Yesterday, in the United States, we celebrated Father’s Day, a holiday honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. Over the past thirty years living in Asia, I have been fortunate to celebrate Father’s Day twice a year, as Father’s Day in China is celebrated each year on August 8, which is known as “bā bā”, also known as 八八 “eight eight”. If it is not entirely clear, “bā bā” sounds similar to the informal word for father in China (爸爸, bàba).
With the hotly contested NBA finals championship win of the Golden State Warriors last week, we saw a lot of fatherly influence. I personally loved the celebration of Steph Curry’s father at the end of the game hugging Steph, and I also appreciated the frequent presence and involvement of Gary Payton’s dad, Gary Payton Sr. Both Steph Curry and Gary Payton’s fathers played prominent roles in previous NBA teams, and this made the connection the players had with their fathers extra special. Al Horford, the Boston Celtics center’s father also played professionally and was present throughout the tournament. Here’s a picture of Steph and his dad at the conclusion of the finals.
Family and Fatherhood
Of all the joys in my life, I have to say spending time with my wife and kids tops the list. I certainly love the time I spend with my siblings and friends, but nothing beats the happiness I have experienced as a father. Yesterday I spent the day with Jacquelin, Samuel, and Lisa just hanging around together. Working at home for the past several years with both Jacquelin and Samuel, and watching them work through their daily work challenges, has been a treat. I have learnt so much from Jacquelin about doing PR in the entertainment industry, and Samuel is my personal Web3 advisor and guru.
As a young father I once had a conversation with a colleague of mine who was also a father. He advised how important it was to find balance in your work and most importantly, “to be present” in your kid’s lives. Looking back on my own childhood I loved it when my dad showed up at my soccer and football games, and he was certainly present, and I also loved the long conversations I had with him about work. He was always a great listener and full of great metaphors. Most made sense, but some didn’t and that was ok, because they were amusing. Ironically, I find myself displaying many of my dad’s characteristics and mannerisms as I age. Here’s a fun photo of the man himself.
My wife, Lisa, also had a wonderful role model in her stepfather, Wei Jin Chen. Her stepfather married her mother, adopted my wife and her brother and sister, and later had two more children. He was a hard working, accountable and very principled person and I am honored to have experienced his influence. Here is a photo from our wedding more than 27 years ago.
Present And Accountable Fatherhood
One thing I have learned in my 59 years is the importance of a present and accountable father cannot be underscored in any child’s development. I have had many role models in my life to follow, and I also have friends who have not had present fathers and they often reminded me how lucky I am.
Nothing captures the importance of fatherhood more than the countless videos on social media channels when military servicemen come home to surprise their children at important life events. I should note this is not gender specific, because there are many videos of military mother’s also surprising their kids, however I just want to highlight the feel-good emotion of these videos. Here’s just one fantastic example of many I have seen.
Fatherhood & Art
The sanctity of fatherhood is characterized in many art forms. I was listening to the radio and heard Cat Stevens Father and Son song about an emotional exchange between a father not understanding a son’s desire to break away and shape a new life, and the son who cannot really explain himself but knows that it is time for him to seek his own destiny. Love this.
As for movies, I have many “fatherhood” favorites. I highly recommend John Q featuring Denzel Washington of one such example. My daughter’s all-time favorite movie is Big Fish, which is classic. More recently, I really enjoyed King Richard about the father of tennis sensations Venus and Serena Williams. If you look past the link to the Oscar events involving Will Smith, his portrayal of Richard Williams was fantastic.
To close out today’s Monday Morning Mojo, two other inspirational examples worth highlighting. In my search for stories related to fathers, I came across this story of a Chinese father in Sichuan Province who carried his disabled son 18 miles to school everday. There was another father I read about in the same article who created beeping Easter eggs so his blind daughter could participate in the Easter tradition of hunting for eggs. Salute to both of these fathers.
Just a bit of a download on random topics related to fathers for today’s Monday Morning Mojo. Have a great week everyone and a personal thanks to Jacquelin, Samuel and Lisa for everything yesterday.
Onwards and upwards.