By Dr. Jun Ynares, M.D.
Last Sunday, June 18, was Father’s Day.
That same day, I joined several other daddies onstage to receive our award during the recognition night for outstanding fathers. The event was organized by the Ulirang Ina-Ama Foundation. It was an honor to stand beside the men who have done a near-impossible task: Balancing the duties of a father and those of a public servant.
Each of us was asked to deliver a response after receiving our respective awards.
I opted to do the unexpected. Rather than extol the “greatness” of fatherhood, I chose to make a public confession. I bared the heart of a real-life father who has had to live up to the expectations of our children and of the rest of society.
The expectation is that a father is always “brave and strong.” After all, we are usually the first heroes worshipped by our daughters and sons.
That night, I made sure the audience understood that there is another side of us.
To do that, I shared with them a note I wrote to my two daughters. It was my hope that the note would help them understand even more the depths of a father’s love.
Let me share that note to my daughters with our readers today.
“Dearest Cassa and Via,
As you were growing up, you called me brave and have always thought of me as strong.
Now that you are almost no longer the little kids who sat on my lap and whom I carried on my shoulders, it’s time to know and understand that your daddy – and all daddies for that matter – are not always brave and strong.
Sometimes, we, too, get scared. Very scared.
Let me explain.
You see, as you were growing up, I had always been scared – very scared – of the moments when you get disappointed: the times that I could not be with you because of work; the times that I could not get you the toys that you wanted; the times when I had to tell you that what you have done was wrong.
I have always been scared of the times when you cried – when you cried because you fell on the playground and suffered a cut on your knees; when you cried because your friend made you feel bad; when you cried because you had a bad dream.
As you continue to grow up, there are more things I get to be scared about. I am scared of the moments when you get to do a lot of things on your own… without daddy’s help; when you tell me that it’s okay for me not be home since you are going out with your friends anyway; when my jokes which made you laugh before are now called “silly” and “corny”; when the clothes I wear which used to make you think I am “handsome,” you now call “baduy.”
You know what? As you continue to grow over the next many more years, many more things will scare daddy. I will be scared of the time I shall see less and less of you because you will be spending more and more time with girls… and guys… your age. I will be very scared of the time when it would be your turn to say, “let me do that for you, daddy.” I shall be scared most of the time when your “I love you” would no longer just be for your mommy and me… but also for that someone who will own your heart forever.
So, you think daddy is strong. You know what? You are right. I am strong. There is only one thing that makes me weak – you.
You alone can make my heart melt like ice cream on a hot Antipolo summer.
You alone can make my eyes water with tears with your kiss.
You alone can make me tremble with nervousness when you ran a fever or when you ran too fast on a busy sidewalk.
My daughters, daddy’s love for you is what makes him strong and brave. It is the very same love that makes daddy weak and scared. Please never forget: you and you alone can do that to daddy.”
As I pondered on my note to my two daughters, I realized that my “weakness” as a dad is nothing more than a reflection of the very same “weakness” of God, the greatest Father of all.
I remembering hearing an international preacher say that “Man is God’s greatest weakness.”
He explained that “God, our Father, is so obsessed with His love for Man that He went out of His way to send His only Son to reconcile Man back to Him.”
“God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have life everlasting,” the evangelist John wrote in the Gospel.
Today, one week after Father’s Day, I would like to wish all fathers whose obsessive love for their families push them to work hard, to overcome hardships, and defy all obstacles in order to provide for their families needs.
I pray that the grace of God, our Father, would give us, earthly fathers, the strength to fulfill our roles and mission.
A belated happy Father’s Day, dads!
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