“Don’t forget this Sunday is fathers day, the rest of the year is mothers day.” This is one of many WhatsApp messages I woke up to last Sunday. I tend to agree with it because mothers day is celebrated several times a year. Fathers day on the other hand comes about with the frequency of a leap year. That’s how it looks like to me. We should fuss about dads more often. Maybe even create a senior category of boy child activism hehe. There ends my rant on recognising my kind more. We’ll feel very nice even when we hardly show it.
I’m of the view that such days were created by mzungus maybe to emphasize the role of fathers (and mothers too) in society. Apart from businesses commercializing the day, we should go a bit deeper into what fathers do, the state of fatherhood and its impact on our society as a whole. The many WhatsApp messages did a bit of that for me but the highlight was a homemade card by my baby shark. I’ve received cards from them in the past and they always touch me deeply because of the purity of their expressions. I feel both unconditional acceptance and a heavy responsibility not to disappoint. So help me God.
Last Sunday was the first fathers day without my mzee. I subconsciously tried to disregard the day in the hope that I will not miss dad too much. The attempt was unsuccessful, to say the least. My years of fatherhood have taught me that quality time is quantity time, especially for children. My dad was physically present as we grew up and that’s how our bond was nurtured. My kids ask for the same all the time. When I’m not home, they will call and ask me where I am and what time I’ll be back. Sometimes they even want to know where I will be going the next day. I love their inquisitiveness because they make me feel wanted. It also acts as a reminder that I should spend as much time as possible with them. Soon that window will close and they will leave.
Good fathers are present. And I do appreciate that fending for our families will sometimes take us away from them and that’s acceptable because man must eat. But a balance can (and should ) be found too. With those thoughts in mind, I chose to celebrate my dad even as I missed him. I’m probably doing just what I saw him do. So if a good father should strive to be present daily then can we say that every day should be fathers day? Still pushing my agenda hehe.
The investment a father makes in the formative years of his children’s lives largely goes unnoticed in my view. So one can easily take fatherhood for granted. A man’s contributions to his children’s lives will be visible in years to come when they are grown up and making their own decisions. That’s what I’ve been told by older folks with older kids. My siblings and I are a product of that theory. Playing with my folks and siblings when growing up was just that, playing. But in hindsight, that’s where the bonds of friendship and love were formed and strengthened. I’m sure my folks (especially dad) appeared weird to some of their peers choosing to spend a weekend playing with their small kids instead of socializing with their agemates. Thanks for the time dad. Now that I’m a dad I have no excuse to say I didn’t know.
Last Sunday’s sermon in my church was on fatherhood. The pastor asked us some weighty questions. What is the ripple effect of my actions as a man? and what am I leaving behind – blessings or scars. I will leave these questions here for chaps to ponder.
Corona has made men fight or fly literally. I’ve been at home for most of the last year helping my totos with online schooling. It was a scary time because I felt helpless and vulnerable to the uncertain life around us. But on the other hand, I got to learn my kids intimately and immerse myself into their world especially their school world. On weekends we would go photographing animals at Nairobi National Park. To kids, the covid season could be the best period of their lives because they got their parents back. Sadly though the intense period also broke others and more harm than good was done.
I think being a good father is not rocket science. While some have more ground to cover than others based on our different backgrounds, I believe we can all start from where we are in life. It is not a competition. Small, routine and even mundane acts of positivity to our kids and families will in time become a good foundation for them to stand on as they prepare to face life on their own in future.
One small thing I do to my baby sharks is speaking greatness to them and making them repeat it. When going to bed after prayers I remind them that God has our…. And they respond, “God has our back”. They are now doing exams in school and it’s a tense period especially for the subjects they struggle with. On one evening one of them will come home proud of their results while another will be avoiding eye contact because they didn’t do well. Either way, I celebrate them by reminding them, “you’re so sharp you can…… they respond, “cut myself”. When I’m away from home we catch up in the evening on the phone before they sleep. I remind my little man that he’s in charge of the home and to ensure the doors and windows are locked. I hope that builds his confidence to be a leader.
It’s the small things that make a good father. Tunawesmake.