A toast to all fathers but…

PATIENCE MUSA

Father’s Day is celebrated every third Sunday in the month of June.

It’s just one of the days that men are celebrated even though the day differs in some parts of the world.

Some countries celebrate it in June while the United Kingdom celebrates it in March.

Some countries including Lithuania, Samoa and Estonia, Father’s Day is recognised as a public holiday.

11096966 – happy african american family outdoor in summer sunny day

There are, however, other days that honour the man.

These include the International Men’s Day, celebrated on November 19 every year, the International Day of The Boy Child or International Boy’s Day observed on May 16, a day set aside to focus on boys and their wellbeing and the challenges they face growing up.

But, Father’s Day has always or somehow seems to unveil skeletons in the humanities closet.

The skeletons that seldom surface on Mother’s Day!

There seems to be no question at all that mothers deserve to be celebrated.

But when it comes to fathers, there seems to be a strong wave of doubt.

Is it brought forth by the biological confidence women have, the unquestionable nine months and of course the hours, sometimes days in labour.

Whatever the female decides to do after childbirth she has already done the major bit of motherhood.

She may dump the child, give her up for adoption, leave the child for her mother to raise, leave the child with father and disappear into the world.

All that matters naught, she is all the same celebrated as a mother on Mother’s Day, dead beat or not!

What brands a man as a father?

Does his sperm fertilising a woman’s egg make him a father?

Or is it everything he does from that moment of conception for the mother of his child and the child she carries and the support he extends the child when out in the world?

Is fatherhood having one’s name on a birth certificate, paying school fees, providing clothing, educating and sheltering a little human till it can take care of itself?

Roman Catholic priest Father Reki said: “Fathers, like mothers, are pillars in the development of a child’s emotional well-being. Children look to their fathers to lay down the rules and enforce them. They also look to their fathers to provide a feeling of security, both physical and emotional.”

Covid-19 has changed everything and even fatherhood has not escaped the pandemics tentacles.

Christ Embassy’s Pastor Lloyd Mandava believes fathers are the role models of the family in everything and provide financial, moral and spiritual guidance to the family.

“Fathers must train the family in the way of the world. Fathers must also ensure children are physically and spiritually nourished,” Pastor Mandava said.

After a long day at work, a father is expected to be attentive and romantic to his partner, pays attention to the kids, helps with homework and at times has to work from home. A lot of fathers in today’s world are struggling with being present.

Sometimes jobs keep them away from home a lot and when finally they are home and they need to rest, the family that has been missing them will not have it.

There has to be a dedicated time for one-on-one engagement with the children.

Communication is key for any relationship to work.

Fathers have to be able to ace communication with not just the mother of their children but also with the children themselves.

Common ground may be hard to find but there is always room for improvement as far as communication is concerned.

“Teenagers may prove to be hard to connect with but one should never lose hope,” Pastor Mandava said.

Another pastor, Harold Chilowa said fathers have to lead by example.

“I cannot be seen complaining and grumbling with my children.

“We want to see our kids do well. With Covid-19, everything has become uncertain. I have been having a crucial conversation with my 26-year-old son. I thought I ought to encourage him and he was feeling stressed because he was feeling like he wasn’t achieving his goals,” Pastor Chilowa said.

“I explained that he isn’t the only one in the world going through this. I reminded him of Proverbs 3 verse 6. I always encourage my children to trust God and be encouraged to go on their knees and speak to God.

“We have to encourage our children to use the things God has placed in their lives right now.

“We do not know how long this era will last but as fathers we have a challenge we need to lead by example, stay positive, think positive and be there for our children and show them we love them so that they do not look elsewhere for love. They should always know they are loved and that they are precious.’

It is so easy for fathers to get home and just sit in-front of the television, eat and then go to sleep, but certainly more can be done for one to be present in every moment through exhaustion and life pressures.

Trevor Maisiri, a father of two sons and a daughter, said first major challenge fathers are facing during these Covid-19 times is economic.

“The pandemic has reshaped economies, distorted supply chains, led to a deceleration in the creation of jobs, the capital markets have been affected so there isn’t much capital flowing for businesses and to top that there is a lot more competition in the entrepreneurial space,” Maisiri said.

Covid-19 has accelerated technology adaptation which has led to the society being exposed to more technology and digital plate-forms. There has been a high demand for fathers to provide their children with technology-enabling gadgets so that they can learn as schools have had to teach remotely. Dads themselves have had to up skill because some were behind the curve in terms of understanding a lot in the tech space.

“One cannot provide the gadget without knowing how they work. After all, even banking has become remote, not forgetting that even for them all the meetings, conferences and workshops are moving to digital spaces.

Covid-19 has disrupted the entire world’s progress and post covid-19 there will be a need for world leaders to put forth pro-family policies. Policies that help communities thrive like health, education, and housing. There is a real danger of moral decay and fathers are facing moral decay because of what social media exposes families to.

“Father’s authority is going to be challenged against competing authority auctions like socialites, media personalities, influencers and the whole liberal order. Most children no-longer listen to their fathers; they take instructions from their social media ‘idols’.

One of the roles of fathers is instilling identity within their children, today however because of technology and social media – all identities are challenged – ethnic, religious and cultural identities.”

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