Have you ever wondered what a Father of Honor means? Well, I have. For a long time It has always been my assumption that lacking one parent is not such a big deal, after all death is inevitable, call it ignorance or “never appreciating what you have until you lose it” but on Tuesday the 7th of June, after listening to daughters who had lost their mother and seeing tears roll down the eyes of my fellow sisters, a new kind of respect grew and I felt humbled by single parents, especially the daddies who have beat all the odds to raise their kids and more so daughters.
It was a bright but lazy evening when I entered All Saints Cathedral that evening for the monthly Awakening Sisterhood Event. With a set mind and a list of things I expected to hear and see I strolled to the registration desk, where I was met by a vibrant energetic Udada team. Everything from their welcoming smiles, the pink flowers on their head, to the beautiful decorations of Kangas draping off the desks, spoke of warmth (something not in my list of the evening’s expectations) Am one of those who feels the frenzy of an occasion is too much and I tend to opt for the cracks where the is none
As I was being shown around the different tables on the entrance, my mind kept drifting to the Falcon Heights Hotel table, something about their offers caught my eyes. “Recognize a Dad” the poster said and immediately my interest was piqued. I have never been one to celebrate father’s day except for the usual casual happy father’s day text I send every time I hear people talking about it on social media, I have to confess that I do not know which day is father’s day nonetheless, here I am, at a father’s celebration event and I am getting a totally different vibe.
With my Dadazine in hand, I head inside to the big hall with countable people, sitting far away from each other, somehow I feel like I have been thrown back to the streets, where everyone is in their own world, Not that I am complaining as I like the quiet occasions, but the attendees seemed a little bored till Hellen Mtawali's presence, with her African attire standing out in her band of black clad ladies and gents. As the Music starts, one can clearly feel the air lift. The busy streets and the hooting vehicles are quickly forgotten as we join in the music and people starts walking in.
A lady in a pink short dress and a tribal jacket walks on stage and my mind goes hooye! (Something definitely in my list). As she walks us through the program and introduces the concept Sisterhood, I start tearing my list apart, this is not a feminist movement, no, it is about Empowering and Inpowering women. At this point I cannot believe that I have been missing all this, Of course, I have often blamed it on the stereotype that whenever I hear an organization about women my mind goes straight to hmmm another feminist movement. You have to understand that I was not exactly brought up in the streets paved with empowerment gold.
Pastor Simon was the guest speaker of that day event and from the moment he took the microphone, you could tell he is a man used to commanding attention without even calling for it. He talked of his 5 year journey after losing his wife, from when he knew she was sick, how he broke the news of his wife passing to the children, the healing process to the challenges he faced raising his daughters. It was the first time I have ever heard anyone speak so freely of the loss of a loved one.
Some of the stories were tearing and I would often catch myself deep in thought, where does one get so much strength?
What is the miracle this family received to be where they are now? How does one heal and let go of such pain? To talk of death and loss without anger and hurt, I was overwhelmed but now he had my full attention.
Invest your time, energy and resources in Spiritual, Social, Physical and Wisdom growth. Seems obvious, right? Try putting yourself in the shoes of a man, an African man, who is used to leaving the nitty gritty details of raising kids to his wife, he only comes in to play, pay school fees and take the kids out occasionally. Have you ever seen a man holding an infant, awkward, with such a look of ‘what do I do with it’, you got to admit it looks cute until you are the man and have to figure out exactly what it takes to bring the baby up, they do not teach that in school.
How about all the advice you get from other parents, if she cries rub her this way, you will know she is hungry when she looks at you in a certain way, everyone is suddenly a parenting expert! You wish parenting came with a manual, except every child is unique, even twins. I felt his teachings applies to all parents, no offense Fathers, I do not mean to steal your moment.
A child needs a faith to hold on to, despite you being a prayerful Father or parent. It is healthy for a child to choose and know Christ at an early age. After losing his wife of 20years, Pastor Simon admitted that it shook him to the core; he would not have been able to raise brave, independent and confident kids were it not for his strong faith in God. A good foundation goes a long way for your children, pray with them, let God be your guide.
Expose the children to different social scenarios; they need to be able to deal with the real world. As much as you would like to protect and guard them every hour, they eventually grow up and you cannot be there for and with them every time. A healthy father daughter relationship means that the daughters will not engage in wrong relationships trying to find you in the man they are dating, or fill the gap you may have left. Build them up to know their worth, be someone they can look up to.
As a kid, I used to walk to and fro school without shoes; from my home to school the shortcut was through a railway, so you can imagine the morning cold plus my bare legs stepping on the arrow pointed stones of a rail, hard, tough, unbreakable somehow that is what came to mind when Pastor Simon talked of the physical well being of a child, am pretty sure it is not what he meant though. A healthy self-esteem is usually accompanied by physical fitness and grooming, make sure your child eats right and healthy, and encourage them to exercise and play often.
Wisdom, hmmm I could fill a whole book just writing about it. As a father, it is paramount that you balance your career, your individuality as a man and your role as a parent. The wrong profession and pressure from work could mean spreading the stress to your children or even not taking the time to bond with them. Also, take the time to grow as a person, for you cannot give what you do not have.
Understand that each child is different, special and their growth curve is unique. Take time on a daily basis to build their confidence and self esteem, it does not matter whether you work far or have to travel, call, text make your presence be felt in their lives. Bless your children and ensure you pass significance with every interaction.
There is a difference between Authority and control, talk of hitting the nail on the head, this is point when I wished I had come with my father instead of boyfriend, he would have saved a lot on those electricity fence, if he had only known that authority is empowering and encourages growth whereas control is manipulative and does not leave space for children to flourish.
Above all, let God make you a magnet, and let Him be the centre. Much as I want to share every little thing I learnt that Tuesday, it cannot all fit here, and some things you just need to hear for yourself. So, how about we meet at the coming Sisterhood Event and you be the one to give your experience! register now for the experience