I love the education system we have nowadays. Or let me be more specific and say I like the school my baby sharks attend. When my first baby shark was about three years old we (rather Mummy shark) started to school hunt. She would go round on her own looking at schools in the neighbourhood and gathering information. Then one day she asked that I accompany her to the schools she had visited so that we make a decision. We were about to join the ranks of parents of school going children. #feeling old

The first school we checked out is the only one I visited because I liked it and decided this is it. I remember we got there after school hours and met Ms Emily, the head of kindergarten. I had misgivings about why their education system teaches kids about UK history instead of Kenyan history. In my days it was G.H.C (geography, history and civics). Then the Kiswahili language seemed to be an elective instead of compulsory. That bothered me because I didn’t want my kids to be handicapped talking to people in the market. I must have appeared an unreasonable parent to Emily. I’ve come to a British curriculum school insisting that they incorporate 844 curricula. Anyhow after Emily doing a good job at convincing us, we put our toto into that school the following day. The fact that Ms Grace (one of the teachers), went to play with her in the sand pit and she enjoyed it, sealed the deal for me.

Looking back now, after a few years of being a parent in this school, I’m glad we made that choice. I particularly like how they make a fuss about the Christian faith. It’s important to Mummy shark and I that our baby sharks are grounded that way.

This school has endeavoured to involve parents in their children’s lives beyond just paying school fees. They even have events specifically for fathers and their kids. I must admit that mums seem to be present much more than dads. So in their wisdom, the school decided to be intentional about cultivating the influence of fathers on their children.

Last week was one such event. The dads were invited for lunch with their totos. I arrived just after midday, picked my little man from class and proceeded to serve our lunch. It took some effort to sit on their furniture as it was just a few feet above the ground. Even the height of the sink made me wonder if it’s for washing hands or feet hehehe. I then remembered where I am and that I am not the intended user of those facilities. Thankfully we did not have to use the loos.

It was a rare sight seeing sharp-looking dads in slim fit shirts and happy socks eating and chatting animatedly with their kids. It’s like the small boy in all of us was awakened. My little man seemed to be in a frenzy eating with me. In fact, he even asked me to feed him so that others can see. He was happier than my socks I must admit.

Then I started wondering what was going on in these men’s minds. How are they coping with the pressures of being an urban male in Nairobi with all the challenges and hazards that come with it? Maybe some of them never had their dads present as they were growing up. Yet here they are being required to model something they never saw. Let me campaign for my kind and say good men should be on the list of endangered species. For these chaps to take time off their many obligations and come spend time with their little people was priceless.

After lunch, each dad and child had to do a project making a tree and colouring it on manila paper. My little man and I got on with the project and pasted paper leaves with glue on our paper tree then got colouring the wording above the tree – my love for you keeps growing and growing. I was stealing glances at him as he concentrated on the task at hand and my heart just welled up within me. Being a guys’ event, I couldn’t show too much emotion. So I blamed my sniffing on the dust coming from the sandpit. haha..

It hit me at that moment that all my domes (real and imagined) didn’t matter to my son. All he knew and basked in was Dad is in my school and we’re doing stuff together. As my pal Tony Kiama once told me, “To kids, quality time is quantity time.” I doubt my boy will remember all the toys he received growing up when he is a man, but I think he will remember the lunch he had with dad in school and the portrait we did together. He hang it somewhere prominent in the house for me to keep looking at. I smile every time i look at it.

After completing our project, we played a little on the monkey bars as he demonstrated his skills. The dads present were either taking photos of their kids playing, catching up with one another or on their phones attending to life matters. For some of us, it was a way to hide our emotions behind our phones to avoid eye contact with all these female teachers present.   Those few hours felt like an investment in destiny.

I salute fathers, especially those who showed up. You have all just made your kids better citizens of the world by validating them and giving them something they desperately need to succeed in this life. An identity.

Thank you Ms Emily, your team and Rusinga school as a whole for giving us life lessons as you educate our children. Just don’t charge us for the lessons please. Tunalipa school fees already. Hehehe…

Keep it up and kudos to you all my fellow brothers out there trying to keep it together. May our happy socks remind us daily to try and be happy for us and our little people despite what we may be going through.

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14 thoughts on “Quantity Time.”

  1. Geff says:

    My brother, this is a very good reminder that we, men, need to be present in our children’s lives and more so the young boys’ lives! Loved reading this piece … Cheers baba!

  2. Nick Ombewa says:

    This well written article capures the true essence of parenthood in this generation. Sometimes just being present is enough.

  3. George Nuthu says:

    Wow, great article for fathers!

  4. LISA says:

    Kudos to you for staying aware of the fact that children need their fathers physical presence in their lives. It’s truly unfortunate that so many men, Kenyan in particular, didn’t have fathers who role modelled how to be good fathers and husbands. The evidence is all over our society morals and laws.

  5. Muchiri says:

    Awesome. Nice read and inspiring for fathers

  6. Frank Ireri says:

    Great article Lucas and I am proud to say that I spent lots of quantity time with my Girls through Primary and Secondary school. The result is a strong Father/daughters bond

  7. Elma Achieng says:

    I love this article,captivating,simple n real.Kudos to all present parents.

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