Hi there welcome to the second instalment of our fatherhood interview. In the first instalment we introduced our guests, became acquainted with their first steps on the journey of fatherhood. If you would like a chance to read the first part and meet our guests please click on the link.
Right, let’s continue with the interview shall we:
What ideology of fatherhood/manhood did you grow up with and how has that influenced your life?
Chika: I grew up in a rather balanced family setting in terms of ideology of fatherhood. Although my Dad provided leadership and direction, both parents worked and provided together. Both parents guided, corrected and disciplined in almost equal measures. Both parents challenged us together to be better and to aspire higher. The result for me was that I came out with no lope sided view of my place in the family. A father leads; a mother supports. The man loves her, the woman honours him- the children love and honour them. In the end, I understand that to succeed as a father I must openly and clearly demonstrate love for my wife, especially in the presence of my children. And, I must be an example in character and discipline. That’s what I learnt from them.
Does fatherhood have changing phases, what changes/what should change?
I believe fatherhood should have changing phases naturally. In the first two years this innocent bundle of joy should get all the love and dotting you could ever squeeze out. And a father should make the most of those giggles, and cuddles, and being able to make them laugh for no reasonable reason. Enjoy the ‘night shifts’ and all the nappy changes. However, things should begin to firm up a bit in terms of structure as they evolve through 3- 6years. Without turning into an Ogre overnight, a father must be able to effectively transition the ‘love bundle’ into a self-aware individual who is beginning to understand ‘boundaries’ and ‘rules’ and limitations’. And the older they get, the clearer the boundaries ought to be defined. I think this is one of the most critical aspects of father hood. If the foundation has been well laid between 3-12yrs, in discipline, friendship and character moulding, then the father could afford to be a bit more ‘hands free’ as the teenage years approach.
So, yes, fatherhood / parenting styles ought to change and advance as the child develops and as the circumstance dictates. In all things, the aim is to have a GODLY output, not necessarily mini-mes. No discipline should be allowed to impact long-term damage to a child’s soul or body. 2 Cor 7:9 (KJV) “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.”
Derek: Fatherhood is like a conversation: It doesn’t change. The topic, tone and content of a conversation may change, but what it is essentially (listening and speaking – observing and teaching) – never changes.
Children must never arrive at a point where they cease to defer to or respect their parents. There is no expiry date on the commandment for children to obey and honour their parents. Parents must not cease to seek the well-being and progress/growth of their children. Parents must never cease to teach, advise or discipline their children and even grandchildren.
Fatherhood should see me bring my children through a process in which right from an early age they understand my love (commitment) to them. When I teach, advise, correct, bless them, it is ONLY because I love them. God loved them and sent me ahead of them for a reason. To take some hits on their behalf so they can start from where I finished and go far higher.
In the proper model, we will raise our children to be able to make informed wise choices. We will raise them to be free to ask to understand our choices for them. Fatherhood is not afraid to provide a defence (a divine justification for) truth, but should not tolerate disrespect from selfish children.
Aham: Fatherhood does not change, it is what it is. Principles do not change either, but methods or parenting style might change depending on the prevailing circumstances. Environment changes parenting style, as the children grow, parenting style change. As we grow too, parenting style changes.
What’s your outlook to raising your child in a world revolving around gender issues and sexuality?
It is my responsibility as a father to teach my children, and my household for that matter, the TRUTH. The truth is God’s counsel, the Bible, written for our encouragement, correction and inspiration. From an early age the choice is made clear-God Is; God Says; God expects; God rewards; and God can punish. In my home, apart from praying together, we encourage our children to read their devotionals daily, and to ask any questions they may have on any biblical story. We want them to develop an independent mind-set based on God’s word. We teach them self-control; that you cannot have your way all the time; that some things are wrong even if you feel they’re good for you.
God made Adam and Eve. And it is NOT ACCEPTABLE in God’s sight for a man to MARRY a man or for a woman to MARRY another woman. We use MARRY because that’s the concept they can deal with for now. When the time comes, we would be seeking God’s wisdom for sex education. For now, that word has no meaning to them.
So as far as my outlook is concerned, I think every father (and mother) must take seriously the teaching of God’s word to the wee ones, and be attentive to their conversations and comments. What they hear from school or play club and try to re-say at home. This is where you can quickly pick up and clean up before the enemy can stick up dirt on the innocent minds. This aspect stirs my protective instinct to the extent that even when I am not consciously watching, I am still watching out for my kids. ALWAYS. The lord will help us all.
Derek: we carry the truth and must circulate it passionately and consistently to help our children walk right.
We should educate our children on the word of God. Pack them full of what God has said. Raise boys to be boys and raise girls to be girls. Religiously keep negative content away from your children at least till age six, then begin to let them know that there are ungodly people out there in the world who the devil deceives into disobeying God just like he deceived Adam and Eve. Having laid the foundation of the truth, use the light of God’s word to show them the enemy’s lies so they can identify it where ever it surfaces.
Aham: In Matthew 9:22, Jesus said to the woman with an issue, “Daughter, be of good comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole.’’ When young people, male or female understand and live on the principles of our Faith, God’s Word, this faith makes us whole. And that wholeness produces a balanced, godly perspective through which they will view society.
Modest and elegant described mainstream fashion in the past; same cannot be said for today. Is this important to you?
Chika: When my kids were younger, we would dress them up with matching items. The colour of the socks would go with the shirt. The colour of the shirt should match the trousers or skirt and scarf etc. Since then, even before the older turned 4, he would pick his choice of clothes in perfect colour blends all by himself. And so does his sister. The bible says train up a child in the way he should go and when he grows, he will not depart from it. I want my kids to learn to look their best at all times; to use their creativity to evolve new ways of presenting themselves. But they are also learning to be decent, and honourable even in their dressing. They already know it’s weird to walk around ‘naked’. By God’s grace, as they grow, it would translate to their fashion statement too.
Derek: We teach modesty/moderation as a lifestyle – it applies to food, clothing, music, everything. The concept behind moderation is control – that we control how much of everything we do in obedience to the word of God. We do not wear an outfit because someone wore it. We do not strip naked because someone famous did. We moderate what we wear to reflect what we believe: that our bodies are the temple of the living God, and that we are bought with a high price.
In children’s terms we teach them about their private parts and public parts. Any outfit that exposes their private parts is not good. Any dance that draws attention to their private parts is not good. Period.
Aham: Fashion should be simple, comfortable and cover nakedness. That is the purpose of clothing. Abuse is a deviation from purpose.
To be continued
Well, I hope you have enjoyed being with us, that’s a lot to consider on the topic of fatherhood. Take your time to mull over your thoughts, but don’t take your thoughts with you, share them.
See you next Saturday for a wonderful conclusion and a summary of all we have read so far.