It is just two days to the end of another eventful year. Let’s end our marriage series with the key subject of parenting, and we can start with the head. Fatherhood is very important to the evolution of the family. The father is the leader of the home and his role in providing a home, security, direction, identity, and other material provisions needed for living cannot be over-stated. This is the reason for today’s article.
Certainly, every father must have a child at least, whether biological or adopted; but not all fathers are husbands. There are single fathers, and single mothers as well who raise children outside marriage. Thus, we have a lot of children today who do not have parents who co-habit. Too bad.
Raising kids by a single parent can be quite challenging, more so for single fathers. It is easier for single mothers to raise children for a number of reasons I cannot deal with in this essay because of space constraints, and, moreover, my subject matter here is single fathers. I’d deal with the challenges of single mothers in a future column, God willing.
During the last Fathers’ Day, I began to reflect on parenting and the role of unmarried fathers in the upbringing of children from fractured relationships like divorce, flings, or the death of a spouse. If a man, for whatever reason, finds himself raising a child alone, he must take on the role of both parents (that is, father and mother) to ensure that the child has a balanced upbringing. This, of course, is a tall order.
There are millions of children from broken homes who are victims of bitter divorce or marital strife, and are forced to go into child labour to fend for themselves. Girls are especially vulnerable because they are exposed to street life at a tender age. Many end up being killed by ritualists, some are raped or impregnated, and abandoned to wallow in poverty. That’s why we have so many children raising children.
Single fatherhood is not a pleasant phenomenon; it affects children in very negative ways, even if the unmarried father gives the best of care to his kids. The point must be made that it is the responsibility of the father to take care of his children. Let me advance the following reasons to back up the points: it is the man that impregnates the woman, hence, he must take responsibility for the child. That’s why men pay alimony to women in the case of divorce.
The husband is the head of the wife, and the home in general. God ordered it that way, according to the Bible (Eph. 5vs23). A child bears the name of his father and helps perpetuate the family, except in some matrilineal societies. Women suffer more in case of the loss of a husband through divorce, separation or death.
Men ought to be the breadwinners. They used to be the sole providers in the days when women were confined to the kitchen. Today, there are working mothers, but that doesn’t mean men should shirk their responsibilities of being the primary breadwinners.
That said, most couples have little understanding of responsible parenting. It is not enough to father a child, you must learn to groom, train, nurture and provide for your children until they become fully independent. That’s your primary duty. You owe it to your children.
Anyone who aspires to be a father must be prepared to take the responsibility of raising a child in a morally upright, decent, and effective manner so that as they grow up they do not become a burden to society or a disgrace to their families.
Not every man succeeds as a father because not every man is responsible. There are so many incompetent and unprepared fathers out there. Some think that being sexually vibrant is the sole-qualification for fatherhood. In reality, to be a good father, you must have certain credentials, some of which are obvious.
Ideally, you should be a father and husband inside a duly constituted and functional marriage. Of course, you can still be a responsible father even as a single parent. A father must have a job that’s viable enough to take care of his family. And such a father must prioritise his family above anything else.
A good father must have a vision for his family and pursue it with his family diligently, so that the children are well-trained, well-protected and their mother well taken care of. A good father must raise godly children, and teach them how to be good citizens and a blessing to their parents and society. He should also be a good role model for his children.
That’s when a father can claim to be a good man and a successful husband. The failure of parenting is one major reason for the breeding of criminals. This is not good for society.
OK, folks, by the time we meet again next Friday, we’d be saying Happy New Year. Enjoy your holiday and stay motivated all through the new year.
WEEKEND SPICE: It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities – William James.
That’s on point. We’d do this again next week, friends. Be a good parent and stay motivated!
•Ladi Ayodeji is an Author, Rights Activist, Pastor, and Life Coach. He can be reached at on 09059243004 (SMS and Whatsapp only).