Fatherhood, Memories, Father’s Day Tips and Gift-giving

Isaiah Matanza with his Dad

by Edwin Quinabo (with contributions from Carlota Ader)

When the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane, Washington on June 19, 1910, there was no significance behind the date chosen beyond that it was convenient for the ministers who organized it. In 1966, when President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation designating the third Sunday in June to honor fathers – that date was to accommodate those who were already observing Father’s Day unofficially since 1910.

By serendipity or by design historians are unaware of, the third Sunday in June falls on or near the summer solstice (varies each year), which is the longest daylight in the year and when summer officially kicks-off. This year’s Father’s Day is on June 20, the day of the summer solstice.

Fatherhood, fittingly embodies the season of summer. A father is the longest daylight of optimism. In literature often the sun – its brightness and strength – represents the hero, a life force and wisdom.

To many, their father is that towering strength they’ve leaned on all their lives, their heroic figure who kept them safe, and in many instances their first teacher who taught them values, the pitfalls to navigate away from, and the A through Z secrets to success.

Summer is also associated with joy, fun and adventure – areas where fathers by their natural boyish nature excel at. Who made those childhood vacations happen, made it memorable, made you laugh hysterically? Thank dad for that.

Traditionally Father’s Day is less commercialized and downplayed (but not undervalued) when juxtaposed to the festivities of Mother’s Day. This is where the summer-father analogy ends, as mothers seem to always take the “summer-of-love” crown on her special day.

How will you be celebrating Father’s Day? Why are you grateful to your father? From Hawaii to US mainland, the Philippines and elsewhere, answers to these two are almost as universal as fatherhood itself.

Fatherhood Today
The traditional reasons why families are most thankful for their dads on Father’s Day are gradually changing as fatherhood itself takes on new roles – similar to how working moms also altered what motherhood means in contemporary society.

The cookie cutter role of older generations had fathers as the sole breadwinner and the parent less involved in parenting.

Typically on Father’s Day to anyone Gen X (40 to 56 years in age) and older, this usually meant they were most grateful for their father as main provider, a role model in work ethics. Or the parent who brought a sense of security and stability to the household.

The modern workplace with two-income earning parents had already reached full swing by the 1980s. But fathers own perceptions of what it means to be a father – a transition from classical patriarch to co-household leader and equal-parenting partner – is just beginning to catch up to the outward roles they have today.

What are some of those changing roles?

According to Pew Research Center, more dads are staying home to care for their kids. By 2016, dads made up 17% of all stay-at-home parents. In 1989, it was 10%.Of those stay-at-home dads, 24% of them reported the main reason was to care for the family. In other words, 17% of dads have undergone a complete reversal of traditional working and parenting roles with moms.

Specifically on parenting, dads now see the role of raising their children extremely important to their identity (57%), practically equal to moms (58%). Dads appreciate the benefits of parenthood (54% to moms at 52%) and fathers find it enjoyable (46% to moms at 41%).

Today’s attitudes toward parenting are basically equal among dads and moms, Pew Research Center found.

Other findings:
*Less fathers are the sole breadwinner. In 1970, 47% of families had only dad working. Today families with only dad working is 27%.

*More fathers report finding a balance between work and family difficult (52% compared to moms at 60%). Decades ago, there was little pressure in this area for dads.

*Besides fathers who now assume a full-time parenting role, in general dads today are much more involved in child care than they were 50 years ago. Today fathers spend triple the time with their children than in 1965. Fathers household chores have increased. But mothers still spend more time with children and household chores, even if they are working.

Besides changing working and parenting roles of dads, single fatherhood due to divorce or children growing up without a father in the home (on the flipside) due to divorce are also more common in recent decades. Both changing further, the roles of modern fatherhood.

John William Hufana, Honolulu, divorced, father of three, was granted full custody of all his children. His ex-wife and mother to his children lives on a neighbor island.“We are friends with their mom and whenever there’s a spring break or so, I let my children be with their mom because I want them to keep that close relationship with their mom. My oldest daughter is now a freshman in college and I will be sending my youngest son to be with his mom in the other island. He will be in summer school and stay with his mother. They [both children] will be home with me again during regular school time.”Hufana says his responsibilities to his children is his priority; and their education is a big part of that.

