Listen Son, I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little hand crumpled under your cheek and blonde curls sticky over your wet forehead. I have broken into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guilty, I came to your bedside.
Nothing else mattered tonight. Son, I have come to your beside in the darkness, I have knelt there, ashamed! It is a feeble atonement; I know that you would not understand these things which I have told you in the waking hours. Tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, suffer when you suffer and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy — a little boy.” I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, Son, crumpled and weary in your bed. I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder.
I have asked too much, too much!
(Excerpt from Father Forget by W Livingstone)
Everything is said to rise and fall on leadership. Fathers are priests and a symbol of leadership in a family as designed and ordained by God. According to John C Maxwell, Leaders are supposed to Model, Motivate, Mentor and Multiply in leadership. In this day and age, we have seen many things go wrong because fathers have failed to rise up to the challenge of true leadership in their homes.
Today, more than ever before, we have more social problems that are as a result of the absence of a father or father-figure in a home. Many fathers have abandoned their responsibilities and those that seem to be present, are preoccupied with other things which has left a gap in the lives of their children. The need to fill the gap left by absent fathers has also resulted into various challenges.
This is an issue that has been ongoing for generations. Many of us today act the way we do because of the influence our fathers had on us and their fathers before them. Talk about “learning from the best,” — we followed the model we saw our fathers to be, we were motivated to do the things they did, we looked up to them as mentors and it’s only logical that we are a replica of who they were. With all that the past has presented us, is there hope for the future?
To begin with, we need to address the issue of identity. Where does our identity come from as men? “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” — 1 Peter 2:9 NIV. Through Jesus Christ, we have received salvation. We can only give from what we have received. Jesus Christ is best model we can ever have. Our identity therefore should be found in him.
Intentionally seeking to be better and to better those around us is also important. There are habits, beliefs, practices and mentalities we have learnt and adopted which influence our bad behavior and character. We need to unlearn them. We should also take intentional steps to learn and practice new principles that help us grow towards becoming better men and fathers at that.
Accountability is one of the principles that can help us to grow in this journey. Walking in wise counsel of men who embody godly attributes of a father is a step we should intentionally take. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens [and influences] another [through discussion].” — Proverbs 27:17 AMP
There is definitely hope for a better future, but it is going to take a lot of work and intentionality. We need to review our past, look at our present and do something about it in order to have a better future when it comes to fatherhood.
I hope and pray that we will each play our part in becoming and grooming better fathers who are good leaders and priests in their families.