Fathers and Children
There’s a commercial on the television that I see quite regularly and it never fails to warm my heart. The theme song in this ad says, ‘you can let go now daddy…’ and it shows how the father is in a hospital bed clinging to his last few breaths and the daughter is at his bedside recalling memories of when he taught her to ride her bicycle up to the day he walked her down to the aisle on her wedding day.
I always get a feeling of melancholy as I never had a close relationship with my father until I was already a married woman and even then it was nothing short of strained. Thus I had no fond memories of growing up under his influence or in his presence. I look at my daughter now and I long for her to be able to look back and have good memories of her childhood with both parents. The problem with this is while every mother may yearn for the father to play a significant role in their children’s lives it’s not something that can be forced upon the men – it has to be something that they genuinely have an interest to do. In my observations, many men don’t see the importance of being more than just the head of the household. In order for children to be all that they can be and for them to have a stable and happy life as adults they need to have positive influence to carry them thru their early years. In most Belizean home, women are the caretakers – they attend to the children’s homework, playtime, meals, laundry, medical visits and the list goes on – but it’s not the only the women’s responsibility to do these things. The fathers have to become more involved!
FATHERS, rather than spending time in front of the television with the children, talk to them. Ask them how their day went and what they learnt in school and you would be amazed how those two little questions can evolve into great and amusing discussions. I always find myself tickled and proud when I listen to my six year old talk about her classes or when she asks me questions – it shows how their brains are working overtime trying to figure things out. It is during these years that we get to leave an imprint on their minds and in their hearts for the rest of their lives.
Here is a list of things you can do to play an active role in your children’s lives as a Father!
- I remember reading that the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. Be an example and support and respect the woman in your life/mother of your children. Down the road, your daughter will not tolerate anyone to disrespect her because she grew up in a home where that was not done to her mother nor will the son disrespect his girlfriend/spouse and he too will learn to be a good father.
- Never be too macho or proud to share the house work. Giving the mother some reprieve can allow more quality time spent together. Tonight while mom is making dinner help the children with their homework or read a book to them or just talk. DO NOT TURN ON THE TV – it’ll only be a distraction.
- Spend time with your children. Take them fishing, teach them to make a kite, clean the yard together, go buy a movie and popcorn – these things will stay with them forever and it provides stability for them in the home.
- Understand and accept that your children will make mistakes and accidents will happen.
They will make a mess and they will lose focus in school at times and they may do many things that don’t meet your approval but remember they are humans too and mistakes are a part of the growing process. This doesn’t mean you should spoil them but as an adult you will know when discipline is required. 5. As the head of the household you are expected to offer security and protection for your family. Be active at home and make sure the home is comfortable, fix the broken pipe, unclog the drain, ensure the locks are secure, take the car to be serviced and just be there for them. 6. No matter how financially strapped you may be there are many ways to spend time together as a family. Going to church, going to the park, sitting down and having a meal together – these are all ways to stay in touch with what is happening in each other’s lives. It’s a time consuming job to be a father but in the end when you’re old and you look at how your children turned out you’ll be glad you took the time to be a father. So even when you come home dog-tired and frustrated take the time out for them and remember a good father can make all the difference in a child’s life!