fathers

Why I’m All For Hands On Dads

I’m totally awed by fathers who are completely involved in the upbringing of their own children. Seeing a father gently carrying his infant son or daughter always seems to blow me away. It just goes a long way to prove to me that there is indeed that very gentle, protective side to what is expected to be a manly, tough exterior in the male gender.

In times when quite a number of fathers have a reputation of being absentee dads, the few remaining out there who still burn the candle of proper fatherhood, only serve to maintain that all is not lost.

There is a lot that comes with fatherhood. The actual decision to father children is indeed a crucial one that needs some level of maturity in the male. Being a father is not only having little carbon copies of yourself running around in the house but rather, being aware of the developments and milestones in your children’s lives, in addition to having them in the first place.

They say a father is the first man that a little girl looks up to and that whatever standards he sets in his parenting style, is what she will subconsciously use to gauge all potential dating partners in her life in future. Indeed, quite a number of women have ended up getting hitched to men, who came across as quite alike to their own dads.

According to an article on http://www.huffingtonpost.com titled The Important Role Of Dad and dated June 12th 2014:

Girls will look for men who hold the patterns of good old dad, for after all, they know how “to do that.” Therefore, if father was kind, loving, and gentle, they will reach for those characteristics in men. Girls will look for, in others, what they have experienced and become familiar with in childhood. Because they’ve gotten used to those familial and historic behavioral patterns, they think that they can handle them in relationships.

But what is a father’s role in a son’s life?

The same article goes on to state;

Boys on the other hand, will model themselves after their fathers. They will look for their father’s approval in everything they do, and copy those behaviors that they recognize as both successful and familiar. Thus, if dad was abusive, controlling, and dominating, those will be the patterns that their sons will imitate and emulate. However, if father is loving, kind, supportive, and protective, boys will want to be that.

However, the above does not completely justify the choice of a young man becoming a wife beater just because his own father was one. Neither does it completely justify a woman ending up with an alcoholic as a hubby just because her father was one. I’m of the school of thought that, being equipped with what we know are wrong as well as good patterns of behavior as adults, then we can decide to make a personal choice, to deviate from what is considered the norm yet detrimental.

Still it is not an easy feat per se, as sometimes human beings act subconsciously. Indeed the article further explains;

Human beings are social animals and we learn by modeling behavior.Those early patterns of interaction are all children know, and it is those patterns that effect how they feel about themselves, and how they develop.

So irregardless of whatever schools of thought we allude to, the importance of a father and the particular role he portrays in a child’s life goes a long way in modelling how that child will grow up to view life. Like it or not, daddy issues are real. They could have been avoided though, if many more fathers stepped up to their roles rather than absconding their duties or adopting tyrannical stances with their own children.

Once one decides to become a father, there is no turning back. It is a lifelong decision with an implication that someone is and will always be dependent on you as a figure in their lives. It doesn’t matter whether your children grow out of diapers, go to college, get careers and start their own families. If you were the father who chose never to be involved in their upbringing, it shall forever impact them negatively. Sadly, it may impact the men and women they choose to start their own families with in future too.

One important feature I think women ought to look out for while choosing a potential mate is whether this man is in essence, able to step up to his fatherly duties, should you get pregnant by him. Will he be involved in his children’s lives whether your relationship survives the test of time or not? It doesn’t matter how happy or giddy with excitement this man makes you feel. Question is, is he up to raising the kids he will have with you in tough times or good times?

Age Gap Relationships; Are You Dating From Your Father’s Generation?

Some time last year, I spoke about cougar relationships and what I thought about them. Today I want to talk about the opposite, where the man is significantly older than the woman.

Age gap relationships, to be precise.

Celine Dion and her recently, deceased husband, Rene Angelil come into mind in regards to this. Rene was 38 years old when he first met a then 12 year old Celine, who would blow him away with her talent so much, that he  mortgaged his house when he couldn’t seem to find a record company for her, to have her first album released.

It was a couple of years later, when they would both fall in love and begin a relationship, that they at first kept secret from the public for fear of castigation. Celine has in the past, spoken about how her mother was against her relationship with Rene when Celine eventually confided in her. She was worried for her daughter that she had fallen in love with a man who had already been married twice before. But eventually, the family would warm up to him and be welcoming of the relationship.

