It’s Father’s Day in a few days time and it is important that we celebrate our fathers and remind ourselves of the crucial part a father plays in the upbringing of children.
It used to be in times past that the position of the father was revered. Fathers were a strong presence if not in the actual rearing of the child but in their homes. They were highly respected, seen as the last line of authority and resolution of conflict in the home and were active in the discipline of their children. The words- “I will tell daddy” or “your father will hear about this “ were sure to put fear in the heart of every erring child.
Most of them were unapproachable even if very responsible. They took their duties as fathers seriously and strived to bring up their children well. Of course they were victims of their own upbringing and had many faults but all in all, their presence in the home was not diminished. They were the Lions of their homes and their word was law.
Overtime, we have seen the influence of the father in the home becoming severely diminished and it is due to many causes, the least not being the rise of feminism as well as the education and the entry of women into the workplace. I have always cringed at the portrayal in sitcoms ( e.g the Simpsons) which depict the father of the house as a weakling, a simpleton who is unaware of the happenings in his own home and a person whose authority should be derided.
Fathers seem to be an endangered species and it’s a dangerous thought that their role is not as important as the mothers in bringing up the child. The statistics show that children who grow up with absent-fathers can suffer lasting damage. They are more likely to end up in poverty or drop out of school, become addicted to drugs, have a child out of wedlock or end up in prison.
A Father’s presence is a source of stability to the home. Children are more prone to obey them and they can get them to do anything with a simple calm command whilst we mother’s have to shout several times before our children pay us any mind. There is something about a father that makes his daughters adore him and his sons respect him. They are the first role models for their children – the kind of men the daughters look for and the sons look up to.
I was said to be a daddy’s girl but my dad and I rarely saw eye to eye when I was growing up. Even though he and my mum were separated and we lived with her, he made efforts to be part of our lives, thanks to my mum who never denied him access nor restricted our relationship.
I recollect an incident that spoke about the dynamics of our relationship. He had taken a chieftaincy title and I wasn’t in favour of it, so I refused to acknowledge him as a chief and one day I wrote him a letter addressed to Mr Yemi Martins. He returned the letter unopened to me with the instruction that it should be properly addressed. I thought long and hard about it and returned the letter in an envelope marked – Daddy. The man had no choice but to open it except if he wanted to tell me he wasn’t my father.
My dad was a jaiye-jaiye guy but he made time to be in my life and I have loads of memories about him. I remember crossing the River Niger on a train with him and children of the SOS children’s home on a trip to Jos when he was president of the Ogba chapter of the Rotary Club. He was a good cook who taught me how to cook rice without it being water logged and helped me master the use of the cutlery. He took my siblings and I on month long trips abroad and told us several stories some made up and some real about his adventures as a boy.
I will be the first to acknowledge the fact that most men of my generation are responsible fathers who are ever mindful of their obligations and duties to their children. They are much more approachable and are more involved in their children’s lives. It is no secret in my home that as far as my children are concerned, Mr Aisi was a better parent than I am. At age 5 our daughter told everyone who cared to know she loved her father more than her mother. And it was okay with me. I really don’t understand why some women are jealous of the relationship their husbands have with their children so far it is not abusive or untoward, as far as I am concerned, every parent has their place in a child’s life.
In their manual “The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children,” authors Jeffrey Rosenberg and W. Bradford Wilcox quoted sociologist David Popenoe as stating that one of the most vital aspects of a dad’s contribution to the lives of his kids lies precisely in his significantly different parenting style. He states that “Fathers love their children “more dangerously.” That’s because they play “rougher” and are more likely to encourage risk-taking. They provide kids with a broader diversity of social experiences. They also introduce them to a wider variety of methods of dealing with life. They tend to stress rules, justice, fairness, and duty in discipline.
In this way, they teach children the objectivity and consequences of right and wrong. They give kids insight into the world of men. They prepare them for the challenges of life and demonstrate by example the meaning of respect between the sexes. Fathers encourage competition, engendering independence. Mothers promote equity, creating a sense of security. Dad’s emphasize conceptual communication, which helps kids expand their vocabulary and intellectual capacities. Mom’s major in sympathy, care, and help, thus demonstrating the importance of relationships. Dads tend to see their children in relation to the rest of the world. Moms tend to see the rest of the world in relation to their children. Neither style of parenting is adequate in and of itself. Taken together, they balance each other out and equip the up-and-coming generation with a healthy, well-rounded approach to life.
All in all , fathers are important and the younger generation will do well to avoid the mistakes of the older generation and adopt their strengths.
I wish all fathers a happy Father’s Day. May your sons honor and respect you and may your daughter’s always see in you a similitude of God the father.