Courage Redefined

Four fathers and nine kids made Project Fathers Unite.  That was what my husband and three other fathers called their day out with their children. The four men were on leave from work and decided to come together to spend a whole day of quality time with their kids. Scored points with the wives? You bet. The program for the day was outdoor play and rollerblading at Pasir Ris Park, dinner at the airport, followed by more running and bouncing around the airport.

We all met up a few days later at another function and talked about it. The mothers agreed that this was definitely something the fathers should do more often. One of the mums asked, “Did they wash their hands before dinner?” A silent pause from the dads ensued, followed by an assurance that the kids washed their hands after play at the park. Not a direct or expected answer, but the task was done nonetheless. And that’s the difference between father-love from mother-love. Fathers play and parent differently from mothers; and kids can tell the difference; as observed by my son, “Papa plays with us, Mummy takes care of us.”

A lot of research has gone into why and how fathers matter in parenting. A father is more than just a second adult in the house (although sometimes they don’t act like adults, especially when they’ve got their latest electronic gadgets). Fathers challenge “go faster!” Mothers advise “be careful!” Mothers cuddle, fathers roughhouse. Fathers bring a set of unique parenting skills to the family, something that mothers can’t replace.

Some may feel that a father’s main role is to provide for the family, maybe spend some time with the kids on their homework and that’s good enough. After all, our fathers and their fathers didn’t really spend that much time with us, and we turned out fine.

Adam: “I’ve been doing about half of what I should be doing as a dad.”

Shane: “You’re being too hard on yourself. You’ve been a good enough father.”

Adam: “I don’t want to be a good enough father…”

Good enough? These words of Adam and Shane are taken from the movie Courageous. I had the privilege of watching the preview of this powerful movie. It is action-packed, inspirational, thought-provoking, humorous and touching all rolled into 130 minutes. It is a movie by fathers, for fathers, to reconcile with their past, engage with their present and move forward with a bold resolution for the future.

Why the title “Courageous” though? I thought words like “Honor” or “Strength” may seem more related to fathers. What’s courage got to do with fatherhood? I like this quote that I came across  that encapsulates what the movie is about and why it is called Courageous – “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

There is a resolution in the movie that calls fathers to declare and commit to. When I read the words of The Resolution, I then understood that it truly takes a courageous man to make such a bold commitment. Words like “I will bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength. I will train them to honor authority and live responsibly. I will confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy… I will learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God…” This is a call to fathers to a standard above mediocrity, a standard of excellence, and more than just “good enough”.

Courageous is now screening at Cathay cinemas.

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