Don't risk commercialising Father's Day

I am amazed by the overwhelming focus accorded to Father's Day this year, to the extent that it has become a national movement.

This begs the question: Have fathers been found wanting in the upbringing and development of their children?

I am in my 60s, and have played a very active role in bringing up my three children, from physical, mental and psychological development since they were infants, to providing guidance and resources throughout their school and growing-up years until they graduated from university.

Even though they are adults now and largely independent, they still seek my counsel on some matters.

So, in essence, I am a dad for life.

Many friends in my age group are no different. They were active fathers too, and still are.

To me, fatherhood is one of life's choices.

We have the liberty to decide whether or not to embrace fatherhood. There is no coercion.

However, if we do, we need to be cognisant of the fact that it comes with its attendant responsibilities and obligations which we must fulfil.

The joy and reward of fatherhood are in seeing our children well brought up to be useful individuals in society.

Hence, I do not subscribe to the idea of being thanked and appreciated each year on Father's Day.

Because, with this, we risk Father's Day becoming commercialised, like Valentine's Day, for instance, when children are forced by circumstances to celebrate with gifts, meals and other tangible manifestations.

Children's appreciation of their fathers should be a lifelong circumstance, not an annual declaration.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2016, with the headline 'Don't risk commercialising Father's Day'. Print Edition | Subscribe