Truly a match made in heaven, Celine and Rene got married in 1994 in a lavish wedding in Canada. Rene would go on to manage her career for years until poor health rendered him incapable of doing it any longer. At the time of his death early this year, Rene had been married to Celine for a total 21 years with 3 children to complete their close knit family.

Celine and her husband Rene. Photo courtesy of Google images.

Celine and her husband Rene. Photo courtesy of Google images.

Indeed with such a powerful love story in Celebville, which is synonymous for its short lived marriages and relationships between celebrity couples, I couldn’t help really feeling it for Celine when Rene passed away. This is a man she has known all her life and I’m sure she will really miss his presence in her life and career.

Celine and Rene’s relationship is an example of age gap relationships that worked pretty well despite what society has always thought of them in the past. In my country, when a young lass decides to settle for a significantly older guy of probably her father’s age, then the man in question is referred to as her sponsor.

We call them sponsors because in recent times, young campus going women have been known to get into relationships with older married men, only for the financial benefits that come with it. This phenomenon does not only happen in Kenya, per se. I once watched a show on DSTV’s TLC channel, where young women of European origin had settled for really old, wrinkly guys just because of the financial status of these men. I forget the name of that show.

I was thoroughly tickled quite recently, when I read in some newspaper the different names accorded to these older men, who are nowadays a preferred choice for women from their daughters’ generation, because of how heavy their pockets have since been ascertained to be. With the age range clearly outlined, I read of names such as ancestor and fossil in addition to the sponsor tag we have already gotten used to.

Anyone reading this from a different country, can already tell the amount of disgust associated with age gap relationships in my country, just from the monikers we have taken to christening such men in such relationships with. If a young woman in her 20s still decides to date that already balding 50 something year old, approaching retirement with grown up children working somewhere abroad, then she must be too ratchet to care what people will think.

After all, the idea behind it is for the monetary benefits which our young unestablished men understandably fail to deliver. If this young woman expects an equally young man in campus in his early 20s to get her a house to live in, a good car to drive and a sizeable amount of monthly allowance in her account just for her flimsy expenditures, then she is thoroughly misplaced.

No wonder the preference for older established men who have quite some disposable income to spend on such “ambitious” young women. In return, he gets the attention his wife of many years, may nowadays seem not to be in a position to give.This thoroughly misguided idea behind age gap relationships, is what has made many people in my country to view them with disgust.

However, there is a possibility of two people with a significant age gap between them, truly falling in love without any sly motives behind it. How this is going to be received by society, is what makes many people shy away from pursuing their real feelings. Human beings have over time been known to hate such kinds of surprises. We love sticking to the familiar and may give elaborate reasons as to why this is so.

If such a scenario indeed happened, where two people who are both unmarried but with that large age gap between them got into a relationship, many of their close friends and relatives, would be quick to point out the reasons why they shouldn’t be together. I’m sure they will hear of reasons ranging from their respective generations do not match, to reasons such as a failure on their part in future to fully understand each other’s needs, to reasons such as they can always get other people closer in age to each other. Many would be quick to dismiss it as a misplaced fling that needs some snapping out of.

In African societies, the only times we tend to be a little forgiving of age gap relationships and marriages is when this man decided to add an additional wife. In some cases, the younger wife might still be in her 20s with the older wife in her 50s. Then, we may attribute it to culture, religious belief or this man’s reasoning or the fact that men “are prone to having many women.” Though slightly disconcerting, we may not be that keen to keep on pointing fingers in such a scenario.

I tend to attribute the motive behind age gap relationships as the contributing factor to the overall outcome. If this relationship was in itself pure, then a marriage will happen and the critics shall of course be silenced for good. If this relationship was for individual selfish reasons, then the critics will eventually be proven right in their assessment of it. As much as love is a thing between two people, relationships considered out of the ordinary by societies shall always be subject to speculations. The parties involved only need a thick skin to survive.

What do you think?

