I grew up witnessing that a father has to be very firm, in control, his children have to dive for cover when he arrives. In my formative years, I observed fathers yelling at their children to have things done when it seems delayed or not taken seriously. I also saw children discussing freely without a sense of reverence, perceived as being disrespectful. You have to show from your posture and poise that there is a high regard for your parents, especially your father. These continued for well over two decades until I met the love of my life.
In the early stages of our friendship, I visited her at her parents, and on some of those visits, saw how free they were with their father. On one of those visits, I witnessed her youngest sibling sitting on their father’s lap and debating a point with him. At first, I thought to myself, “this is rude, totally uncalled for”, not in my wildest dream would I or any of my siblings dare to “try” that with my father, we were just not brought up that way. This was a paradigm shift for me, but somehow, I felt within my heart, this is parent-child relationship at its best. Further visits revealed the love and the bond in her family. All these and more endeared me towards her family and before long, I proposed and that was ten years ago.
I realised that what took over two decades to be entrenched in my life will not easily be taken away, even with deliberate effort. The guarantee however, is that I will never be who I used to be, and its only a matter of time before I become the person I was meant to be. My upbringing would have formed the way with which I father my children, if I did not make deliberate efforts to unlearn and relearn sound parenting principles. History has a funny way of pressing the repeat button in our lives through generations; cycles are repeated, if the trend described above continues. It becomes very essential to look critically at your own trend and ask; “is my understanding of my role in my children’s life influenced by my upbringing or the way it ought to be done?”
I have a favourite quote that I used in guiding my decisions as it relates to my family
“Fathers, don’t be outwardly focused to the detriment of your family. Do not allow someone else raise your family for you while you are still alive.”
Spending time with your family doesn’t imply using all your time with them, the emphasis is – balance. We must realise that if it is not done, we might be laying foundation for future regrets and pain.
Am I saying this will be easy? Absolutely not! It is a huge responsibility that requires lots of sacrifices. The relevance of a man goes beyond sexual relationship and having children, it requires a good understanding of the purpose of marriage in the first instance and also the role of children in our lives. The purpose of marriage stem from the understanding that God instituted it. Therefore, it takes God’s guiding principles to make it succeed. Secondly, parents are only stewards and not owners, and the person with an ownership mindset have tendencies to take some decisions without reckoning with God’s position on the subject.
A father provides spiritual covering and mentoring for his children. He is the one that should teach them about values and guide their decisions right from their formative years into adulthood. This protects the children from negative external influences from their environment. He should understand their uniqueness, and help them maximize it; it might be in areas the father naturally desire for them or not. It is about the future of the children and not that of the father. Providing sound leadership will help them make vital decisions concerning their lives and future; and this is the most critical part of fatherhood. The father should go beyond a daddy figure to become a Role Model to them. Someone once said that one of the best gift you can give your children is loving your wife, their mother. What they see you do with your wife is registered in their heart as the right thing, good or bad. Remember, “things are more caught than taught” when it comes to children, meaning that they do what they see, not what they are told.
When loving and respecting their mother is entrenched in them, loving and respecting their own spouses is a given.
Seeing it from this perspective changes your configuration and make you ensure that work doesn’t take you away from your role in the life of your children.
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