Micronesian men offer fatherly advice

By Jasmine Stole Weiss for Pacific Daily News June 20, 2021

In his village in Chuuk, Ansito Walter, PhD, a University of Guam professor and former governor of Chuuk State, is just “Ansito.”

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Even the small children call to him, “Ansito!” Dr. Walter laughed when he recalled this. Walter said his father too would remind him that even if he’s a university professor or the governor, he will always be his son, Ansito.

Walter knew his father always wanted the best for him.

“Without my father, I’d never be what I am today,” Walter said. His father protected him and made sure he would study. If he disciplined Walter, Walter said he knew it was because his father wanted him to have a better future.

Dr. Walter’s father reminds me of my own. My father valued education and insisted we do our best in school so we could go to college and conceivably settle into well-paid professions. (Too bad I developed an almost untreatable appetite for writing and, worse, being a newspaper reporter, a notably low-earning profession that’s been labeled more than once as the worst job in America.)

This Father’s Day, I reached out to some dads, papas and bapas of Micronesia. They shared their advice and memories.

Father-son fishing trip

Christopher deBrum, chief of staff for the President of the Marshall Islands, said he’d be taking his sons out on a fishing trip to their home atoll, Likiep in the Ratak Chain this Father’s Day.

“Not just for me to enjoy but for my sons too so that when they grow up and become fathers, they themselves can also share with their sons,” deBrum said.

All of my brothers are fathers too. When asked what advice they often share with my nieces and nephews, my oldest brother said he tells his daughter not to grow up too fast. “Stop and smell the flowers,” he said.

And, because she’s still a toddler, he usually advises her, “Put that down.” (Lol)

Strive for excellence

My second oldest brother said he reminds his kids to be the best version of themselves.

“Do the best you can, no matter what you are doing. Even if you are a toilet cleaner, be the best at it. Strive for excellence,” he said. My brother embodies this advice. He is a ruthlessly hard worker.

For Dr. Walter, he said is grateful to the Guam community for their hospitality. He and countless other fathers have made Guam their home. The indigenous people of Guam shared their resources, shared their hospitality and shared their love, and Dr. Walter urged people to reciprocate that hospitality, respect and love.

Thank you to the fathers who shared their thoughts with me and a Happy Father’s Day to all of you fathers and father figures.

Jasmine Stole Weiss is a Micronesian writer. She writes more in her newsletter, The Husk, at thehusk.substack.com. Send feedback and advice from your Micronesian father to jasminesw098@gmail.com.




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