The Innocence Of Children

I accidentally got to eavesdrop on a conversation between my neighbor and his daughter sometime this week.

Daughter goes something like, “Daddy si utaenda kwa bank utoe pesa ya trip!”

(Daddy, you shall have to go to the bank and withdraw money for the trip).

I gathered there was an already planned educational trip at school and this child was definitely eager to go.

An obviously amused dad went, “Alafu nikienda kwa bank?”

(Then what happens when I go to the bank?)

“Ah, si utawaambia tu wakupee pesa alafu waandike hapo trip. Hawatakataa. Alafu utapea teacher!”The daughter reasoned.

(Ah, you will tell them to give you the money then they note down ‘trip’. They won’t decline. Then you give the teacher!)

From that small bit of conversation I overheard, I came to several conclusions;

  1. This little girl assumed her daddy had so much money which could be withdrawn at anytime from the bank. So playing the “I’m broke” card was definitely not going to work for him. He just had to pay for the school trip whether he had the money or not judging from the finality in his daughter’s voice.
  2. For this little girl, her daddy was obviously her knight in shining armor who could grant her anything in the world. Check.
  3. Children can be so humorously innocent in the way they reason at times. Especially the part where she says the bank should note down “trip” as the purpose of the money withdrawn. I mean for children things can be so easy. Not so for us adults!

Anyways, hope she does get to go for the trip. I know daddy wouldn’t dream of letting her down now, would he?

 

To All The Women Who Lacked Earthly Father Figures…

So it’s Father’s Day today, Happy Father’s Day to all the men who have actually been real fathers to their sons and daughters. Notice I use the term “real fathers” because a lot of men are simply fathers and not real.

I actually played this game in the image with my own dad. I must have been 6 or 7 then but I relished stepping on his feet and have him walk forward while I seemed to be moving backwards, as evidenced by my squeals of delight. My dad happened to be in my life for a total of 12 years from the time I was born and that was it. Well, this post is not going to turn out to be a sob story of my life dear readers, so relax.

Anyways, today after quite a while since I last posted on this blog, I decided to speak to all the women who lacked earthly father figures (of course God in heaven is also our father no wonder the term I’ve chosen to use), and who are probably wondering what the fuss is all about today. Father’s Day, so what?! Kind of thinking.

Dear woman, whose father was probably an a***hole who left your mum when she was pregnant with you, or who married another woman or picked up a hooker, who squeezed him of all his hard earned cash and made him forget all about his family or who was a tyrant, child molester, an alcoholic or wife beater, you need not feel inadequate on this day.

There is a saying which goes something like “it’s easy becoming a father but way harder being a dad” which in essence is very true. Of course there is nothing very complicated about the whole aspect of sperm meeting an ovum in an act of unprotected sex between two consenting adults. However, the complications always come in when the man suddenly refuses to shoulder his responsibility or denies his child that the woman is carrying in her womb.

It so happens that a father is actually the first darling in his daughter’s life. When she comes of age, she will subconsciously gauge all the men she meets and dates according to how her father’s make up was. Sadly or normally, most fathers and especially in African society, are not usually the mushy types who will spend all their time dotting on their daughters, calling them princesses, giving them hugs and mouthing the words “I love you”.

And though times have changed, African fathers were known to express their love to their children by providing them with food, shelter, clothing and a decent education. As a girl child, you automatically knew that your father loved you if he went out of his way to sell a piece of land just to get you enrolled into campus. And if he walked you down the aisle on your wedding day as is required. Indeed, a sizable number of African women can attest to the fact that they never got a chance to be that close to their fathers, as much as they were close to their mothers.

Yet another sizable number of women from all races are battling daddy issues from fathers who failed horribly at being real dads. It is actually embarrassing admitting to suffering from daddy issues. Society views you as fragile, vulnerable sometimes even silly. You are supposed to suck it up and be strong. After all, everyone has their own problems to deal with and no time to pay attention to a grown ass woman, who can’t keep a man in her life because she expects him to love her, the same way a father is supposed to love a daughter.

Society dictates how we should be or act, like it or not. Society can be harsh and judgmental. Society is actually made up of you and me who secretly view ourselves as being superior and others as being inferior. Don’t expect me to sugarcoat anything here.

