Here is a chance to become the best father in 2013
Posted Sunday, January 6 2013 at 02:00
. Having been socialised as providers, many men believe that their parenting role rotates around ensuring the material comfort of their family. However, one needs to realise that it takes much more to be a father, and a new year is another chance to be the most valuable man in the lives of your children.
The year is finally gone with all its politically dramas and economic trying times. Back to the family, if you had a magical power to penetrate the minds and thought process of your children and their mother in regard to you as their father, what would the reading be? Even then, in your individual capacity as a father, how would you assess yourself in light of 2012?
Every other day, the nasty things happening world over, underpin the great value of proper child upbringing. That is why, it is vital that amidst your grand plans in matters of personal finance and office ambitions, you should seriously plan on becoming a better father this year.
Graduate from a mere father to real parent
Cliché though it may sound, anybody can wake up one day, drop his pants down for a few minutes and become a father. Not a parent though. “If there is anything engaging in this world, it is the calling of parenting,” says Emmanuel Sekitto, a teacher at St. Mary’s S.S Kitende. The typical father pays the children’s school and medical fees, puts bread and butter on the table and buys the nicest clothes there are in town, but delegates nurturing and grooming to the maid and perhaps, his wife.
Yes, a good father works tooth and nail to provide his children with the basics of life, but goes the extra mile to work round the clock to see to it that those needs are enjoyed in the most comfortable environment.
This year, Sekitto advises all men, “reclaim your central role in nurturing children. Talk to them as much as possible, understand them and help them in making life choices amidst the challenges that come with growing.” If you have been doing this in the last year, don’t become complacent, aluta continua! In any case, work better and harder because the world is increasingly becoming more challenging for children.
Give them more time and become closer
Harsh economic times, busy schedules and everything else you can pinpoint, the point is, your family should come first. You are because your family is. You just cannot have an excuse to spend three months without even checking on them over the phone or internet because you are chasing a big business deal in China.
Yes, the money might come your way, but prepare to console yourself when by the time you want to make good use of the money, the family is irreparably broken. “ Even when on leave, some men would rather go to the village to chase projects, yet they could use that time to compensate for the lost time,” bitterly complains a mother of four in Jinja.
“Fathers should do anything under the sun to make sure they are as close to the children as possible,” advises Beatrice Kakembo, a senior counsellor at Inspirations Centre in Kampala.
Talk to the children
It is not enough to squeeze time for your family without doing anything productive with it. And by productive, we do not mean taking children to the beach. Well, that may be part of the package of quality leisure time together. However, take time off to discuss pertinent issues relating to their career ambitions, marriage prospects (for the fairly old ones) and the challenges of puberty and life in general.
“Our children face a serious threat from a moral point of view. Vices like homosexuality and drug abuse are getting ingrained in their lifestyle, but if as parents we don’t talk them against the temptations out there, they could fall prey,” says Pastor Solomon Male, the director of Arising for Christ Ministries.
Kakembo agrees with him, though from a communication channel point of view, “parents have the power from above, we ought to use that chance to communicate with these children and appreciate them better.”
Promote financial literacy and saving
Year-in-year out, the financial squeeze gets tighter yet the money just cannot come our way. This calls for parents to think outside the box and one such treasure you can give your child is a safe financial future. For how long will you be their human ATM machine? Do not take the adverts by banks for child savings accounts as sheer business language.
“You have every reason to teach them financial literacy, good spending habits and savings,” advises askmen.com, a popular website with parenting tips for men. Even then, that business empire needs a successor when you are gone to keep its candle burning. It is never too early and late to train your successor.
Be more honest to your children
If you will not deliver that dress or i-Pad as a reward for her academic excellence, do not promise it. If deep in your heart you are sure you will not explain the barrier of communication between you and their mother without exaggerating facts to favour yourself, shut your mouth and rest your case.
Children learn habits from their parents because as education consultant, Fagil Mandy puts it, “A child’s first school is the home.” You don’t want to become the brain behind the next generation of crooks robbing desperate pensioners of their money.