Today, Trinidad & Tobago joins the rest of the world in honouring good and loving fathers as role models, exemplars and guardians of their children.
And while thousands of families in our country will be showing their deep affections with presents, cards and family events, please always remember that sometimes, the greatest gift can be the simple words that we say to fathers on why we love and honour them.
Today, the role of father has taken on numerous modern elements that define how important good fathers are to how children grow, and what tomorrow’s world will be.
Traditional perceptions of fathers as disciplinarians, providers and protectors have evolved into the present where the role of parent is one shared and carried out equally, whether it is in fulfilling the life needs, or emotional needs of children.
This means that those traditional perceptions of fathers being the stronger ones, less in need of emotional comfort and more inclined to bear the responsibilities of providing for children must also evolve.
Especially for single fathers, and indeed single mothers who must also carry out the role of fathers, the demands to provide the care of both parents means greater responsibility to provide a safe and stable environment for children.
You must provide comfort, even as you instill discipline; you must ensure the physical needs of children are met, even as you try hard to provide for their emotional needs.
To the many fathers who have taken on their roles, understanding that they have an important role to play in building a nation they want their children to be part of, you must be commended and saluted.
To the fathers who have not lived up to the needs of their children, always take heart that it is never too late to do better.
Fatherhood is a sacred duty; one that ensures that children grow with confidence. But it is also a tremendous obligation to ensure that the stable environment our children need is created and protected.
To those who have not been good fathers, it is important to understand that the example you set for your children will build the nation we live in tomorrow. Healthy, safe, protected and confident children represent the hope we have for the future of our country, and fathers are critical to preserving that hope.
It was the widely acclaimed Evangelist, Billy Graham, who once said: “A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”
And so I urge our nation’s children – always ensure that your father knows how much you appreciate and love them.
They are your first Teachers, your first Doctors, your first friends, and Father’s Day must be the day that you show, unequivocally that you appreciate them and love them.
On this occasion of Father’s Day, I send my fondest wishes to all citizens who have taken up this sacred duty.
Today is a day when many families also remember and pay tribute to fathers who have passed away.
To you, I wish you God’s grace; your fathers will always live on in the memories you keep.
And to all Fathers, I wish you good health, strength and love as you carry out your role as the builders of the future.
Happy Father’s Day!
Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC, MP
Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
June 21, 2015