Sunday February 3 2013

Walking straight into daddy’s footsteps

Walking straight into daddy’s footsteps

George William Ssenkindu, right, shares a light moment with his son, Jacent Kamya. So strong has their bond been that the son has followed his dad into the bookshop business. Photo by Abubaker Lubowa. 

By Gloria Haguma

George William Ssenkindu, proprietor of Angelina Bookshop, is not only father to Jacent Kamya, but the two are close friends, even sharing support for Manchester United Football club. They tell how theirs has gone beyond a father-son relationship.

Jacent Kamya, 30.
What was life like growing up with your father?
Growing up with my father was a lovely experience. He taught us to work hard, and be responsible at an early age. He was, and still is, more than my father. He is my friend. Discipline was also paramount and he was rather very strict in regards to school related issues.

Do you think he did a perfect job raising you?
I think he did well. Growing up with my father exposed me to a number of real life issues and I got to learn many things at a tender age and very fast. He taught me to work hard, as that is the only way one can be able to live a comfortable life.

How involved was your father, in the deepest issues in your life?
My father has always been a busy man. So, the only issues we interacted about were business related. It’s not that he had no time for me; it’s just that I did not really have many personal issues that required me to involve my dad.

Did he have much influence on the person that you are today?
Yes he did. Eighty per cent of the man that I am today is attributed to my dad. I am an accountant by profession but today, I am more of a businessman than an accountant. This can be attributed to the fact that I got involved in my father’s bookshop business at an early age, and it’s from here that I picked interest to join the trade.

Are there any parenting tips that you have picked from your father that you employ in your own parenting?
I am not a parent yet. But there are a number of lessons I have picked that I will surely instill in my own children. First and foremost, discipline is key. My father always cautioned me to be disciplined. He also made education and hard work paramount. Personally, I also think it is important for every parent to establish a firm ground for a friendly relationship with their children.

What are some of the memorable moments you have shared together?
My first memorable moment with my dad was when he gave me my first job at 13-years-old. I had just completed P.7. He offered me a job as a sales person in his bookshop. The other memorable moment would be my graduation day.

I also love the fact that we are in the same line of business, and that because of him, I have managed to remain self-employed.

Ssekindu George William, 62.
What kind of child was your son?
He was very talkative, and eager to learn. I did not really have a hard time raising him. He was always more than an average child his age.

How close are you and your son?
We are very close. He is almost like a brother to me. We do many things together: reading, watching football games and also share a similar passion for English premier league side, Manchester United.

Were you a tough parent?
I don’t think I was tough. I simply did what I felt was right for my son. I encouraged him to be hard working and gave no room for laziness. When he completed P.7, I enrolled him in the book selling business, and I am glad my efforts have paid off. Today, he also runs his own bookshop, alongside practicing his accountancy profession.

Do you consider yourself successful in bringing up your son?
I think I have done my best; I have been able to educate him. I thank God for the man that he has become. He has his shortcomings, just like any human being.

For instance, he tends to be talkative and ends up not listening to what he is being told. However, as a parent, I overlook those errors and focus on the brighter side of him.

What would you change about him if you could?
If I had the opportunity to, I would make sure that may son changed a few aspects about himself, that I feel are lacking. For instance, I wish he kept his promises, and also got a little bit more serious in regard to specific issues in his life.

Did you or your son intend to follow in your footsteps while he was growing up?
Of course! I have always wanted my son to be in the same line of business, and if possible, be even better than I am.That is why I took it upon myself to groom him into an eligible business minded person.

Any words of advice to parents that have failed to cement a meaningful relationship with their children?
I caution them to treat their children as adults, with respect. Every parent should be in love with their children. A parent can create special time with their child so as to catch up on what is going on in their lives and also strengthen their relationship. In my case, the time I spend watching a football match with my son, enables us to interact and bond, as father and son.