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Happy fathers’ day: are you a father?

Sun, 19 Jun 2016 Source: Eyiah, Joe Kingsley

Asks Joe Kingsley Eyiah, OCT, Toronto-Canada

“Fathers are particularly absent from the parenting scene today. Many of them have abdicated their role, whether because of a divorce or simply because of inattention to their children. This is having a devastating effect on children-an effect that lasts well into adulthood”

(Mike Tucker, 2007 in 10 keys to a Happy Marriage)

Who are the fathers? Is every man who impregnates a woman becomes a father? Where are the fathers? Are wives not allowing their husbands to be fathers they ought to be? These are many questions that flood my mind as we celebrate Fathers’ Day each year! As society changes and many women become single parents to many children around the world, the questions raised above become more crucial. Parenting is saddled with the absenteeism of many fathers from the home!

Let me begin from an unfortunate trend in the world with regards to parenting. Many people who are raising children today are afraid to be parents! During a television show I watched recently, the presenter lamented the position of parents in discipline of their children. She said that before parents were too strict on the children and yelled on their children who the young ones became disobedient to parents. Parents exercised authority! That has changed over the years with permissiveness on the part of parents. Today, children rather yell on their parents and threaten them to get what they want and like from their parents. It appears that many adults are today afraid of their children. They are afraid to say NO to them.

Many parents nowadays are not able or willing to set boundaries for their children or to enforce consequences when the boundaries are crossed. As parents, if we would produce healthy (good) adults out of our children, we must be parents. Being parents means that we communicate love to our children and, out of that loving relationship, we establish definite boundaries. Boundaries are simply rules for living. They should be few, but should be consistently enforced as suggested by Mike Tucker (2007). Children who cross the boundaries willingly make a CHOICE for the consequence. The consequence should not be considered as a punishment. It is a choice!

As parents, we decide which values to teach our children. Mike Tucker advises, “Once parents have decided on the values, they plan how they’re going to teach those values and then they put the plan into action” (page 131). The best is for the moms and dads together to teach their children. Sadly enough, and more often than not the dads are missing out! At the school where I teach, I become worry when I see only mothers coming to the school when it becomes necessary for parents to see their children’s teachers. I ask myself: WHERE ARE THE FATHERS? “Are many fathers just interested in ‘laying the eggs along the beach’ and running around as some women jokingly put it?” Be more responsible fathers!

Fathers’ important role:

Fathers have important part to play in the upbringing of their children. For example, it is from the father that a girl first learns who she is in the world with regard to men. She learns that she is pretty, talented, strong and deserving of respect and protection first-hand from the father. Mike Tucker puts it this way: “Girls who don’t enjoy a relationship of tenderness with their fathers develop what some call FATHER HUNGER.”

Dads have great influence on their sons as well. Sons learn from their fathers how men treat women and children. How true! I vividly remember my own experience with my father-Opanyin Joseph Eyiah (popularly known as Carpenter) of blessed memory. I learned from him that I AM CAPABLE and that has brought me this far, by God’s grace. I learned from Opanyin Joseph how to be a man-the priest of the house and the provider of the family. He was present in my life from my infancy till I finished my college education. He was also always there for my other four brothers. Where are you, fathers of today?

In our Black communities it is more pathetic the way fathers have given up or refused live up to their responsibilities to the very children they’ve brought into this world. I know the power of mothers, which sometimes throw some fathers out of their God-given authority in the home. I also know how our culture, especially among Akans of Ghana, has favored women and set men against their own children- the matrilineal inheritance comes into sharp focus. However, as fathers, we should not allow tradition and feminism to make us “useless fathers.” Or are we just running away from our responsibilities as fathers? WHERE ARE THE FATHERS as we celebrate Fathers’ Day each year?

Columnist: Eyiah, Joe Kingsley