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Read Letter

The Father Husband

Dear Jack, there’s that other aspect of husbanding people don’t consider. It’s called fatherhood! You’ll be surprised how much being a good father to your children is a measure of your value as a husband. It’s all about a sense of responsibility – being responsible for your family. Which in a way is a measure of love for your wife – no loving husband abdicates parental responsibility. There are too many women playing the role of father because the real dad won’t show up or step up.

Children are a wonderful breed. They remember a lot more than we give them credit. You were a child once. Think back to your childhood. There are things you remember no one knows you do. The same applies to your child. There are things he’ll remember about you, you can’t imagine. Of course there are the rebellion years – usually the teen years, though not every child goes through this. A lot depends on the kind of parents he has and the dynamics of relationship. Some fathers didn’t go through it. They maintained fundamental communication, partnership and understanding with their children. They avoided provoking the children to anger. And the children didn’t see any need for rebellion. But even with that phase of life many children come to appreciate their parents as they grow older. And that’s because children have an astonishing capacity which often eludes our analyses. They hone in on fundamentals. And the greatest fundamental is love.

Children deeply appreciate love, especially when they become parents themselves. They’ll overlook the inconvenient details of history and just hone in on the love of their parents. That’s what they’ll hold on to, that’s all they’ll remember. Life filters the rest into the background. It’s okay to regale your child with material benefits but they’re a poor substitute for love. A child needs a loving and caring father. If a father struggles, all a child wants to know is that his father is putting in his best for him – that he’s sacrificing. It’s never wise to hide details of difficulties and struggles from children. How would they appreciate life? Such sharing secures the bond between a father and a child. And it’s proof of love. Don’t you allow your child imagine you pluck money from trees. You’ve got to let him know you work for the money. Or he’ll have no appreciation of the value of money, and you’ll sell a lie to your child about your capacity.

It’s important to have an honest relationship with your child. Sometimes that’s all children want. When he knows of your struggles to give him a good education, he’ll appreciate the education more. And it will give him impetus to succeed, to justify your investment. And show appreciation. He’ll want to succeed in life, if only to take care of you. You’ll be surprised how deep these things run. And the more responsible you are for your family the more your wife will appreciate you. You’ve got to deliver the goods as a father. That’s good husbanding. It’s not so much about money but what you’re willing to give and give up for your children. Sacrifice is a word children appreciate. There are fathers who borrowed to give their children Ivy League education. They sacrificed. And in their old age their children indulged them, greatly. They know what that certificate cost their dad. You don’t want to be a father your child hates, a never-there dad. If you are not responsible for your children, why, you’re irresponsible! At the end of the day your children are your heritage. Not that big house or that big self-importance. You’re no less a man letting your wife and children know things are tough, that you’re working hard to provide. They’ll appreciate whatever you bring home- because it is motivated by devotion, love and affection.

And you can’t have a bad father and end up a bad father. Then what have you learnt?! You’ll end up victimizing yourself with a victim mentality. Get rid of it! Yes, you had a terrible dad. But that’s not exclusive to you. Countless others had the same affliction. And many turned out right – good fathers. So what’s your excuse? Shouldn’t your father’s deficiencies then become a motivation for you to be a good dad? Your dad was your dad. But what dad are you? You don’t want your adult children relating to you only on the basis of dutifulness. You want love and affection. You can’t have love and affection from your kids without giving them love and affection. It takes effort. If you lose relationship with your children you’ll almost certainly lose relationship with your grandchildren.

For some people their sole claim to fatherhood is semen donation. They’re not true fathers. They usually end up demanding the rights of a father in old age – and the children question the basis. They weren’t there! By the time you’re trying to prove to your child you’re entitled to the rights of a father, something has gone wrong. There are de jure fathers, and there are de facto fathers. Which are you? Which do you want to be? Get close to your children. Be a factor in their lives. Be there for them. Believe in them. Support them, love them. Be the father your children can count on. Don’t be condemnatory, never seeing good in your child. Provide for your children. Give them a sound education. Education is key. Teach them values of stewardship. Teach them the fear of God. Ingrain citizenship in them. Teach them compassion. And you want your children to be greater than you, to accomplish more than you ever did. Solomon was greater than David. That should be every parent’s prayer. Unless of course you’re a self-centered father. The time to start is now.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

Tags : Responsibility, Father

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