February 5, 2023

Pediatricians are unanimous in saying that the first word that comes out from a baby’s mouth is “mama.”
Religious preachers and pastors concur with a pious explanation that it is God’s will that children ought to be closer to their mothers than to anyone else. It is the mother who rears and molds her kids into becoming responsible citizens. It is the mother who is always the first in every aspect of a child’s growth. The world will not be the same without mothers. This is true and this is beyond debate.
But it is also true that the world will not fare any better without fathers. There can be no mothers without fathers. Neither can children grow up to the fullness of their capabilities without the guidance of a father. Hence, while it is true that God may have imbibed an instinctive reply among babies to cling to their mothers, so did the same God imbibe in them the need to depend on their fathers. As much as mothers are important to the development of a child, so are fathers. As much as mothers are needed by their children, so are fathers. Surely, God loves fathers as much as He loves mothers.
What makes a father significant is the memories that he creates while sharing his precious time with his children. The camping, walk in the woods, swim on the beach, learning how to drive, reading of comic books, and so much more activities that will not be forgotten long after the father is gone. This bond will be carried on as part of a son’s growth that when he becomes a father himself, too will he continue the cycle. Much like an apple tree that bears sweet fruit, a responsible father will bear a responsible father. That is how important a father is, not only to his family but to society as well.
There are good fathers and bad fathers. There are handsome fathers and there are ugly fathers. There are young fathers and old fathers. No matter how they are shaped or how they are characterized, a father will always be a beacon of hope, lighting the path of his children’s future, no matter how much the cost and the sacrifice it will entail. Fathers will always be the best providers. So, if God willed that the first words that would come out of the mouth of a baby is “mama,” it is as much His will that the day the child learns how to ask, the first word he says is “papa.”
There are many ways we freely address our fathers like daddy or papa. In Ilocano, fathers are called tatang with its Tagalog equivalent of itay or tatay. Children born during the new millennium would rather that their fathers are cute by calling them pappy, popsy, or daddy-yo. Yet, by whatever appellation fathers are identified, it is always the same. They are the big-hearted people who take care of their children. If a mother is a manifestation of God’s love, a father is a manifestation of His concern.
Today, we celebrate Father’s Day and as we remember all the selfless and devoted fathers in the world, let us all be thankful for their existence. Happy Father’s Day!

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