To be a good father
Sipho Yanano takes a look at what it means to be a good father.
As men we are not born with the knowledge of how to be a good father. Subconsciously we learn about this role from the men in our midst: fathers, uncles, teachers and so on. Unfortunately some of these men do such a shoddy job that we end up confused or with a warped view of fatherhood.

“How’s your daughter?” I asked a single father recently about his 2-year-old.

“I don’t know,” he answered honestly. “I’ve never seen her actually.”

“How do you think she’ll feel when she grows up and hears that you never went to see her in the first 2 years of her life?”

“If I didn’t care, I’d not pay child support would I?” He replied defensively.

To this father paying monthly child support is enough. He won’t make any extra effort to be active in his daughter’s life. As we discussed the issue further I discovered that the man’s father did not have any relationship with him in his infancy.  He was copying his father’s example.

What then is a good father? Is he the classical austere and rigid family disciplinarian who is rarely involved in the day to day parenting of his children? Who feels that as long as the children are well provided for materially his fatherly role is well played?

An effective father is involved in the day-to-day raising of his children. He has bathed his child and has changed nappies. He is not afraid to play with is child—be it going down on all fours and racing with an infant or playing a game with a teenager. A good father makes time for his child. He knows that he is responsible for the emotional and physical welfare of that child.

He is not afraid to say “I love you “ to his child and does not view it as a sign of weakness to hug his progeny. No matter how busy he is, a good father will show personal interest in his child. He offers the child commendation and lets the child know that he approves of him or her. He is not overly critical, harsh and belittling when disciplining but does it in a loving way. He teaches the child humility by apologizing when he makes a mistake.

He is a good example to his child. He treats the child’s mother well because he knows that as the man he will affect how his son will view women and how his daughter will view men. He teaches his child respect.

He knows he’s the child’s protector and he teaches his child appropriate ways to react if the child  thinks that there is a danger of being taken advantage by someone.

A good father wears many hats when it comes to his child. To his child he may become a teacher, a confidante, a cook, a playmate, and the list goes on. The most important hat that he dons is that of being a father.

What do you think makes a good father?

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