LET’S TAlK ABOUT FATHERHOOD

Today being on father’s day I will explore one subject in life that is very crucial but many never explore or talk about – Fatherhood.

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I have come to find out that a lot of adults and kids don’t care about their fathers, and can go for years and years without asking how their father is. Most never call their fathers, unless they are really daddy’s child and since they say men hardly express their feelings their dads never call them too. Not unless there is an emergency at home, and their mothers phone has switched off and they live in the rural areas where electricity is several kilometers away. Most of the time when the father calls children pick in astonishment wondering whether he dialed the wrong number. Or he is probably drunk.
I have also come to find out that most adults and kids blame their father for not living the perfect life. Since in patriarchal societies the man is the one supposed to provide, children generally feel that if their fathers put much effort he would have provided better for his kids and that today they will be in posh houses and careers.

My grandma who is over 60 years still blames her father for not taking her to school and for allowing her to get married  at a young age. Never mind she was not forced to it was free will just to fit in like other girls, but the fact that her father did not step in and advise her accordingly to stay in school, so that she could later get a white collar  job makes her be bitter with her father years later even after he died. She still tells me that if her father would have been responsible enough she wouldn’t be married to my grandfather(poor old man😄), but instead she would have been of a higher class and her brains and beauty would have attracted  men of higher calibre like Raila and Uhuru. (Dear future husband, you have no alternative but to be great,  the apple does not fall far from the tree, hehee) IMG_20180617_110042.jpg

IF a girl has not been able to forgive her father for over sixty years, then you can imagine how many people are walking around this world thinking ‘if only daddy did this and that my life wouldn’t have turned like this’.

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I once saw a friend post that when Kenyatta and other focused men were allocating Land for themselves his grandfather was busy chasing women women and his crushes and that’s why his family was still poor. I laughed and laughed but come to think of it was not funny and the boy probably had suffered in school and seen children of the rich drive expensive cars and his thoughts wandered to why his grandfather did nothing when he could. Never mind the poor old man being accused here might have  not have gone to school or exposed like Kenyatta, probably came from the interior parts of the country where the only participation he could was traditional singing and dancing and he was probably never aware of the shamba’s being grabbed. But here he was being blamed for the poverty of his off springs many years later. And I am sure he represents so many fathers out here who have to fake brave faces everyday and not speak for themselves because the society expects them to be ‘tough and man up’.IMG_20180616_234414.jpg

 

 

In most cases, daddy issues refers to people who have life problems relating with other people, and it’s normally assumed their dad was absent in their life and that’s why they never learnt proper civilization. Telling somebody they have daddy issues can make them hate you for good because that’s equivalent to an insult. On the other hand mummy’s kid is something that even an old bearded man won’t mind to be called, because it’s associated with having been brought up closely by a mother and a woman and being close to them has no issue in the society because almost every other kid can relate to a mum. And people hardly condemn what they have.
In this year the world joined hands in celebration of mother’s day. Mothers received gifts, phone calls and congratulatory messages from their beloved children. The media was packed; full photos and messages to the world’s best mother. It was total jubilation. I didn’t write anything myself but last year Feeling left out I also posted a photo of a relative just to fit in.
On father’s day, last year I logged in social media and I didn’t know it was indeed Father’s day. Few photos were here and there and unlike for mothers there were no long messages and the few who did post wrote a simple ‘Happy father’s day dad.’ Again, like on mother’s day, I felt left out and broken too, so I decided to post a photo of my grandfather and celebrate him instead,

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but just before I did I saw an interesting note in facebook.
‘I also wanted to post a photo of my father today, it’s not like I don’t have it, but because I want to share the silence with those who lost their fathers. They also wish to post their pictures today, but they just can’t, happy father’s day.’ The note captured by mind totally, and I could tell this was a kid who, just like me, found it extremely hard to accept they never had their father or a relationship with them. I was moved and instead I shared that note instead joining millions who let the day slide. Don’t misjudge me; we cannot celebrate our fathers in a day but acknowledging them like we do for mothers counts.

