Happy Fathers’ Day

Many of us in Finland will be celebrating Fathers’ Day on Sunday 11th November. The day is particularly nice for the fathers of small children. I myself have fond memories of getting lovingly crafted cards and presents made by my children when they were at their Finnish kindergartens. In fact, I still own many I received more than 20 years ago. And it was always a real treat to be served breakfast in bed on that one morning a year.

In Britain, as Fathers’ Day is on the third Sunday of June, I used to tell my kids that I should be entitled to two Fathers’ Days a year. But they never really warmed to the idea. And so, I have always had to be satisfied with being a Finnish father.

This year, I realise for the first time how the day can also have a tinge of sadness to it, especially for those who do not have a father to greet. In my case, my father died in the spring and this is the first of what will be many Father’s Days without him.

Sunday November 11th also marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Across Europe, and around the world, there will be many parades and ceremonies to mark the official armistice at 11 o’clock on the 11.11. This deadly conflict claimed the lives of 16 million soldiers between 1914 -1918. The average age of a soldier was only 19, which meant that most would never have experienced the joy of fatherhood before their short lives were terminated so tragically.

I am so grateful that I have been fortunate enough to be a father. I am certainly a better person from the experience. And even if you have never been a parent yourself, I hope you still feel that the day has importance. Many say that it is just a commercial event, that doesn’t need to be observed.  In that respect, I can assure you that expensive presents are not the important thing on the day. Instead, it is far better to give your father a homemade card if he is still around. Trust me, you will really make his day!