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My 21st-century Dad

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My 21st-century Dad

He cleans, cooks, does laundry–and is still the man of the house
08:37 AM June 17, 2017

ILLUSTRATION BY CHRISTIAN JAY BAUTISTA

Time was when a father was traditionally seen as leader of the family—the one who worked hard for his wife and children to have a good and comfortable life, the parent who upheld order and discipline at home. Dads were not expected to do housework or any activity that went against their image as the man of the house.

But in the 21st century, family roles have changed, the new generation of fathers now shares responsibilities once handled exclusively by mothers — running errands, cooking, cleaning house and the like—and they’re proud
of it.

Innocent expression

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As an only child, I got spoiled a lot. My father was the first man who indulged me. Growing up, I would always pull him to the toy section to check out all the dolls I wanted to buy. I wouldn’t ask him to buy them for me; instead I would look him in the eye and give him the most innocent and irresistible expression I could manage.

He always knew what that meant. After a few days, he would come home with the doll I had been gushing over.

When I got older, he showed me his collection of toy cars. Not long after, I started collecting them as well, and he was happy that we shared a similar interest.

Thereafter, every toy car I wanted he would buy in a second, though I’d like to think he bought them not just for me but for both of us.

When my mom had to attend meetings for work, my dad insisted we have dinner at the nearest mall. We ate whatever I wanted to eat, even though he didn’t like the food too much. He would pay for the meal and I’d leave a tip with the coins in my pocket.

Then we’d go to an arcade and play air hockey and basketball. I was usually the only girl in the arcade playing basketball with her dad, and he always had to lift me so I could make a shot.

The following day, I would brag to my friends that I went out on a date with a sweet and fun guy. I couldn’t have asked for a better date than my dad.

Ballet class

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My father was the first guy to see me dance. I was 4 years old when I started ballet. Usually my aunt would take me to class, but one day she had another appointment and my dad was the only one available to take me to the studio.

I was a little nervous about it because it was his first time to bring me to class and he would have to wait for me in the company of gossipy moms.

True enough, he was the only dad in the studio when we arrived. As the moms swiftly fixed their daughters’ hair into tight buns, my dad struggled to ponytail my hair. Cursing under his breath and with his face all scrunched up, my father tried his best to fix my hair.

When practice started, some of my classmates laughed as my hair stuck out from the sides of my bun. Our teacher fixed it for me before we started to dance.

The classroom door was left open for parents to see their kids perform, but the only one I saw watching was my dad who smiled happily as I did my turns. After practice, he told me how good I was and apologized for not knowing how to make a bun. It didn’t matter, I was truly happy that he got the chance to see me dance.

Extraordinary

My father is a 21st-century dad. He cleans the house, does the laundry and cooks our food. My father is extraordinary that way. He was the first to make me laugh. The first to make me smile. The first to teach me the language of sarcasm and many more.

Like all fathers, he always wants the best for his family. While fathers are protective of their children, they will also push their kids to do their best because they know their children are capable of more. They show their love in ways that children may not understand immediately.

I know I have my shortcomings, and my dad can see them as well. But he doesn’t love me any less. That’s the unconditional love of a father. —CONTRIBUTED

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TAGS: dad, Essay, Father, Father's Day, student essay
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