibility of singlehandedly raising her and his other five children.

Unfortunately, not everyone can share her sentiment.

Elon Musk, for one, calls his father ‘a terrible human being’. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX is not a fan of his father and even forbids his children from meeting his father (who was said to have killed three men who broke into his home and married his stepdaughter who is forty years younger than him.)

Admittedly, there are mixed messages are everywhere when it comes to the paternal figure. For some adults raised by single mothers, the holiday conjures painful moments when their fathers were AWOL. According to the National Retail Federation, spending for Father’s Day is estimated at around $15 billion compared to $25 billion spent on Mother’s Day.

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Why doesn’t Father’s Day get as much respect as Mother’s Day?

The answer is a question of simple math. Traditionally, most men simply don’t invest a high percentage of their waking hours with their children compared to women. The last boomer generation of men often are breadwinners who delegate domestic duties to their wives and don’t invest emotionally with their children.

In The Father Factor from National Fatherhood Initiative, the writer sagely shares the concept of a love bank. Coming from a financial background, the writer talks about how important it is to “invest” in your child’s life and how critical it is for dads to make regular, substantial, and consistent “deposits” in their children’s relationship “bank accounts.”

If you have not made these deposits to your children’s love bank, you could end up with conversations that sound something like this…

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(Scene—You rush into the lobby of the ‘First National Bank of Your 15-year-old Daughter’s Heart’ and quickly approach her window.)

Your Daughter: Good afternoon. How may I help you?

You: Hi. I need make a big withdrawal fast!

Your Daughter: Ok, sir. No problem. Could you please let me see some ID?

You: Sure.(You hand her a copy of her birth certificate where you are listed as “Father.”)

Your Daughter: Everything looks in order, Dad. Please wait just a minute while I check your account.(She turns away from you but then gets a strange look on her face.)

You: Is there a problem?

Your Daughter: Yes, sort of. I clearly see that you opened an account here a long time ago, but it doesn’t appear to have a sufficient balance for you to make a big withdrawal. When was the last time that you made a deposit?

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You: Well, I don’t remember. I guess it’s been a while. You know, I have been very busy working and stuff like that. But, my wife has been making lots of deposits. Seems like every time I turn around she is heading here. Since we are married, can’t I just make a withdrawal from her account?

Your Daughter: Dad, no you can’t because we don’t offer joint accounts here.

You: Oh yeah…That’s right…I remember hearing that. What about a loan? Can I get one of those?

Your Daughter: I’m sorry…We don’t offer loans either. You can only withdraw what you have deposited.(You start to get a bit upset…)You: Well that just doesn’t seem fair! I clearly have an account. And, well, I need to make a withdrawal. Can’t you make an exception? After all, I am DAD.

Your Daughter: Dad. I am sorry. I just can’t help you…(You are becoming more upset…)

You: Well, doggone it, I am not going to take no for answer.(Your daughter gets a concerned and stern look on her face and you can see her reaching under the counter to push the button for security.)

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Your Daughter: As I said, I can’t help you. You knew the rules when you opened the account. How can you expect to withdraw funds that you didn’t deposit? That’s just not the way it works here. All you had to do was make consistent deposits. Even small ones would have been fine because “interest”—your interest—would have compounded these deposits substantially over time. Taking deposits that don’t belong to you is, well, robbery. So, I need to ask you to leave now. Or, do I need to call security?

How can fathers make a change?

Our current generation of modern fathers is already leading this Dad-volution in fatherhood. Some men are fiercely progressive and believe in being a nurturing influence in their kids’ lives.

In our tiny Singapore, we are seeing a surge in a breed of “progressive dads”. A strong tribe of men, who makes the effort in making sure they deposit emotionally to their children’s emotional banks. Forty-two-year-old Technopreneur Jay Huang , a father of twins, is proud to be part of this Dad-volution. Growing up without the presence of a strong father figure, Jay is committed to making a difference. He is the family’s chef, driver and music tutor – all in one. Jay makes it a point to put his children first. Being a music aficionado himself, he goes to Violin lessons with his son and learns together with his son. At home, he helps his children with their music homework. At night, before the children sleeps, Jay would play a round of UNO cards with his children and hopes to make this a nightly ritual. He would then burn the midnight oil so as to ensure that his own work is in order.

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At the other end of Singapore, Bobby Sim, 40, is a stay-at-home father who’s opted to take the road less travelled – by staying at home to take care of his five-year-old daughter, while his wife goes to work. He says, “I believe modern fathers want to be great parents. And other than breastfeeding, dads can do practically everything the mum can do, and sometimes even better. (There shouldn’t be any) gender stereotyping.”

Coincidentally, both Huang and Sim grew up without a father by their side. Because of that, both said that they are inspired to become the fatherly figure they themselves never had, for their children.

Indeed, this modern generation of fathers has greatly outdone their predecessors.

As we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, let’s all remind one another the importance of saving (emotionally) for a rainy day.

Bond with your children today, learn to play nursery rhymes together here or download a free printable and spend some quality time with your young ones.

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