"Unlike fathers of old, we need to show our children a more humane face" South African dads share what being a father means to them (Part 1)
We asked local dads to tell us what they feel being a father means to them, and this is what they shared with us.
"It means always being conscious of how your actions will have implications beyond your own generation" (iStock)
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There's no shortage of resources in the form of articles describing fatherhood, and how to be a good parent, but for each of us there is a different interpretation and understanding of the role of dad

So we asked local dads to share what they feel being a father means to them, and this is what they said: 

Rams Mabote, father of two and founder of Future Kings

“Being a father to me is a privilege. I have the first bite of influencing my children before the encounter the world. To this effect, I take the privilege seriously and take nothing for granted.

Affording the best schools, a good home and some memorial holidays, come distant second to knowing that my children are watching me daily and learning.

I have a chance to be a lifelong conscience that my children will live with forever, beyond me.  Children are cheering fans of their parents, I try every day that my children cheer deep goodness not superficial and worthless things.”

Also see: Another powerful ad from Gillette, this time featuring a dad teaching his transgender son to shave

Tanaka Shumba, father of one

“Being a father has been the most rewarding experience. It is difficult to find words to express the joys and happiness my son has brought to my life. The responsibility of knowing that I will help shape what kind of Man/Husband/ Father he will be one day is both scary and exciting.

I thank God every day for bringing him in to my life and pray for guidance to be a good father to him.”

Afro Daddy, father of two and blogger at afrodaddyonline.com

“Fatherhood is when you have a person who thinks you are the strongest, smartest, most magical being in the world - and then that person slowly learns that you are none of those things but still loves you anyway.

You might start out as a pretend-super-hero, but if you do it right, you end up as a real-life hero.”

Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya, father of five  

“Being a father means being given both a responsibility and a privilege to partake in the creation of life and nurturing it to become the best version of itself. It means always being conscious of how your actions will have implications beyond your own generation and even that of those you are a father to.

It is difficult being a father, especially in this day and age. Unlike fathers of old, we need to show our children a more humane face. We must lead by example in showing our children that it is okay to have shortcomings while at the same time demanding the highest forms of effort. We must be empathetic yet unyielding to episodes of indifference and laziness.

The hardest part of it all is knowing you are raising an adult who at the time of your raising is yet to develop the full appreciation of your efforts.”

Tom Jordi, father of four and founder of childrenmattersa.org

“It means I need to, pursue their hearts, build them up and instill in them the knowledge and belief that I am for them no matter what and nothing and no one will ever change the fact that I am their biggest fan, loudest encourager and someone who will never give up on them.

It means I will seek to be connected to them, to their hopes and dreams and stand by them, when they aren’t realised, yet. It means I wake each day with a hope that their tomorrow depends on what I build in them today.”

Also read: Wits says fathers need to get involved in the first 1000 days of their kids’ lives

Tony, father of two

“Being a dad to me, is foremost about providing safety and security for my kids.

It also means being someone who shows them how to do physical things and coaxes them into coming out of their shells sometimes, to do something that might not be in their nature, so they can have new and fun experiences.

Finally, to me it's a great opportunity to share with them the things that make the world special to me, and show them what being family means.”

Lyle Scritten, father of two and blogger at versatilelyle.com

“Being a father of two sons, I've come to the realisation that I am in charge of their childhood memories and thus my purpose in life is to have them have the best childhood they can have. This does not mean buying the best clothes, toys, latest gadgets or taking them to the fanciest of places, it boils down to the everyday experiences we have together. I am a firm believer that children should be outdoors exploring and learning.

Boys will be boys and some days it means teaching them core values like proper behaviour and respect for others. In closing, being a father also means encouraging your children to be the best they can be no matter the situation.

Every morning during school drop off time I leave them with the following saying, "Have a great day and remember, do your best and never give up, Daddy loves you!". I say that every morning, TRUE STORY!”

What does being a father mean to you?

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Read more:

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A Father’s Day reminder from science: Your kids aren’t really growing up quickly

A day in the life of two dads and their adopted son

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