14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 19 June 2016 – Those of us who have had the joy of being parents spend our lives asking ourselves whether we have done well, if in the strict judgment our children will make about our work will we earn a good score, a mediocre grade or, instead, a resounding disapproval.
The Venezuelan singer Franco de Vita says it is “not enough” to feed our offspring, surround them with comforts and conveniences, or guarantee that they receive an education, we must also respond to their questions. But our answers, which we have to improvise in a second, will be the most momentous memories our children have of us.
“Ah! From my father I learned” reads a very popular H. Upmann cigar commercial from the Republican era. Today we are proud to have children who don’t smoke, either because they saw us with a cigarette in our mouth, or because they witnessed our efforts to give up the vice, while they hid our cigarettes from us or dunked our packs in a bucket of water.
However, there are days when being a father is more difficult. Like on one of those afternoons when they come home full of ingenuity and recite a poem dedicated to Ernesto Guevara in which they assert that, “Two droplets of water fell on my feet and the mountains were crying because they killed Che.” The first reaction of any responsible father is to shout “No!” That they should not be like that Argentine with his stereotypical ideas and trigger-happiness, but every word spoken only sinks them into the abyss of ideological problems and social stigma.
Others will be more forgotten, Like Carlos Manuel Cespedes whom we call “the father of the nation” because when the Spanish proposed that he lay down his arms in exchange for the life of his son, whom they had taken prisoner, he made the dramatic decision to continue the struggle and his son was executed. This Sunday, Father’s Day, none of those who usurp the name of the “fatherland” have brought flowers to his statue in the Plaza de Armas in Old Havana.
Being a father in Cuba is very difficult. Because among all the dramatic dilemmas involved in paternity is placing them in a fragile boat to leave the country, or deciding that it is better to try to save the country for them and to involve them in the task. But while something like this is being decided, it happens that they are growing up and becoming parents, to begin to experience first hand how this hazardous and gratifying is the road that is having children.
No university offers a degree to improve parenting, no diploma certifies that we are good at achieving it.