Looking back I shouldn’t have bought that idea of letting the day slide I should have just posted my grandfather or any man who has been instrumental in my life just to celebrate them. But it felt normal to assume the day.

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Because it’s normal and the fathers’ absence in children’s life is real. And it has detrimental impacts.
We bring our boys teaching them practically that fatherhood is not appreciated in our society and being a mother is more rewarding than being a father. It’s not something I want my son to grow believing and it’s unfortunate that at a tender age teenage boys learn to live without their fathers because even those whose fathers are present  are very busy or their whereabouts not known.  {this article exempts the fathers who’ve passed away may their soul rest in eternal peace.}

In retaliation, boys and young men see no harm with their future children growing up without them. In so many cases, we’ve seen boys deny their children, I am not defending them, everybody will carry their cross and responsibilities but come to look at it on another angle the society has overlooked the crucial role of a father and taught those boys they can escape responsibilities and walk scot free. Most boys have better relationships with their cartoons than they have with their father. And they are taught its okay not to know about their father’s whereabouts or miss them or talk to them about issues.
Everywhere I go people ask me about my mum, but very few ask about my dad, meaning that the society has given it to the fact that a father is 95% probably absent and his role is not so important.
On the other hand kids with fathers at home, never interact most of the time because they are at work and on weekends they are out drinking with friends. I am not dismissing the importance of work or friendship I am just saying that what would cost any man to spend at least thirty minutes knowing how their child’s day was. ?
In most homes the father never addresses the children directly but through their mother and if children need something from their father they will request it through their mother. Why the breakdown in communication?

If children want to go somewhere and ask their father he’ll probably tell them that the final decision is with their mother so as to ask her first yet if they ask the mother first they won’t have to go confirm her answer from their father. Why? Why teach children from young age that their father’s opinion doesn’t count as long as they win their mothers approval.?
Most of the times when children call home the mother always pick, and they talk for so long and the mother says all the needs while the child responds. None of the above thinks of the father who is probably listening from the background, the laughter of his wife, wishing he could at least hold the phone for few seconds and listen to his child’s voice. When somebody is away even their voice can console you that they’ve not forgotten you. But he never gets to hear the voice. And he never complains because as a man he is not expected to be ‘petty’. But why make him as a Father feel that you never miss him and that he is a lesser parent despite of struggling for many days so that he could afford to pay your fees and basic necessities?

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In many cases after divorce, even if the mother is the drunkard, and the one on the wrong and who is unable to take care of the children, the court hardly listens to the father’s side of the story, and decisions are made to favor the mother because that’s what the law says until the child is 18. What rubbish is that?  Why risk  the children future, by letting them live with an incompetent mother who instead needs to go for counseling and rehab? Why let decisions leave the children with scars yet both parents should have equal rights and the one on the wrong is the one who should be punished? Why subdue fathers with mothers?
What am I trying to say?
I know a lot of people may criticize me for defending fathers. I know most may be telling me that I am writing all these because I have a father. But here is the thing, I have no personal or close relationship with my biological father until today, but I have always assumed he is here with me, and that he is proud of me. So as a child who grew up in such circumstances, where the only communication I had with my father was through numerous letters I wrote and are still with me and never got to be read, I know the importance of a father in someone’s life.

Just a day before I joined university, I was watching the late Dr. Myles Munroe talk about fatherhood. He said they grew up ten boys in a very poor home and none of them went astray because the father was there to guide them. He furthermore went and said boys who grow up without father figures end up struggling with addictions, self esteem or lost with no guidance, while girls who grow up without fathers end up being used by people who take advantage because they are seeking for love the father never offered and they never know when to walk away because the father never set standards for them on how they should be loved or treated. I don’t know God has incredible ways of protecting you because those words made me very cautious and avoid tricky situations in my life. Deep down I knew I was a child who had grown up with an absent father and I could be a target of manipulation so I always walk away if I see someone is taking advantage of my kindness. But it doesn’t mean I wasn’t affected either way. There is something that money cannot compensate.  In the process of protecting myself I ended up too careful ,still I am, and sometimes I have pushed away good men who have really good intentions I guess no wonder I am still single. Hehee. What was that again?

