I’ve entered a stage in my life where I’ve celebrated Father’s Day from both sides, as a son honoring my own father, and for the last two years as a father, feeling deep love and appreciation from my own child. As Father’s Day approaches I’ve been reflecting on my own father’s experience, not only as a Dad, but also as a son. We tend to see our fathers as giants and often forget that like us those giants were once children with “giant” fathers of their own, and those fathers, our grandfathers, were once children too. Each generation of fathers provides an opportunity to evolve, to reflect on our own childhood, to build upon the strengths of our own fathers and, as a much harder task, to leave behind those qualities that do not serve us.
As parents, sometimes being with our children can flood us with nostalgia and other times our own childhood wounds can be brought to the surface. Father’s Day is a great time to reflect on the way we were fathered and to decide which qualities we wish to repeat or pass on to our children, and which qualities inside of us now need to be acknowledged, healed or redirected.
This Father’s Day I am grateful for my own father and for the way that he has evolved as a father and as a man. I honor his journey from son, to father, to grandfather. I am grateful for our long discussions over chess games, for our productive reflections on the past, and for his patience and unconditional support as I work to become the best Dad that I can be.
As the author of the Maui Dad Blog, I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet with and learn from so many Dads around Maui that I may not have otherwise had the chance to meet. The fifth installment of the Maui Dad Blog features an interview with Dean Wong, Executive Director of Imua Family Services. It was an honor to interview Dean for the Maui Dad Blog. I found his thoughtful, loving, and honest responses to be inspiring.
Please enjoy the following excerpt from Dean’s interview. You can read this interview in its entirety and find other Maui Dad interviews at mauidad.com under the “blog” tab, and now also under the blog tab at mauimamazine.com
Excerpt from Maui Dad Interview #5 with Dean Wong:
“Our favorite place to eat together is at home around the dinner table. I firmly believe that this is where families should eat together. Having grown up in restaurants, the family dinner table is something that I never experienced. My father was always busy cooking for everyone else and was never able to sit with me, although, as I was growing up, he cooked every meal that I ever ate, and he made everything with such love. Food is so important to me. In my book, it is not what you eat but eating together that is most important. One of my favorite things is to engage Tino in helping me in the kitchen; it brings my times with my own father back to life. Our favorite food to prepare together is cookies. It has been a great way to introduce Tino to the kitchen. After making cookies together, anything that involves crushing, mashing, pounding, stirring, or using the mixer is a hit.
Being a father has caused me to reflect a lot on my relationship with my own father, who passed away when I was 27 years old; I understand him so much better now. I wish that he was around to see me as a father and to meet my son. For me, becoming a father to my son has brought my own father back to life.”
Image Credit: Maui Dad Blog Interview #5