Every day is a Father’s day – at least, this is true for those that remained in the motherland – what about fathers in the Diaspora?
According AOL news contributor Chris Epting “You could call Sonora Smart Dodd the "Mother of Father's Day." After all, the holiday, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year (2010), was inspired by her”.
To commemorate Sonora’s father’s day legacy, I was one of three dads around the twin cities area that was interviewed by Kristin Tillotson from Star Tribune, a local news paper in Minneapolis, MN-USA. In the interview, she asked me what does being a father means to you? I replied: whenever I see myself in the mirror, I see my father. My father, Issa Barre, (Allahu Arxamahu) who died in 08/2011 in Minneapolis, MN, truly involved in my life.
Yes, true, he did and I would never have a chance to write this article if it was not his everyday inspiration to educate me which is one of the many essential tasks that fathers are required to guide to their children. Thanks to God [Allah], I am a father of four wonderful boys and two beautiful twin girls. Now being a father and having my own children, I am very sure that they expect me to raise them like my father. Off course, I will never be better than my father, but I am trying to be the best father that I could possibly be.
Having said that, I was fortunate to have educated, motivated and selfless father that believed that his family comes first and anything else comes second. Any Somali can easily understand what this statement means as we are culturally family oriented community. Somali fathers are unique, they do not compromise their family and children’s responsibly and obligation.
However, many of us, at least those in the Diaspora, are far away from the uniqueness and the comfort of the Somali culture. As a matter of fact, we are now adapting to new cultures and facing challenges from the new countries that adopted us. Going back to Chris Epting’s article “Within a year, June 19, 1910 was designated as the first Father's Day…Sunday sermons were themed around the importance of fatherhood”.
Therefore, while we are, the Somali Diaspora fathers, adjusting and adapting the new
cultures, rules and regulations we encountered in the hosting countries, can we have our own Somali Diaspora father’s day every year on July, 31? We can and we should commence this year: the 1st Somali Diaspora father’s day on 07/31/2012, at least, in the twin cities. I know according to our faith and culture everyday is a father’s day. However, to designate a date for father’s day, it may add more details our cultural believe.
Finally, I would like to encourage to all Somali Diaspora fathers in and outside of our
motherland, Somalia, to actively involve their children as my father did despite
the constant challenges they faced as a result of resettling in a new countries,
etc. Do not give up or quit on your child - they need you now more than you know.