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Dads Actually

Straight talk on the truths and thrills of fatherhood

Published

By Regina G. Posadas

If “matrescence” is the process of becoming a mother, what is the process of becoming a father?  Honestly, I have no idea.  I’m not a dad, Google could not provide an answer, and none of my parent-friends and parent-relatives know the exact term.

After interviewing several daddies for this feature, however, what I know for sure is that I don’t need any fancy or highfalutin term to recognize and appreciate terrific and dedicated parents.  Their actions, answers, and advice say it all. For being the hardworking, giving, protective, and playful parents they are, dads definitely deserve their own special day of honor and celebration.

To all the dads out there—real or surrogate—and anyone and everyone bravely taking on daddy duties, may you continue to enrich lives and may your Father’s Day be wonderful, memorable, and filled with blessings.

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Al Neri, director

My defining moment as a dad or when I felt that I was really a father:

When other parents take the time and effort to tell me that I have raised good kids, it truly defines my being a father. This usually happens when my children join a school, a camp, or a team outing by themselves. my wife and I get these (text) messages after the events that I mentioned.

What fatherhood has taught me:

It has taught me to be genuinely and consistently selfless.

The best thing about being a dad:

You learn to love and care for people without expecting anything in return. You find fulfilment when you see them very happy and that they become successful in all their individual endeavors, whether in academics, athletics, or in their young careers.

My advice to new dads:

There is no perfect and a single right way to raise a child.  Each and every child has his/her own needs. Love your children for who they are and not for who you’d envision them to be.

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Aries Fonacier, strength and conditioning coach

My defining moment as a dad or when I felt that I was really a father:

I got married in 1998, but my defining moment as a dad came only when I sat down with my eldest daughter’s first suitor who formally asked permission to court her and have a more serious relationship with my Gabbie.

What fatherhood has taught me:

It has taught me that my main role in life is not just to “provide” for my kids but most importantly, to be the moral and spiritual leader of my family.

The best thing about being a dad:

It’s that I have a God-given role to play in the molding of my family’s spiritual growth. It truly is an honor to know that a father is tasked to open the eyes of his God-given family to the reality and purpose that God has given us.

My advice to new dads:

Pray. Read. Know. Be thankful. Chill. Pray to God to uphold you in the eyes of the family you lead and empower you to respond to His call. Read the Bible. Your children should run to you first when they have moral or spiritual concerns, not to the high school teacher or counselor and not to your local priest or pastor. Know that you are empowered by God and as a father to your family, you mirror the relationship between God and man. Be thankful that you are God’s appointed leader in the family you are in and know that in all things, God is always in control.  Not you, not the bank, not your employer, or your in-laws. God alone is in control and He has appointed you. Be empowered and empower others as well to fix our eyes on the reality of Jesus in our lives. It’s the only reality we live in anyway. Chill. Did I mention God is in control? It’s great to be a dad.

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Cholo Mallillin, school administrator

My defining moment as a dad or when I felt that I was really a father:

It’s when I first held my eldest daughter in my arms at the hospital. My first thought was, “She’s too beautiful to be mine!” And then we grew up to be movie buddies and Star Wars geeks.

What fatherhood has taught me:

It has taught me to be patient and put the needs of my daughters over my own needs.

The best thing about being a dad:

It’s having really, really good daughters who love the same things I do and who love me unconditionally.

My advice to new dads:

Let go of all your hang-ups about losing your freedom as a single dude.  Being a dad is the best.

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Erwin Nolido, PR photographer/videographer

My defining moment as a dad or when I felt that I was really a father:

It’s when I find myself doing everything with my kids in mind. I used to be an avid computer gamer and toy collector but I had to give up all of these for them. Hindi mura magpaaral.

What fatherhood has taught me:

It has taught me to be mindful of how I act around my children because I want to be a good example. It has also taught me that they have their own lives which are different from mine so I encourage them to pursue their own dreams. At a very young age, my wife and I exposed both our daughters to different disciplines (ballet, gymnastics, piano, painting, etc.)

The best thing about being a dad:

Everything. I like the conversations I have with my kids, the meals that we share, the vacations that we go to, and the movies that we watch.

My advice to new dads:

Enjoy fatherhood. Don’t overthink it. Listen to your children and be there for them when it matters.

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Rufi Parpan, banking executive

My defining moment as a dad or when I felt that I was really a father:

I was supportive and ever present throughout my ex-wife’s pregnancies. So when each child drew her first breath and let out her first cry was an emotional and defining moment for me.  Now that my daughters are into their teens, I am happy that they have begun to live their lives beyond themselves. Whenever I witness them do selfless acts is always a proud moment.

What fatherhood has taught me:

It has taught me how to be truly selfless. I have also realized that there is an extremely different kind of fulfilment derived from putting the interests and welfare of your kids before and above yourself.

The best thing about being a dad:

On a somewhat “selfish” note, the unconditional love that my kids give me is a wonderful gift!  On the reverse, I am grateful for the opportunity to be a steward for my three daughters; to nurture them and to help them realize their potentials. As it is, even at this early stage I am already witness to how they are discovering, developing, and even sharing their talents.  Someday soon I will get to see them use these gifts for a greater good. Those will surely be among my proudest moments.

My advice to new dads:

Kids don’t come with an owner’s manual and every child is unique. While it is still great practice to read up as much as you can before your first child arrives, do not be afraid and learn to trust your heart. When in doubt, your love for your child will guide you and tell you what to do.

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Vin Dancel, startup founder, musician, lawyer

My defining moment as a dad or when I felt that I was really a father:

It was the first time I saw and heard my panganay’s heartbeat. It was so overwhelming that I cried. From then on, I knew my life was never going to be the same. Magkahalong excitement at takot naramdaman ko kasi naisip ko “Diyos ko, paano kung hindi pa ako handa?” (“I felt both excitement and fear. I thought, “God, what if I’m not ready?”)

What fatherhood has taught me:

A lot! Foremost is that I really don’t know anything about being a dad. Every day is a learning process—from communicating with my kids, to listening to and understanding them, and what they’re really saying. Recently, I’ve come to realize that among my foremost roles as a father is supporting their dreams. Their dreams and aspirations are now mine, too.

The best thing about being a dad:

It’s having amazing kids. They teach me how to be a better person everyday.

My advice to new dads:

Brace yourselves for the most amazing journey yet. Pay attention to your kids. Listen and understand. They have lots to teach us parents and as human beings. Becoming a parent is life-changing.

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Andrew Pinlac, Math teacher

My defining moment as a dad or when I felt that I was really a father:

It’s more a collection of moments rather than just one. From the birth of my daughters, preschool programs, to milestones like my eldest daughter finally being able to enjoy swimming (she used to be terrified of swimming pools), and my youngest saying a new word. Nothing makes me feel more like a father than the pride of seeing my kids do the littlest things that seem like miracles.

What fatherhood has taught me:

Having a family has taught me to take care of myself more. I used to spend most of my day working or thinking about work. Knowing that I have my girls to come home to, I make it a point to still have some energy to have quality time with them when I get home. It’s comparable to eating a meal; I don’t necessarily fill up my day’s plate. I save space for dessert, which is the sweetest part of my day.

The best thing about being a dad:

It’s seeing the smiles on my daughters’ faces. It makes everything (especially the worries) melt away.

My advice to new dads:

Enjoy parenthood! It’s a blessing. It won’t always seem like it and that’s okay. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to be perfect since you’ll only get frustrated. Keep in mind that the best thing we could teach ourselves—and eventually our kids—is to be kind.

For those of you fortunate enough to share the load with a lovely wife like I do, teamwork is also key.

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