Daddy, be the Father

Father and Son

Dear father, your child is watching you. He is observing everything. When what you say does not correspond to what you do, he does not have the reason to do what you say. It is what you do that sticks with him and that is what he will imitate. Do you live your life everyday knowing that your children are watching you and learning a lot from it?

They are picking up on the things you do and say which includes your mood in the house, the words you use, how you talk to mommy, how you are spending your time. You may not realize it but they are getting impressions of the world. Their actions will significantly depend on your actions. You are therefore a model to your child. You have a lot of power that will substantially contribute to who your child becomes. You are an example on how to live to him. Understand that and use that power for good.

As the father of the family, you are the protector, provider, leader, and teacher. What should not happen is you existing without your child having or feeling a father’s presence in her life. I have met ladies whose lives have been negatively affected mostly because they did not see a father in the man they call father. One of them told me about her father leaving her mother for another woman while she was at an early age. She experienced much hardship with her mother and siblings. From the story she told me, I discerned that she subliminally sought a father’s love in men. You can guess the result. At that point she was trying to pick up the pieces of her life in order to move forward but it was really a challenge for her.  She looked at her life and did not see progress.  She was working for someone then who sold fashion items. I do not remember the details but she was having serious problems in different areas of her life including her place of work. At that time, she was trying to get another job but she was told to give herself before the job would be hers.

She saw a priest who directed her to a group that would assist her financially to start up her own business in a small way. She really needed that at that point in her life. The next time I saw her, she was down. She expressed her dislike for her father who by this time occasionally called for money. She hated that she did not get the level of education she wanted. She regretted all the wrong guys she had dated. In fact, her life made no meaning to her then. I just sat there silent but listening to her. “I know you may be wondering why I am telling you all these,” she said to me, “I do not know but you seem like somebody I can tell. You may even be wondering whether all what I am telling you is true…I am not progressing.” She brought out her phone and showed me her post on social media that day. It was something like this:

At age xx, I have not achieved anything. I do not have a good education, I do not have a good job, I am not married, I do not even have an accommodation of my own. Nothing is working for me…My life makes no meaning…

I did not know it then but I know now that her thoughts were gravitating towards suicide. I tried to encourage her at this point but I am not sure of the effect of my encouragement. She was just tired of everything, overwhelmed and appeared hopeless. If her father had actually been a father, that young woman’s life would most likely have been different.

Dear father, be there for your children and be intentional about the example you set. Life happens but don’t just say that. Have a purpose as regards the upbringing of your children. You need to do things that demonstrate virtues and character. In doing this, you will be doing something good for your children which you may not fully realize today.

Fatherhood is not just about the ability to fertilize an egg. It is a privilege and a responsibility. It is the wise father who knows that his child is watching him that carefully considers the example he is setting. It is the height of irresponsibility to leave parenting to chance. What good qualities would you like your child to have? Model them and see your child imitate you. You are a father and the best way for you to teach is by example.

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