3 Life lessons fatherhood has taught me

BY: Kobina Ansah's Shrine
The writer and his son

June stokes a lot of excitement within me. I love the month of June! First of all, it is the month for celebrating all men and fathers.

Secondly, it is my birth month. It is the month I get to count all my blessings and name them one by one.

Last year, my wife and I welcomed our son, Animuonyam Ansah. I vividly remember all the drama on that fateful day in the labour ward as though it happened yesterday. It was a mixed feeling of both joy and tears seeing a new life emerge from the birth canal.

Many months on, I have seen Animuonyam metamorphose from a tiny helpless baby into a strong toddler who is almost always wrestling with us over our gadgets.

I have observed him advance from crawling to walking. As a father, it gives you such joy to see your seed achieve all their milestones one day after the other.

Fatherhood is an exciting journey. Each day of it comes with a desire to see your children become better than you. You want to give them all the opportunities you never had when you were their age.

Becoming a parent helps you appreciate your parents even more. It gives you a sense of satisfaction to see how much they sacrificed to get you where they only dreamt of being in their day.
For being a father close to a year, I have learnt quite a lot. Let me share a few;

Fatherhood is responsibility!
Being a father is a privilege and every privilege comes with a responsibility. Giving birth to children is not as important as guiding them through life every step of the way.

You make sure they avoid the pits you fell in. In a nutshell, fatherhood means raising children who will slay the giants you couldn’t slay.

As a father, it should be your responsibility to see your children grow up physically, emotionally and spiritually. Fatherhood gives us the opportunity to give our children an opportunity to become a better version of ourselves.

Who and what our children will become tomorrow largely depends on us today. We must be intentional about investing in them to harvest every potential they have been endowed with. We are stewards of our children and it is our sole responsibility to guide them to become the best they could ever be.

I have sworn never to be just a father but a responsible one. Just as my father supported my dreams until the day he passed away, I have pledged to be the first cheerleader of my children. Whatever it may take, I will be their greatest fan.

Fatherhood is mentorship!
I have observed my Animuonyam learn to repeat sounds he hears us say. Even though they may sometimes not sound same, one can notice the effort he puts in to say back to you what you have said to him.

This means he is carefully observing what we do and say around him and can only be a reflection of such.

Every father is the first model of their children. To a child, whatever their parents do or say is right, thus, do same, too.

Unwittingly, these children soon become a replica of their fathers and mothers ― not only in appearance but especially in character.

Fatherhood must be an intentional mentorship experience. It is an opportunity to lead a new generation to think differently and be exposed to an enabling environment that will bring out the best in them. Indeed, we must be intentional about our own mindset because it soon becomes their mindset, too.

Every father is a mentor. Their children are their first mentees. If you are an abusive father, you are raising abusive children who are likely to be abusive parents someday.
If you raise your children with love, the only language they will grow to understand is love.

Fatherhood makes you understand the love of God!
No matter how many times Animuonyam does what may be wrong, I can never disown him ― no matter the gravity of that wrong. When he dismantles my gadgets, I can only correct him.
The relationship between a father and his children is a replica of that between God and us. If our children mean everything to us, we can only imagine how much we mean to God.

If we care so much about our children as human as we are, how much more our Creator? Parenthood is a relationship that makes us appreciate the depth and height of God’s love for humanity. Just as we forgive our children, God will travel any length to restore the relationship between us when it goes sour.

Don’t give up. We have a loving father who has the welfare of his children at heart. Keep working hard. He will grant you the enablement and help to make all your dreams come true.

If you love your children, know that God loves you even more.

The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications, an Accra-based writing company (www.scribecommltd.com).