So dear woman who lacked an earthly father figure, forget about what this man has put you and your family through and focus on yourself. Do not in any way feel as if you need a man in your life for validation. Do not allow yourself to sink into the desperation pit of searching for a person of the opposite sex, who will hopefully fill that fatherly void. Chances are you will only stumble upon jerks out to take advantage of the fact that you seem unsure of yourself. No other man who is not your biological father, can successfully fill a fatherly void of an absentee dad. Except a step father who has the integrity to truly treat you as his own daughter, flesh and blood. Or a loving uncle or male guardian with no ulterior motive.

Accept that the reason your real dad left was because he was unworthy of you. And that a man who walks out on his own son or daughter is not worth the pain or the tears or your desperate attempts to try and get him to acknowledge you if he doesn’t want to. A man who subjects his own family to untold pain and suffering is not worth having that family by his side. He is not supposed to influence his daughter’s sex life just because he was a pervert who could not tell the difference between his daughter and wife. As a matter of fact, such a man of the latter kind deserves to remain behind bars for the rest of his life.

You are a strong woman, beautifully and wonderfully made and with brains to top it all. You deserve nothing but the best. You deserve to make rational decisions in your life. And so on this day, when the world celebrates the fathers, with a smile and heartfelt wish, turn to any man you know has proven to be a real dad and wish him a Happy Father’s Day 🙂 🙂 🙂

The “My baby”, “Our baby” debate.

Nakuomba Nerea, Usitoe Mimba Yangu We,

Mungu Akileta Mtoto, Analeta Saa ni Yake,

Mlete Ntamlea, Usitoe Mimba Yangu We,

Mungu Akileta Mtoto, Analeta Saa ni Yake…

Many Kenyans are familiar with the above ballad, Nerea by Sauti Sol ft Amos and Josh. But for the sake of my foreign readers, I will translate:

I beseech you Nerea, don’t abort (my baby),

When God gives a baby, he gives it at his own timing,

Bring the baby i will raise it, don’t abort (my baby),

When God gives a baby, he gives it at his own timing…

I’m almost 100% sure by now that my readers who speak English as a first language, have already noticed how much I’m struggling to translate the lyrics from my national language Kiswahili, to my second language, English.

Kenyan boy band, Sauti Sol. Courtesy of classic105.com

Kenyan boy band, Sauti Sol. Image courtesy of classic105.com

Tusker Project Fame runner up duo Amos and Josh who collaborated in the song Nerea with Sauti Sol. Courtesy of www.ulizalinks.com

Tusker Project Fame runner up duo, Amos and Josh who collaborated in the song Nerea with Sauti Sol. Image courtesy of http://www.ulizalinks.com

As a matter of fact, I intentionally put “my baby” in brackets as this particular term in the lyrics, has elicited a lot of debate in my country, ever since the song came out this year and quite recently.

Before i carry on, Congratulations Sauti Sol for getting a nomination for the Best International Act: Africa, at this year’s BET Awards. I must admit I was getting a stiff neck from all that craning I was doing, to see whether I could spot an African musician from Africa, at the previous BET Awards among the audience. And the surge of excitement I experienced when I finally spotted Ice Prince from Nigeria in one of the Awards, can’t remember for which year, but very recent actually. Anyways, I could talk all day concerning music and entertainment, my other passion, but first things first.

I mentioned the struggle to translate something from my first language to my second, and with good reason. You see Mimba Yangu translated directly to English comes out as ‘My pregnancy’. Feminists on the other hand, chose to interpret it to mean that these talented gentlemen, were subtly employing a patronizing innuendo, by choosing to refer to a pregnancy as Mimba Yangu. Apparently, it should have been Mimba Yetu or something of the sort to mean ‘Our Pregnancy’.

Let me refresh the memory of Kenyans a little.

In African society, most cultures state clearly that the child belongs to the father, hence Mimba Yangu, in that context is in order. African women on the other hand have been socialized to believe that sex should not be for the enjoyment of the woman and therefore, the culprits behind the consequences of sex, always happen to be men as they are the ones who relish having it. Therefore, it has never been uncommon for mothers to ask their daughters who have unfortunately fallen pregnant at an unintended time, Mimba ni ya nani? (Whose pregnancy is it?)

