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 My Experience as a Father - Aloysius D'Souza

It is said: “God made Mothers, because he could not be everywhere” 

What about Fathers?

 The Bible says:

“Or what man is there among you, of whom if a son shall ask bread, will he reach him a stone?

Or if he shall ask him a fish, will he reach him a serpent?

If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more will your Father, who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him!”  --  Mathew – Chapter 7 – verses 9 to 11 

Is a Father’s job only to provide the food in his household?

Well yes, that is his major requirement   --  to protect and provide for his wife and family --but today many Mothers also work, particularly  when  two salaries are essential to meet the highly inflated costs of living.

Fathers then also have to share in the chores in the home and outdoor errand running.

In earlier generations Father was the disciplinarian  --  a real bogeyman in some cases  --  Mother would say  “ If you do not eat or study or  …., I will tell  your Father” and the moment Father entered he had to listen to a tale of woe from his wife and punish or at least give a good talking to  the kids.

Fortunately, I grew up in a home where my Dad was the democratic type  --  he did shout once in a while, but most often we had fun together.  I hope I achieved somewhat the same relationship with my daughter (Dad is now 96 years old but I still feel that sometimes he thinks I am about seven years old  --  and mothers are even worse in thinking that that their babies never grow up.)

When my daughter was tiny, I used to do a lot of touring and hence was spared the squalling stage  --  I was afraid to carry her till she was six months old.  But after that she and I did a lot together  --  to the extent that I would help her in her mischief and get shouted at by my wife.  I sincerely believe that if she got into mischief at this early age, we would be spared the consequences of more dangerous mischief when she was older.

Teaching her, when she was at school, was no problem  --  she got  a few hard knocks on her head, which she claims really made the knowledge stay in.  But my approach to study was not exactly what her teachers wanted  --  I tried to make her learn by doing 

*     spelling by looking up a dictionary  *    chemistry experiments in the kitchen (with wife shouting that we would poison all of us)

    botany by planting seeds  and pulling them up every now and then to check the growth of roots, leaves, etc

   the international date line by actually crossing over the Pacific from Japan to America  --  and having the same day in Japan as we had when we reached Los Angeles after more than twelve hours travel plus a stop over at Honolulu

    new mathematics by taking the contents of her “Mickey Mouse” bank to Bank of India to open her own Savings Bank Account when she was about five years old  and surprising the staff  by  sorting out the coins (one, two, five, ten & twenty paise coins) into lots of ten and then putting them together in one Rupee lots.  (After seeing her do this, the lady cashier refused to re-count and accepted the figure she had written in her deposit slip --some nineteen Rupees--she continues to have her account in the same bank.)

*     learning to love books and knowledge therein, by leaving her in the Asiatic Library, while I went about my work on Saturdays. 

As a consequence she surprised me by one day producing a form for my signature  --  agreeing to her going to Cambridge for further studies on a scholarship she had applied for and won .

I have had fun being a son and I have fun being a father  --  I wish that all you young ladies have enjoyed being daughters and pray that if and when you get married you will ensure that your husband enjoys being a father to his kids.

June 1999) 

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