The fatherhood cycle

BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - June 20, 2021 - 12:00am

Here is a question for you. What is the connection between being a great father and shaving? Reed Markham, says: “Being a great father is like shaving. No matter how good you shaved today, you have to do it again tomorrow.” I have been doing shaving and fathering every day for years. And I still am today.

There is this thing called the cycle of fatherhood.

At 4 years of age: “My Daddy can do anything.”

7 years: “My Dad knows a lot, a whole lot.”

12 years: “Oh, well - naturally - Father doesn’t know that either.”

14 years: “Father? Hopelessly old-fashioned.”

21 years: “Oh, that man is so out-of-date. What did you expect?”

25 years: “He knows a little bit about it - but not much.”

30 years: “Maybe we ought to find out what Dad thinks.”

35 years: “Let’s ask Dad what he would do before we make a decision.”

40 years: “I wonder what Dad would have thought about that? He was pretty smart.”

50 years: “My Dad knew absolutely everything.”

60 years: “I’d give anything if Dad were here so I could talk this over with him. I really miss that man.” That’s life, isn’t it?

My kids are grown up. It’s heartening to know that the more they mature, the more Father’s Day means a lot to them. It took me a long time to realize this. I had to go through certain stages too.

When they were younger, I felt bad when they forget my birthdays.

When they were younger, I felt bad when they did not even greet me “Happy Father’s Day!”

When they were younger, I felt bad when they rushed out of the house to be with their friends on Christmas Eve.

When they were younger, I felt bad when they seem to be spending more time with their friends than with their folks.

But now I realize they’re all part of the stages of life.

My kids do not forget my birthday this time. They all chipped in and gifted me a Herman Miller chair that has supported me mainly for all the eight to nine hours of work I do every day during the lockdown. My kids make sure they stay with us on Christmas Eve. And they surprise me with a little something on Father’s Day.

Father’s Day is both a joy and a worry as my kids are growing up. I was always afraid they are going to give me a present that I couldn’t afford. But all of them are now successful entrepreneurs so that is outside the purview of my worries.

I’ve accomplished many things in life. I have been given standing ovations, multiple awards, recognition, and stuff. But all these are in no comparison to the joy and fulfillment of having children loving each other and still expressing their love for their aging parents. I also had challenges, triumphs and tragedies are part of life’s different stages, but kids and family do not abandon me.

Father’s Day is not just receiving gifts from my wife and kids. They already are. Family happiness is homemade. The legendary basketball coach John Wooden says: “The most important thing in the world is family and love.”

I am home most of the time, even before COVID-19 happened and forces many to stay home all the time. I do not mean to be insensitive to those who find it hard, but the Ilocana and I are enjoying staying home most of the time because we enjoy the company of the kids.

Fathering continues at my stage in life, although the approach may be a little different. Now I enjoy watching the kids do business, listening to their funny stories, and offering just a tiny bit of business and life advice for them to appreciate. It has been said that “One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” And I take up this role seriously. As I remind participants in my leadership training webinars, leadership begins at home. Evangelist Billy Graham said: “A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”

Today is an excellent opportunity for kids to express their love and appreciation for their parents. For your mom, you can say: “You’ve given me so much to be grateful for.” Then get a box of tissues ready. And to your dad, you can say, “Well done, dad – I turned out awesome!” That is all he wants to hear! And then continue shaving!




(Francis Kong’s highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership Master Class Online runs this June 22-24, 2021. Develop your leadership skills that translate into personal, career, and business growth. For inquiries and reservations, contact April at +63928-559-1798 or and for more information, visit www.levelupleadership.ph).

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