This article is dedicated to all the fathers in the world as they celebrate Fathers’ Day today.
The art of parenting requires that both parents play a vital role in raising the positive child. Fathers are representational of leaders in the family and society at large. A father is naturally created to be the engine of the family. The engine plays a very fundamental role in every mechanical contraption. In the car for instance, without the engine, the car cannot move. Such is the role thrust on fathers in the family. It is a role that comes with a lot of responsibility. After the role of husband, fatherhood is the second role that was created by God. Being a father is not, as the saying goes, a day’s job. Myles Munroe once said that “a father should present the fundamental qualities of leadership, responsibility and accountability as well as the capabilities of planning, disciplining and loving. Fathering is a full-time job.”
Fathers play the role of leaders in the family. To the children, fathers are the first authority they come in contact with. This is why children and boys especially mimic their fathers. Fatherhood is the only leadership role that is thrust on men by nature. Because there is no school to learn the skills, men have to grow into the role with lessons learnt on the job. And this is why John Green’s statement that “the nature of impending fatherhood is that you are doing something that you’re unqualified to do, and then you become qualified while doing it” makes a lot of sense.
Etan Thomas writing about fatherhood and leadership said that a leader is a “person who puts the welfare of the group above himself. It’s the same thing with fathers.” Fathers are meant to give their entirety to their children. To be a father requires patience, love, time and dedication. Fatherhood is a long-distance run. It requires emotional and physical stability to make it a success. A father must possess certain qualities to make a success of the role. He must be everything that is great in the perception of the child. A father must be wise, honest, hands-on, skilled, prayerful, caring, considerate and loving. He must have a sense of humour and know when to show empathy, met discipline and be a coach.
So who is actually a father? A father is not just the person who fathers one biologically. It is the person who provides the needs of the family; gives shelter to his family; trains the child morally, spiritually, and academically; brings out the positive traits of his children like no other person can and also takes care of the mothers. As Nate Dallas said, “part of being a successful father is taking extreme care of our children. The other part of that equation is that we must also take extreme care of their mother.”
Years ago, fathers were saddled with the responsibility of being the breadwinners of their families while the mothers were left with raising and teaching the children good manners and morals. But times have changed. Today, fathers are not only the breadwinners of the family, they have equally joined the mothers to be the pillars in the development and up-bringing of the child.
Fathers must be on their toes at all times to provide for their family and always on their oars in order to give it their best. They should portray themselves like ‘Superman’. The Superman character in the movie is always there to protect the world from the evil plans of the enemies. He is seen as a hero who can do anything for mankind and his ears are always open to the pleas of the people. Fathers should also be like the mother hen who lays down its life for its chicks. As Matthew Buckley said, “being a father means you have to think fast on your feet. You must be judicious, wise, brave, tender and willingly to put on a frilly hat and sit down to a pretend tea party.” Fathers should provide a strong support to the family and also encourage the children to be the best they can be.
In parenting, fathers and mothers must work together to keep the family, teach the children the right values and cultures they subscribe to. It was Plato that said that “the best way of training the young is to train yourself at the same time; not to admonish them, but to be seen never doing that of which you would admonish them.” As such, there is no better way to be a father than to lead by example.
Above everyone else, fathers must promote love in the family and be supportive and affectionate towards the child’s development. Fathers are role models to their children and help their family to seek God’s will, pray and worship God in the right manner. Fathers are their children’s “First Teachers.” Because teaching and discipline go together, a good father must correct the child as recommended in Proverbs 13:24 thus: “he who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines diligently and punishes him early.”
Fathers must be lovable and compassionate towards their children just as God is compassionate to those who fear and love him. Fathers are their children’s friends and confidant. A father must be ready to stand and support his child through lives obstacles and challenges. A father should never give up on his child no matter the circumstance. A father should be a pillar of support when a child is going through a difficult time. In times of failure, a father should teach the child how to cope and make the child know that it is another opportunity to bounce back. It is never a time for condemnation.
In conclusion, fathers play a pivotal role in the lives of their children. A positive father begets a positive child. Dr. John C. Maxwell sums up what it means to be a good father when he said, “becoming a good father is not automatic. It takes time and effort. We must be willing to invest in this job – our most important, second to being a husband – as any other career we might pursue.”
Wishing all fathers a Happy Fathers’ Day.