Dear Jil, I can’t get hold of Jack. Can you please get this letter to him?
“My dear Jack, may be advisable not to go straight into pregnancy after wedding, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
There’s a need for a lot of adjustment after wedding. You need to get to know each other within your new context. You also want your sexual chemistry pretty good, and your friendship very well deepened before the kids come. Once the kids begin to arrive the house is going to be “full.” You won’t have that much devoted time for each other. Kids are very self-centered. They demand a lot of “me” attention. And there’s nothing like part-time dad or mum.
If you notice kids tend to have problems with part-time dads. Especially later in life. The feelings persist in adulthood. Maturity and resignation to fate somehow resolve these problems but not completely. Memories linger or fester. Besides, once you start down the kid route the second tends to follow the first pretty fast. Before you know it you have a small choir at home. And they keep mum in particular busy and occupied. And the more time she gives Junior the less time she can give you. Kids are emotionally demanding. So are you. And a kid is not a short-term project. You’re going to be responsible for him or her until early to mid-twenties. Essentially therefore your kids occupy the middle one-third of your life.
Now, if things were not right between you and missus before the kids arrived you may drift apart permanently. The most dangerous part of the marriage stretch is thus that early stretch of parenting when kids reduce partner devotion. The woman may be overwhelmed and the man may cut off, emotionally feeling neglected at that stage. There are so many stresses associated with raising kids. School fees for example can be a burden. Best to plan to have kids than to just have kids without planning or forethought. When you plan for kids you can save towards expenses. Not always easy for young couples but it’s good advice. Without planning, school fees can be very stressful with their predictability and persistence. If the child obtains scholarship, of course that’s a major relief. But better to plan like he or she won’t obtain one. If a girl, there are of course those thoughts about getting an Alsatian. Men tend to over-compensate with their girls. When she travels you want to be in constant touch, to be sure everything is okay. Or you’re thinking of her constantly. So there’s that extra sense of responsibility men have when it comes to their baby girls. For good reason. But all in all, you’re going to have to devote the next twenty-something years of your life to that kid post arrival. And you can’t complain. Your dad did the same for you. So did your mum. Now it’s your turn.
Of course I’m not talking about irresponsible, part-time or absentee fathers. If your father was irresponsible you should do everything to be otherwise. You don’t want YOUR kids resenting you. There’s also the moral responsibility of fatherhood. It assumes you’re a role model to your kids. Then there’s loving your kids – being there for them, being present at home, the giving of attention. There’s the need for loving assurances for your kids, the transmission of faith. That’s a father’s responsibility. And you must pass on the oracles of God to your next generation. You must equip them spiritually. You must also protect your kids. Kids need protection from all sorts of evil. They’re vulnerable and foolish. You must pass on and inculcate life skills into them. Your kids need survival knowledge. Then you must encourage attainment, give them the necessary push, drop them like an eagle to fly. Discipline your kids or you’ll ruin their lives. Teach your boys to respect women. Teach your girls their worth as women. They must demand respect from men. The best practicals is however how you treat their mother. How are you treating her? And you must inculcate values into your children. Teach them diligence and hard work. You yourself must be a hardworking dad. Children learn by osmosis. Your children will learn marriage from you one way or the other. They’ll either want what you have or run from what you have. Truth is, to the average kid his or her parents are the first superheroes. Dad is Superman, mum is Superwoman.
You’ll need to fire the imagination of your children. It’s why you buy them comics, toys, gadgets and games. Without imagination they won’t be able to exercise faith to create the future. Faith requires imagination. But you don’t want your kid to be too much a daydreamer. You want an achiever. There’s a balance therefore. Daydreams are okay but you must teach your kid pragmatism. You must encourage independence and self-reliance in your kids. It’s why they join Boys’ Scout and Girls’ Guide. Also, you want your child developing healthily, socially and temperamentally. Your child must be able to control his or her temper. He or she must be able to control those emotions. Your kid must be empathetic. Or you’ll end up breeding a sociopath. Encourage acts of kindness. It’s important your kids are culturally literate. Can be very helpful in the drive for attainment. It’s why you take them to museums, clubs…encourage reading and travel. It’s also why you take them out for dinner. You want them appreciating etiquette and the refinements of life. You want them to appreciate privilege too. They must never have a sense of entitlement. And so you can see parenting takes a whole lot. And oh, by the way you want your child financially responsible. He or she must be able to handle finance, and save. And you need to teach your kids the principle of delayed gratification.
However, in bringing your kid into this world you must not lose your marriage. Your blessing must not become your curse. It’s why you must find time for each other no matter what. Even in the midst of all that parenting, create your oasis. Congratulations by the way. Don’t forget you have naming responsibility.