 

I later got to read the link below that opened up to me that some of the challenges I was going through like depression could be as a result of an absentee dad.

https://owlcation.com/social-sciences/Psychological-Effects-On-Men-Growing-Up-Without-A-Father

 

I guess my pain coupled with my life experiences explain why I am passionate about kids. .

I feel as a society we need to acknowledge and celebrate fathers.

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We need to teach our young boys what we teach young girls- to aspire to marriage,  that marriage is beautiful and show practically that even after marriage they will not be voiceless like most fathers are because all they  to do at home is sit, read a newspaper, wait for food, watch news then sleep. We need to make it a custom for our husbands (well…) to have a say in our children lives, and not let the young boys know that as long as they are working and giving money their contribution in the family is complete.

We need to let our young children learn from examples that their success in life is totally dependent on them, and not on what their father did or did not do. When they have doubts, when they see their friends driving the fathers Mercedes we need to remind them of the story of my one biggest inspiration, the man Obama, and the many great people who had no idea where or who their fathers were but still rose to be great in this world and even in Obama’s case write letters  and a book to the father who he knew nothing much about .

Forgiveness goes a long way in helping someone climb the success ladder in life so We need to curb the bitterness from young kids that it’s okay to forgive those fathers who have been absent,  and accept fathers who are active and not compare them to their mothers because human beings are wired differently and both parents play significant and important roles in our lives. We need to teach the children with fathers to acknowledge them and be grateful to God for them.  We need to teach our young people that mothers could not have them alone, and half of who they are is the father whether in absentia or plays an active role.  It’s all start with us as a society. Let’s teach them to celebrate every parent. Let’s teach them importance of Fatherhood and anything in a trouser can be called a man but that does not translate to being a great father.
And only then can we have a generation of young men aspiring to marry and be fathers without being afraid of giving too much of themselves with less rewards – I recently read a joke where men were being told to save as much as could on their early life because when they get old or retire the children will come visiting, give the mother lots of money for herself and the father will be only given 500 but will still be expected by the wife to use it to buy sugar or not tea for them, how Sad.

Only then will we have young boys seeing girls as women of aubstance, women to be married as partners and not just objects to be enticed with few coins. Only then will we have a generation where women will have their men not afraid of siring kids. Only then will we have loving homes with active fathers and no bitterness in homes with mothers as heads of families. Only then will we have a generation of children who know that bitterness doesn’t pay, and to have a father or not is by God’s plans, all to prepare you for the line and work He has for you. If I grew up with my dad, I would have probably never taken interest in the importance of fatherhood and I would have never be here writing this article today. So you see,  everything works for good and to prepare us to the people God wants us to be.

And today  I choose to celebrate my old man- My grandpa. He never had much when I was a kid but he stamped the authority of a father in the society and protected me from rituals like circumcission, ensured I went to school very early and worked as a watchman earning 3000Kshs a month just to see me through primary before God opened doors for me. One of the greatest memory I have with him is when I was in primary. We were collecting litter in school when one of the teachers shouted at me. We ‘Kaloko’ pick that yellow paper over there.

