I salute the fathers who have understood the critical role of fatherhood and have done or are doing their best.
By Dr. Jennifer Namusobya-Isabirye
I salute the fathers who have understood the critical role of fatherhood and have done or are doing their best. I greatly appreciate the articles published by the New Vision on fatherhood. I pray that fathers, mothers and children are listening.
But what if these articles make you feel guilty for not having been the best father? What if, looking at your life, and that of your children, you realise some of the negative behaviours in yourself and in your children can be traced to lack of a good father?
The immediate reactions could include denial of the facts; hoping that your family/ friends don’t read these articles; blaming your father who didn’t give it to you; hatred for those who deprived you of a father through killing him or through divorce. These are normal reactions, but they cannot solve your problems. Stop pointing fingers and take personal responsibility for your life and children.
If you are a Father and you realise you could do better, here are some options: First, consider your ego, defined in a book entitled “How to Lead like Jesus” as either: Exalting God Only or Edging God Out. Supposing you take the first definition- humble yourself before God, who brought these children on earth through you.
The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:6: Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand that He may lift you up…” The opposite of humility is pride, which God hates and which comes before a fall. Repent. Forgive yourself; also remember that you excel in some areas! Since you can’t give what you don’t have, re-connect to God as your Father. Psalms 68:5 says “A Father to the Fatherless….is God...”.
The only way I know by which we become children of God is through accepting His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, as Lord and Saviour ( John 1:12). Once re-connected to God, keep walking with Him through reading His Word, prayer and fasting. He will give you the security/ self-worth you have been lacking, which has caused you to be abusive to your children; He will give you wisdom to be a father like Him. Seek help for yourself and your children from professional counselors.
The recovery journey may not be easy, based on how much damage there is, but it is worth it. Of what good is it for you to succeed elsewhere but have children you are ashamed to call you own?
If you are a mother, feeling that you are “off the hook” and blaming dad for all the children’s woes won’t help. Be grateful that now you know, at least in part, the answer to what you are seeing in spite of your best efforts. Forgive the imperfect father (you are not perfect!). Support him to do better. Appreciate whatever little progress he makes.
If you are a child who now wants to blame all your problems on dad, stop it! Take charge of your life! Find a father in God; if dad is alive, ask him to forgive you; forgive him; support him to do better. Seek professional counseling. If you are a boy, prepare to be the best father to your children. If you are a girl, make sure that Mr. Right will be the best father to your children.
The primary role of schools is education but should open their doors to counselors, who have the knowledge and skills to parent our children. Grades may improve!
Those who prepare people for marriage: emphasise fatherhood, and follow up with the necessary support.
The writer is the Executive Director of the Makerere University Joint AIDS Program
Fatherhood: What if I have not been one, or I missed a father?