Father's Day 2021: Reflections on the role of dads
- Credit: Cal-I Jonel
“Spending time with my children was the silver lining of the past year, seeing their growth and sharing a sense of peace and joy together.”
That is a message from actor Cal-I Jonel, who thinks Father’s Day is particularly meaningful this year.
The Romford father-of-two told this paper: “The role of fathers has been very important to many families during the pandemic.
“Because I wasn't doing loads of shows each week, I was at home with my children which gave me an incredible opportunity to get to know them even better.
“I learnt so much about them, and despite the hardships I am so grateful for the experiences we have shared.”
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Cal-I plans to celebrate Father’s Day at home with wife Zara, nine-year-old daughter Ebony-Grace and eight-year-old son Elijah.
His family uses a gratitude jar to appreciate one another throughout the year.
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“We write down something we're grateful for and put it in a big glass jar, and on special days we open it and read out the messages,” he said.
“It allows us to come together and appreciate the day.”
Cal-I, a qualified teacher who retrained at Identity School of Acting and Maktub Theatre in 2018, explained Father’s Day might be difficult for people who had different experiences of fatherhood.
He explained: “I totally understand why people don't celebrate it, due to their personal circumstances.
“I recognise that not everyone will feel the same, and I have become more sensitive and mindful to the diverse people around me as I've gotten older.”
For Hornchurch-based Saffa Kallon, Father’s Day holds a different meaning.
The accountant, who lives with partner Claudia, their daughter Niyari-Reign, five, and his stepson Macarthy-Kallon, 12, said Father’s Day is a time to reflect on being a step-parent.
Saffa explained: “My father wasn’t around when I was growing up, but my stepfather was, and I’ve had to work on my relationships with both of them over time.
“Because of this, I found it hard to navigate being a stepfather myself, and have tried to find a balance between being an authoritative figure and being someone for him to look up to, respect and love.”
The family will have a meal together on June 20, but first Saffa plans on treating himself to a child-free game of golf.
Cal-I and Saffa are both contributors to new book DAD: Untold stories of Fatherhood, Love, Mental Health and Masculinity.