This article is about dads: Dads are those fathers who choose to be ever-present in the lives of their children, especially in this age when there is a lot of father-hunger in society. It celebrates fathers who invest themselves completely in their families and contribute to the lives of their children even when today’s community continues to ignore the tremendous role of a father in the lives of their children. As the late Billy Graham once said, “A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets of our society”. Dads have been referred to as, “a son’s first hero and a daughter’s first love”.
Philosophers describe the “Family” as one of the four pillars that hold society together. The other three being Government, Business, and Religion. They say that corrupting these four institutions is a sure way of destroying even the strongest of Countries. A family dwells in a house, but it takes a lot to convert that house into a home. What goes inside the house, especially the people, is what transforms the space into a home. A home is where individual members feel comfortable, free and happy to come back to when they have been cheated by the world; when the world becomes hostile. A home gives life.
A dad plays a big role in converting a house into a life-giving center, a home. He does this by choosing to be compassionate and helpful even during bad situations; by providing moral support so that the individuals in the family create the peace, create the warmth, and feel at ease in the house; among other ingredients that give identity and value to the home. The home in turn becomes a place where individual family members can find solace and consolation when they encounter criticism, condemnation, hostility, fear, fights, apprehension, pity, ridicule, shame and guilt. It becomes that place where they find comfort, encouragement, tolerance, praise, acceptance, approval, recognition, sharing, honesty, fairness, kindness, consideration, security and friendliness.
A dad will choose to believe in the child as opposed to becoming skeptical that the child may be faking to avoid school. He will create the necessary environment that encourages each individual family member to become a life or hope giver; and will support each individual member for who they are. He will choose to banish the guilt that may occur when he can’t fix his child’s problems and will also not allow the child to feel guilty either, especially when a child is in a bad self-inflicted situation. In such a situation a look of concern in the dad’s eye or his exasperation at canceling plans will create guilt in the child; whose end-result may include stigmatization, depression, anxiety, addiction, and learning disabilities.
The family members, in return, learn confidence, patience, appreciation, generosity, truthfulness, justice, respect, to love, to like themselves, to have faith in themselves and those around them, to know that it is good to have a goal, and to see that the world is not necessarily a bad place in which to live.
A dad will teach his sons and daughters that the world will seek and celebrate with them when they prosper and succeed; and then give them shame and rejection when they fail. He will teach them that it is only family that will be there for them when they fail, or even when they are indisposed, bereaved, dead, naked, poor, when there is shame to bear, and when they are laid off at the place of work and have bills to be paid.
And now when dad has sacrificed his dreams and compromised for his family’s happiness, the best gift he can get is when his sons and daughters celebrate, value, remember, spend time with, respect, show love to, and honor their family.
The worst gift a dad can get is when, in their older years, his sons and daughters get themselves into situations of pain, condemnation, apprehension, needing to fight back, feeling sorry for themselves, shyness, envy, and guilt. His heart is shuttered when his daughter, against his advice, becomes entangled in bad vices because she got drunk in love and highly attracted to a bad guy. His heart if broken when his son gets hooked onto activities and relationships that only he can’t see the red flags; until it reaches a point when it’s too late to disentangle himself or distance himself from the relationship. He will be in pain too but still has to show love. He hurts for them, he struggles with them, and his plans get interrupted.
His frustration is made worse by today’s world where the community is extremely unforgiving, impatient in seeking for the truth, quick to judge, and quick to condemn; all of which is happening at a time when he needs lots of support. But he chooses to remain a dad nonetheless. His devotion does not waiver. As a dad, he feels like he needs to ‘fix’ the problem by fighting for them; that’s what dads do; even when there isn’t really much he can fix.
It is at such a time when the other sons and daughters can choose to provide family support to their dad. A good starting point would be to encourage him to open up, voice his concerns, ask for help, to share his emotions, and to network with other dads who have had similar experiences. Teach dad to continue caring, to continue praying, but to let go of what he can’t control; to “Let go and let God”.