Fathers play a major role in defining manhood to their sons. My defining moments of manhood were when my father acknowledged who I was and what I did as a man.
I remember when we were kids, we would always run to mama every time we would get our knees scraped or get hurt. Why? Mama nurtures us and kisses our boo-boos away. When we tried going to dad, he’d tell us it was fine and we wouldn’t die. He was teaching us a valuable lesson on manhood–it’s okay to fall, but learn how to get up, stop whining, and move on with life.
My dad was a fighter. He was from a poor provincial family in Tuao, Cagayan. His father died early, leaving him and his mother to take care of 11 siblings. Tuao was not as progressive as the other towns, so he went to look for a job in Manila. He worked as a runner (or kargador) of textiles for many years. It was not a dream job. It was a menial job, but it was an honest and honorable job. My father learned how to save because his dream was to have his own store in Divisoria.
After years of saving, he made a bold move and started his own business. It wasn’t easy, but he was faithful with the work. From his humble beginnings in Tuao, Dad was able to rise up and grow his own business, provide sufficiently for his siblings, and then later on his own family. He knew how to fight the battles in front of him. He never backed down from the challenges of life and business. In 2012, he served as the president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Tuao. He has given back to his province by donating school buildings, and he has also helped his province progress in a time of economic growth in the country. Papa told me how to fight the battles I am now facing, as a man.
It was the same way when I decided to marry my wife Thammie. My Mom was so worried that I might not be able to provide for her, and if everything would turn out okay, but not Dad. Dad just smiled, and with authority assured my Mom that everything would be alright.
When I planted our church in Greenhills, my father would visit me at least four times a year unannounced. He attends another church, but he would set aside time to see how his son was doing. It was his way of communicating how proud he was of me, and to just keep on doing what I was doing.
When we needed to expand our church facilities, my dad offered to help financially. He was again saying, “Son, I’m with you all the way.”
Excerpts from the book Act Like a Man. Now available in all National Bookstore Outlets and House of Praise. Also for those wanting to buy the ebook, click on the link.