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Oludara Ogunbowale

By Oludara Ogunbowale

When I wrote something for mothers, I got a few calls from friends  telling me about how they would wait to see what I would write for Father’s day. Ayo Marius, who is one of them, is definitely reading this now.

I did not even know how to begin this article; not because I did not know what to write, but because there were too many angles to begin with. Talk about the importance of fathers! Just when I thought I did not have enough clarity, Bolanle, my colleague and friend helped me put things in perspective.

There are so many days for celebrating women all over the world and I dare say that the numbers of days used to celebrate fathers are not commensurate with those of mothers.

Fathers are as important as mothers in the care and proper upbringing of a child. This is not in any way underestimating the efforts of single mothers but International Research and health organisations such as UNICEF and WHO have repeatedly carried out studies that prove that the heavy presence and inclusion of a father in a child’s life is unmatchable! They all further attest to the fact that the active presence of a father or father-figure in a child’s life helps develop better cognitive development and emotional balance.

Talking about emotional balance, I personally think that having the ability to think rationally helps with some level of emotional balance. My father is a mixture of very strict and very loving; the kind that carried you in his arms now and spanked you later when you did wrong. As a child, it was very confusing. But as an adult, I know better.

I remember how I told my dad how my friends bullied me as a junior high school student, he said to me “Do not fight them and do not move with them. Walk alone until you find friends who would not bully you!” At different times when I sought counsel when I was in compromising situations, he said to me “Oludara, do the right thing and do not settle.”

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No one can protect like a father. Don’t say what about boyfriends?! We can say they are fathers in the making too. When my friend Busola was a child, she told me how she had been in a hospital for weeks and how her health was deteriorating despite all care given at the hospital. One day, her father looked at her intensely and feared that she might die. He removed all drip connections and carried her out against doctors’ orders and on a note that said Parental wish against medical advice. Her father took her to another hospital where it was diagnosed that she had been mistreated at the previous hospital and was cared for without proper diagnosis of the real problem. A few days later, she was well.

Like the anchor of a ship sailing on water that holds down or secures the ship when storms come, fathers are very dependable. Fathers give you an indescribable feeling that you can go into the world and conquer; they help us believe that nothing is impossible for us to achieve when we set our minds on it.

Truth be told, I am who I am because of my father and had it not been for him, I would not have learnt to be courageous, independent and also, to live my life with some level of wisdom.

Not everyone has a father and not everyone has actively present dads. While some of us may be able to relate, some of us may not. But one thing I know for sure is also learning to give what you never got; the resolution to be the man that is there for your children and other children around, one that shows them the way to being responsible adults. You can even begin to do that right in your heart before you meet them.

To all fathers and would-be fathers, I am so proud of you and I celebrate you always.

Read also: #DarasPage: DO Black People Even Read?

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