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Oxford Unfiltered

Father's Day

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Philip Baldwin

Father’s Day 2020 will certainly be a Father’s Day like no other. Many of us will not be able to see relatives in person this year. My own father lives in Portugal and it may be 2021 before I am able to fly there.

Coronavirus has taught us to adapt and, while we might not be able to spend time in the physical presence of relatives, as a nation we have turned to technologies – out of necessity – such as FaceTime, Zoom and other video conferencing platforms.

Despite being in my thirties, I am far from tech-savvy. Up until a few months ago, I was a Zoom novice. Now I use it almost daily.

Others are simply picking up the phone more, to relatives, but also rekindling long-lost friendships. We have learnt to treasure relationships which previously we may have taken for granted. Many of my friends now check in several times a week, or on a daily basis, with family members.

I find myself taking pleasure in even the most basic of social interactions. I thank the postman for delivering our mail and smile at the checkout assistant in the supermarket.

A lucky few have been seeing more of their families than ever – two of my friends moved back in with their parents at the end of February. They figured it would be easier, mentally and financially, to weather the pandemic with the help of mum and dad.

While the pandemic has had many negative consequences, our increased familiarity with new technologies will be beneficial. Our behavioural patterns have shifted. In the future, many of us will continue to meet, for example, via Zoom, for work and pleasure, reducing carbon emissions.

However you choose to celebrate Father’s Day this year, I hope it is a happy occasion. And to the fathers out there, you are loved and I suspect more in our hearts than ever before.

@philipcbaldwin

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