Tomorrow is Fathers’ Day and to all the fathers, I say a Happy Fathers’ Day to us all. To mark Father’s Day, I want us all to pause and spell Father and in so doing see what we can learn to become better fathers.
So, here is how to spell Father.
F – Firm: A father has to be firm – firm in his convictions; firm in his principles. Fatherhood is a tricky business. You love your children and you want to make life as easy and comfortable for them as possible.
And yet if you make life too easy for your children, you clip their wings and make them liabilities unto themselves and to society.
I read an article on Peter Buffett, the son of the multibillionaire, Warren Buffett. Drawing from the way his father raised him, Peter advocates that parents should be firm and not give their children everything they want.
He said his father talked about how rich parents put a silver dagger in the back of children. According to Warren Buffett, this happens when rich parents give their children everything they want.
This leads to a sense of entitlement and a lack of personal achievement for the children as all motivation to succeed is drained out of them.
Fathers ought to be firm in raising their children to ensure that the children can become normal happy children instead of spoiled children.
You see what a father keeps away from his children is as important an act of love as what he allows them to have.
F is also for faith: A father must have faith. He must have faith in the future of his children and faith in his own ability to raise the children well.
A father must have the faith that his children could go further than he ever dreamt of and he should on the wings of that faith create the opportunities for them to realise that potential.
Jim Valvano said, “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: he believed in me.” Let fathers believe in their children and invest in their future.
A father’s faith must make him courageous and committed to giving his children a better life than he had. And a father must pass on that faith to his children.
A – Active: Pope John the 23rd said, “It is easy for a father to have children than for the children to have a real father.”
He was referring to the need for fathers to be active in the lives of their children and active in their upbringing. Fatherhood is not only biology.
It is easy to become a father than to be one. Johann Schiller said, “It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.”`
T – Teacher: The Chinese say, “If a son is uneducated, his dad is to blame.” George Herbert said, “One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.”
A father ought to be a teacher – a teacher of values, of discipline and of responsibility and even of love. But we should remember that a good teacher also creates the environment where the students can learn things for themselves and that is an important aspect of the father as teacher.
Some lessons must be taught by father but other lessons, the children must be allowed to learn on their own.
A father who is afraid to let his children learn lessons on their own stands in the way of their development and maturity.
H – husband: A father ought to be husband to his children’s mother. Rev. Theodore Hesburgh says, “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
Loving the mother of your children gives the children a sense of security and helps with their social adjustment.
H is also for heritage: A father leaves his children a heritage. It begins with his genes before the child is born and when the child is born the heritage takes the form of a name.
But if genes and a name is all the heritage a father gives his children then he is not much of a father.
A father must also give his children a heritage of values, principles, direction and respect in the community.
H is also for hero: When children are small, their father is their hero. He has everything, he can do anything, he is stronger than anyone.
As the children grow, they may come to realise that their father does not have everything, he is not the richest, he is not the strongest or the wisest but he still does not cease to be their hero.
Children need to continue looking up to their fathers. Let fathers become and remain heroes for their children.
E – Example: Clarence Kelland said, “My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him to it.” There is a fact that is either frightening or exciting depending on what kind of father you have.
It is this: boys grow up to resemble their fathers in one way or the other and girls grow up looking for their fathers to marry. It is therefore important for a father to leave the right example for his children.
Every boy at one time or the other prays, “Dear God, make me the kind of man my daddy is.” Blessed is the father who prays, “Dear God, make me the kind of man my children need me to be.”
R – Responsible: A father is responsible for the protection, care and provision for his children. Unfortunately, a lot of fathers are not living up to their responsibilities here.
Too many young people are being left on their own to cater for themselves too early. If we carried out a survey at the universities in Ghana, we will be shocked at how many of the students, male and female, are catering for themselves through school even when their fathers are alive.
You know, a good dad never dies. Dad, may your relevance be eternal.
By Uncle Ebo Wyhte