Now here is the thing Kaloko means a small hand. This was because  my right hand is slightly smaller as compared to the left hand. All the children looked at me and laughed you know the teacher had just highlighted and made fun of my weakness. It didn’t help that she was a special unit teacher and thus was supposed to take care of children with special needs.
I was so embarrassed I was used to children laughing at me and imitating how my hand looked but I didn’t expect it to come from her.  I cried all the way home and told my grandma ‘You see, if only you people could afford enough money to take care of my reconstructive surgery after the accident I wouldn’t have everyone including teachers making fun of me’.
I have never seen my grandma that hurt. She is this sweet lady who everybody loves until I saw her in other colors that day.  She took me back to school in a flash and was breathing fire.
She couldn’t stay calm and she shouted at the headmaster clenching her fits ‘Where is that stupid teacher? I never fight but today I am going to teach her a lifetime lesson’
The headmaster stood and held the door and signaled my grandma to calm down. He pleaded with not cause a scene but she couldn’t not hear none of that. She wanted to set her eyes according to her words on the ‘stupid fool teacher’ (insert Kikamba acsent.)
I got so scared .The Head teacher was so apologetic for the scenario and promised to discpline the teacher and that it was not going to happen again.
 But I had to deal with children mocking me for months.
That night , In my room, very sad, Crying and for the first time questioning what life had in store for me my old man walked in. Held me and said
‘Your grandma just told me what happened to you today. And I am sorry, I know that must be hard for you. But I can only tell you one thing. Life is not going to be easy for you, well, it is never is for anyone but for your it might be worse with a physical challenge. But I want you to be kind, I want you to love God, I want you to love humanity and give the world your best. As your grandfather I want you to have two normal hands so that no one has to make fun of you, but it’s beyond my means look at how poor we are and we can never question God. But I want you to be the best that the world can offer, I want you to give the best to the world. Sometimes your best is not going to be enough, and some people may not approve you, but If you give your best and it’s not enough always walk away knowing you did your best. I want you to know to some you may never mean much, but you are all that I have in this life, I know that  will not compensate for you pain, but let it encourage you that you have a purpose in life. Let that encourage you that if you go out there and you give your best you can always come back to me if everything else fails’
It was special given that it was the first day he talked to me about deep life realities . And I cried. I asked him ‘Grandpa, What if I have a child, or worse twins, who is going to help me carry them if my hand remains like this. Won’t the world laugh at me just like they did today just because I could not pick the papers  with two hands like others’
My grandpa came and held my hand and told me ‘Whatever you can’t do leave it to God, in my eyes you can do everything, you always do. Work hard and when that time comes God will show you a solution, you will get a nanny if it will be too tiring for you. And if the world laughs at you show them that you can, prove to them by achieving what they don’t expect you. Don’t listen to the negative voices just keep pressing on’
And he tucked me and I slept so well.
And years down I realized those words healed me. I think no wonder I love playing with words I know how powerful words are. Because his words have kept me and have pushed me to be the best I could be even amidst tears. Those words have consoled me even even in my lowest moments.  Those words have made me  make tough decisions knowing that even if I fail he still loves me and he is always there for me.
Happy Fathers day to my old man. He raised a strong and a beautiful grandchild.FB_IMG_1529180742786
I dedicate every small achievement I have ever made to him.
I cannot forget to say Happy Fathers day to My spiritual Father Reverend Chrispus Mutavanya who I wrote about sometime back and has been very instrumental to the lady I am today. Your faith in me, support, words of encouragement and Prayers have built me from a strong little girl to a God fearing girl. No amount of words can explain how I am grateful. May God bless your soul.
 Finally, Happy fathers day to all fathers and aspiring fathers out here. May you all live to love and use words of wisdom and encouragement to your children knowing that your actions and words are powerful enough to make them or break them.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Mutia says:

    What a piece! What an inspiration!

    You are amazing Brightstar.

    Like

  2. Ms. Ena says:

    I enjoyed your blog. I loved the pictures and killer shoes girl!!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much. May God bless you

      Like

  3. Misiani says:

    You spoke to me directly today. I had to hide so that no one sees my tears rolling. Great piece, God bless you my daughter.

    Like

    1. God loves you Dad. And He will keep strengthening you and making you better for our generation.

      Like

  4. KPW says:

    Star, sorry am reading this today, but admittedly it speaks for a majority boys. Contrarily my old man was always there for me and all of us as we grew up, he woke us up, personally took us to school, came back home for lunch or brought us lunch in school, came home early enough to take us for evening coffee[now you know where i developed a love for coffee], took us to book shops to buy us textbooks and at times story books, ensured we did our homework well, fed us during supper and carried us to our beds[I had an habit of sleeping on the couch in the living room immediately after supper].
    To me I had and have not just a loving dad but a caring one too. To my kids, expect no less than what I got from my old man, SON.

    Like

    1. Your Old Man is a blessing to humanity and no wonder God has kept him for long and blessed his children. I am glad to have met him and the rest of the family. He is the type of man we should teach all young boys to aspire to be like. May God keep strengthening him.

      Liked by 1 person

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