Despite his current family circumstances being different from his own growing up, Hufana is committed to making sure his children are prepared to meet whatever ambitions they might have in life. He said he wants to give them opportunities through solid parenting which he received from his own father.

John reflects on his father Juan Galvez Apiado Hufana as Father’s Day approaches. Juan was a fisherman and business owner of the Hufana’s in San Fernando City, La Union, Philippines. It was one of the largest fishing businesses in the area. Juan was also a politician and Barrio Captain of San Agustin, a town within San Fernando City.

What John remembers is his father was extremely busy with his multiple hats on as business owner and government official, but he says his father always spent quality time with him, “whether it was eating outside or strolling Waikiki Beach [while on vacation] with my baseball hat on. Baseball was one of my dad’s favorite sports.”Juan passed away when John was 14 years ago. Thirty some years later, “memories of him seems fresh and will forever be that way,” John says.

Father Instilling Values
Juan had that personality larger than life. Beyond his personal success, he also possessed a heart of gold that kept giving.

Fathers are often the key influencer of instilling values in their children. But family experts say values are taught my example, not just saying what’s important for values to really stick with children.

One value Juan impressed upon his family is the importance of giving back to others. And Juan was brilliant at setting this example.“He [Juan] not only took good care of the family but also others who were in need. He was respected and well loved by the whole community because of this. The Hufana family donated a clinic, fully furnished and staffed with nurses and physician. The Poro /San Agustin Elementary School in San Fernando City was donated by my family.”John said his father also allowed families to live on the family’s beach property free of rent.Charitable work now lives on in Juan’s children. “My oldest sister organized the Johnny Hufana Scholarship Fund that is licensed both in the Philippines and in Hawaii to help college bound students with their education. The foundation had many graduates from Education, Liberal Arts, Engineering and Nursing since 1994 when my dad passed away.”

Protector of Family, The Go-To Person To Get Things Done
A role that hasn’t changed much over the generations for fathers is being the lead protector of the family. Children, young to teens, and even adult women reflecting on what they remember of their fathers often speak of their fathers making them feel secure and safe.Isiah Matanza, 14, Yokohama, Japan, recalls an incident. His family came home one day to find their house had been robbed. Items from their flat screen TV, personal laptop and clothing were stolen. “Our family felt very unsafe. But dad was that solid rock we needed at the time. He made sure my mom and I could sleep through the night without having to worry. We felt violated. “Over the next several days, my dad worked with the insurance company to get some money for our stolen items. My dad took care of everything. The whole incident is something I remember when I think of why I am grateful for my dad this Father’s Day. He really made us feel safe and made everything right,” said Matanza.That protector role happens to come easy for Isiah’s father who enlisted in the US Marine Corps after graduating from high school in California. Born in Olongapo, Philippines, his father was stationed in Hawaii temporarily. Today, he is a pastor.Victor Tamayo recalls how impressed he was with his father Paul Apollo Gonzales Tamayo when Victor’s sister moved to the mainland. “I remember my dad going above and beyond to help my sister as she moved to Last Vegas. He helped her with just about everything from shipping her car to getting all of the essentials she needed for a smooth transition to life in another state.”

It’s often moments when children undergo major life changes like moving to another state, and how a parent has made that transition easier is what children remember most.

Fatherhood in the Philippines
Filipinos observe Father’s Day on the same day as Americans, the third Sunday in June. There is the typical Filipino dad who is together with the rest of the family all year-round.

But the Philippines also has a unique working abroad culture where fathers at times will be gone for work in the US, Europe, the Middle East and other places around the globe for months to even years before returning home to be with the family.It’s not just dad.  At times a mother might have a contract abroad and the father would stay home to hold the family together.

In both situations, fatherhood for this subgroup of Filipino dads is different from most.

James Gaddi, Pasig City, Philippines lived with his dad while his sisters lived in the US with his mom. His father passed away a few years ago and he says he will celebrate Father’s Day this year praying the rosary in his honor.“There wasn’t really a bad thing [while apart] that happened to us but I do find the idea of him being a working single dad was hard. But he did it with pride and joy. I am so proud of him,” said Gaddi.

His father was a computer technician that codes java and fixes computers and did various jobs on the side like making skin clay and selling products.

“My Father was a great man, friend, brother and father. He lived in Manila in his early days before moving to Pasig. If I become a father, I will definitely do my part in the family. I will love, protect and take care of my children.”

