My Father’s Day Post – A Week Late!

It was Father’s Day on Sunday and as a result of the celebrations, I began to reflect. As a father to be, I was congratulated “Happy Father’s Day” by well-wishers and this made me remember how I deeply desired to be a father immediately after I had finished university.

A few years ago, it was my intention to have my own child. During that time, a significant number of my friends were popping children and over the course of three years, I had become a Godparent to four lovely kids. It all happened so quickly and as a result, I made up my mind that I was ready for mine too. For some reason, I thought that I was that guy (I’m that guy now though Haha), I thought I could father a child even though I did not completely understand the role of a father in a child’s life. I did not realise that there were so many sacrifices my own father made. Also, Instagram definitely did not help as seeing pictures of my friends and their kids on Instagram made me want a child more. It got to a point that I even had a discussion with the person I was seeing at the time and she was keen too – Let’s start life! If only she knew my actual plans were just to satisfy myself and not really about starting life with her because I definitely wasn’t thinking of that (Forgive Me)! Thinking about it now, “WHAT A BUBBLE I WAS IN!” I wanted a child to show off – who does that? Wants a child to show off? Only Tobi!

Often times, I wonder how my life would have been different if I had become a dad – but with what I have come to know that I was not ready and did not understand what it really means to be a FATHER! Some people will argue that you can never really be prepared but I think there is a mindset to have before becoming a father. I wanted to become one because everyone was having a child and I was probably thinking that all I have to do was to be there financially, not realising that the role of a father is more than a bank (well to a certain age).  At least, I understood then that as a father you are a provider, amongst many other roles that I now know of, because I was always quick to run to my own father when I needed money and most times he gave it.

As I have matured, I have begun to understand what the role of a father entails. I know better than what I knew when I wanted a child: when I really did not know what it meant to be a father, I wanted a child. Now that I know better, I am scared of bringing children to this world but that will surely happen sooner or later!

Some of the many things I have gotten to know about the role of a father:

A Husband

A father is more than a sperm donor, a father is a husband first before any other thing. Therefore, to be a good father, one needs to be a good husband first. One must love, honour, nourish and cherish his wife in every aspect of her life. I think this will also help to be more prepared to an extent at least.

A Protector

I asked an older friend who has always been considered a great father about what protection means to him as a father.  His reply “….to not just protect the children physically from any danger or harm, but also to protect them morally and spiritually”. Protection doesn’t relate solely to physical security but also to emotional security, financial security and many other different things that are unique to each child.  A good father is also his child’s defender, he protects them from any offense and he is meant to see the offense before the strike (you can tell I love my football).

According to a study by an American company I found online, “a child who gets unconditional love and full protection from his/her father experiences a greater sense of self-confidence and courage”. Full protection to some might mean to be very protective but is also very important to note that fathers should not be overprotective, according to the study this can lead to rebellion from the child. A father must understand that kids are different and the level of protection child A needs might be different from that of child B, so each child will require different approach.

Be flexible so you can understand your child’s emotional or physical appetite and level of tolerance, something a lot of parents struggle with.

Also, you have to give an account of the blessings (children) God has given you – what have you done with them? Accountability is also another role of a father but it can be inserted under his role as a protector, because you will have to give an account on each blessing (child) God has given you as you are the covering/protector over them.

A Provider – More than the Gifts and Money.

In the past, I understood the father’s role as a provider to mean a financial provider and also one that buys gifts and presents however, providing is much more than the gifts. I read somewhere online that a good father once said “I’ve always felt that being a provider is not and should not be a culturally-driven role for fathers. Providing for one’s family is part of the promise a man makes on his wedding day. A good father knows his responsibility for being bread-winner very well and do all he can for as long as he is able”.

A good father always teaches his children not to take what they have for granted.  From the food on the table to the education he is paying for (Privately educated children), a good father will make his children see the value and appreciate everything they have.

A teacher

‘’A father doesn’t teach his sons/daughter to be good children, he teaches them to be great parents’’.

A good father will aim to teach his child to be a well-rounded member of society. This requires fathers helping their kids with their school work, but also to be an example to kids around them both socially and professionally – teach children how to be respectful, how to be grateful, teach them humility, integrity and honesty, teach them to be law-abiding citizens, show them how to love too and as you are teaching them all of these things, make sure you are also an example that they can be proud of.

In addition, a good father allows his kids to learn from mistakes. He will let them get burnt by life’s situations once in a while, if it will have severe repercussion he won’t let it happen, so as to teach them a lesson that they can learn from. And a GREAT father knows that he must sacrifice some of his own free time to fulfil his fatherly duties. I doubt that I would have been a GREAT father if I had gone ahead to have a child when I wanted one!

I can carry on with the different roles of a father, but these I believe are the three most important roles of a father amongst the many.  To every father out there, I pray God gives you more grace to be better fathers – to us fathers to be, I pray God helps us to be better fathers than our fathers and that he helps us raise world leaders. I also pray that he helps us to be role models that our children will emulate and do better than.