It is exactly a month since I took my flight from Kenya to India for medication. Every time I call home my son (two years and eight months old now) asks me whether I am at the airport going home. I guess this is because the last picture the young boy has in his mind about me is that of his daddy going to the airport to catch a plane to India. I had told him so and the words stuck in his mind. So he doesn’t understand why his daddy can’t take the same plane back home! The boy obviously misses me.
This has got me thinking, for a while, about the huge number of absentee fathers all over the world and the magnitude of hurt that they inflict on their children through their absence. Whether it is intentional or not, the damage caused is always the same. Children have a tendency of developing a rebellious streak towards their mothers and society, especially in teen-age, when they don’t understand why their fathers are not there for them. They unknowingly blame their mothers and the larger society for it and are always bitter when they see other children with their daddies.
With the world becoming more competitive and people increasingly trotting all over the globe in pursuit of greener pastures and wealth, some men have replaced being there for their children with material provisions and money. The fact is, no amount of material provisions or money can fully replace the physical presence and love of a father. No number of phone calls and Skype sessions can fill this void. It should be known that children will always be in need of a father figure that they can look up to whenever they are in dilemma and if the dad is always absent, they will definitely get this father figure in the wrong places. The boys might join criminals gangs with members who are way older than them. Girls will most likely find a father figure in men, usually much older than them, and be taken advantage of, which may lead to early pregnancies and frustrations. Research has shown that most people with criminal minds or those engaging in immoral activities like prostitution and drug abuse had a troubled childhood arising from poor parenting or lack of it altogether.
Even more worrying is the increasing number of “biological” fathers who don’t want to take responsibility of the children that they sired. This is a despicable act of cowardice and irresponsibility that is usually very hard to forgive. It is not uncommon to hear such men boasting of how many children they have sired out there thinking that they look more manly because of that! The question they fail to ask themselves is, “Who his taking care of the small clan that they are busy building out there?” In my opinion, such men need to be rounded up and flogged in a public arena. But, then again, if you try to dig into the past of such men, you will find that they are most likely from a background where their fathers were never really there for them. So they never experienced fatherly love and it is usually difficult to give what you don’t have. I take my hat off and salute single mothers who have successfully managed to bring up their children single-handedly or are in the process of struggling to do so. I also have a lot of respect for men who bring up children even when they know that they are not the biological fathers! They obviously understand the importance of a father figure in a child’s life.
Yesterday I watched a movie called ‘COURAGEOUS’ whose theme is based on fatherhood. The characters in the movie are a group of cops who are friends. All of them had a troubled past because of poor parenting and this somehow manifests in their adult lives and adversely affects their behaviors as fathers. However, the movie ends on a good note when all of them decide to publicly take a solemn oath, in form of a written resolution, to the effect that they will always be accountable to themselves and to their families as fathers. I think this is a must-watch movie for any man worth being called a father. It is high time all fathers took such an oath of accountability to their families. Men should realize that they have a big responsibility of representing the image of our father in heaven, here on earth, regardless of their childhood troubles. If they do, the world will obviosly be a better place than it is now. Can the real fathers stand up!