Honoring Our Father Is One of God’s Commandments
Edmund Ramos also lost his father. His father had cancer treatment close to Father’s Day 2018. “We did not know that it would be our last Father’s Day dinner with him.”

Ramos says honoring your father is a part of God’s Commandments. He says through his father, he’s learned the gift of faith in God and to be “a growing disciple of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”An important part of fatherly guidance often is related to religion in households where it is of significance. Pew Research Center found that not only do children take on their parent’s religion, but about half have all the same “religious beliefs as their parents.”

“The best thing my father taught me is to love life and be happy, to persevere and follow your dream as the world is full of disappointments and discouragements coming from all facets of life,” said Ramos.

Gift-Giving Ideas/What To Do On Father’s Day
While Father’s Day is not as commercialized as Mother’s Day, gift-giving on Father’s Day is moving beyond just a hug and “I love you.”

*COMBO GIFT. Most common as a gift and event to-do on Father’s day is treating dad to his favorite restaurant or one that he’s talked about wanting to go to but hasn’t found an occasion or time to do it.

Since the pandemic started, most Hawaii residents haven’t been to Waikiki, a magical place where many locals feel like tourists themselves, wanting to get away from the hum drum, daily scenery. Waikiki is now open for the most part. Plan an outgoing, dining plus leisurely walk down Kalakaua and along one of the most beautiful shorelines on Earth. Or make it a weekend staycation and book a room. Make reservations to wherever you plan to go to in Waikiki this Father’s Day because it’s expected to be busy and bustling.

. Father’s Day is on a Sunday but who says the celebration can’t begin on Saturday. For the outdoor-loving dad, see if camping is an option. Or on Saturday, plan a family hike or day at the beach. Bring bentos from your favorite restaurants. Then Sunday, have an outdoor BBQ in your backyard. Try not to let dads work too hard. Time to bring the kitchen outdoors ladies and work that grill.

*BUFFET HEAVEN. Face it, one of dad’s favorite pastimes is eating. And lots. If there is a buffet open that your dad loves, that’s the go-to place. But if that doesn’t work, home buffets can be equally scrumptious, even better if all of dads favorites are spread out in a long line. But be sure that line of yummy is long.


-Tech gadgets.
The key to getting the right gift is knowing your dad. Something to consider is a group buy if what your dad would really want is something pricey like the latest tech gadget or mobile phone.

-Massager. If your dad’s work is physically oriented, consider a mini portable massager to treat muscle soreness, relieve tension and reduce aches and pain. Each time he uses it, he will be reminded that it came from you. More importantly, we want to keep dad healthy and strong.

-Watch. Dads may not be into jewelry. But somehow watches don’t seem to count as one. Macho denial. A safe gift almost always appreciated is a handsome dress or casual watch. Or both.

-Tools. If your dad is a do-it-yourself kind of man, a gift certificate from one of the major hardware stores is a great idea. Why gift certificate? Because you don’t know what dad already has in his tool box or shed or what he might want. But be sure to buy that gift certificate from a large store so dad has a lot of inventory to choose from.

-Sports equipment.
We want dad around for a long time. Added exercise will help. Any sport your dad loves, try matching that with equipment. For example, if your dad is a big boxing fan, get him gloves and a punching bag. Tennis? Racket. You get the drift. One sports item that can be a way to spark family sports fun is a ping pong table.

-Personalized gift. Potentially the most sentimental and memorable gift is one that is personalized. Children and wives with talent in art (all mediums) or writing might pursue this option. Buy a canvass and paint a masterpiece specifically with your dad in mind. For writing, it could be a poem. It could be a short story. It could also be an expository narrative on a particular chapter in your father’s life like when he came to America or met your mom. Maybe use special paper to print out your work. Be creative, even with binding. Perhaps make it look like a mini-book.If you’re not the artist by any stretch, everyone can take a picture. Photography is art. Get one of your favorite photos with your dad in it enlarged and framed. Choose a custom frame or make one. When presenting the gift, tell him why this picture meant so much to you. That story will be remembered whenever he passes by that photo.

Father’s Day is Back
For many people it was difficult to skip Father’s Day celebration to the pandemic last year. Once was enough. It’s time to continue this special annual tradition. Have fun and be safe. Happy Father’s Day to all dads around the world. Mabuhay!

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