Of course if the “perpetrator” of the “crime” happened to not be a rascal who believes that he is ready to have unprotected sex and not ready to be a father, and actually admitted that he was responsible for the pregnancy, he will step in and say Mimba ni Yangu (The pregnancy is mine). People only ask Baba ni nani? (Who is the father?) after the baby is already born and perhaps the poor mother still seems unsure of the paternity of her baby.

To be honest, Kenyans in recent times only started aping the `We are pregnant’ announcement after seeing people from the West doing it. And personally, I don’t believe that Sauti Sol and Amos and Josh are at fault for using the term ‘ Mimba Yangu’. We got used to using that term long before these guys came into the music scene. So let’s spare these talented individuals the unnecessary backlash by some.

In the song, the crooners go on to state that the baby could turn out to be a great person and therefore all the more reason for the woman not to abort. Now I very recently stumbled upon a status update from a woman on Social Media, who identified herself as a feminist and chose to bash the examples of great people that Sauti Sol and Amos and Josh had given in the song.

I did not consider her a feminist at all for equally bashing Lupita Nyong’o as an unworthy example of someone, a parent would want her child to grow up to become. And not because Lupita is my fellow country mate and neither because the ‘feminist’ happened to be from a neighboring country. My only concern was, if you claim to be a feminist, then bashing of fellow women and especially women who have made notable strides in life, is out of bounds. You talk of Lupita Nyong’o stripping naked on a movie and therefore condemn her to be a bad example all the while forgetting that Lupita has made other amazing achievements in her life.

Long before we saw her in Hollywood, she had attended drama school, acted in Shuga and directed In My Genes. So for one scene that some people who consider themselves moralists of sorts to use it to trash her achievements, I found it in bad taste. I’m all for feminism for a good cause and not feminism used to judge, belittle and trash what others are doing all because we who claim to be feminists feel superior.

If Lupita had to strip in that movie, 12 years a slave, she did it because she had the confidence to re-enact that. I personally do not have the confidence to do so and therefore cannot point fingers at her for being supposedly trashy and unworthy of being a role model for children aspiring to be her, for doing it. If at all Sauti Sol and Amos and Josh chose to use Lupita Nyong’o in their song as an example, they used her because she has managed to achieved one of the many firsts for an African woman from the African continent. Isn’t that something for young African girls to look up to??

On to the subject of abortion.

I applaud these gentlemen for using music to provoke thought on things that most societies consider taboo. I find it a horrible case of double standards when a section of men, engage in unprotected sex with women they have little regard for. When the inevitable happens, they are the first to suggest an abortion or pull “A Houdini Stunt”.

In such an unfortunate circumstance, when the poor woman feels pressured to the point of abortion, these same men are the ones who shall be pointing fingers at women they come to know have aborted, in future. Totally forgetting that someone had to abort a baby because of them. These are the same men who will stand up and say ” Mimi siwezi kubali mwanamke atoe Mimba Yangu” ( I cannot allow a woman to abort “my baby” ).

Apparently at the time they pushed someone else to abort because they were downright deadbeat then (and still are, only hypocritical), they were perfectly justified in doing so. The “My baby” then had suddenly transformed to the “chic’s problem”. Question is, did she have sex alone and conceive or there were two people involved: a man and a woman?

I’m a strong believer of keeping the pregnancy whether the man is around or not. Forget about whether the child you as a woman are carrying could have potential or not. Even if this child grows up to be a simple cart pusher in the market place, you should keep it because there is no greater blessing than motherhood. And for those who reject parental responsibility, it is only a curse they are placing upon their lives where there was initially a blessing, in the form of a child.

And so no matter what the haters say, Kudos to Nerea by Sauti Sol ft Amos and Josh!

I don’t believe in chasing after someone who walked out on you.

I was watching a certain Trisha episode yesterday evening where this 28 year old woman wanted a particular man to admit that he had indeed fathered her. Now there was a son present belonging to the said `father’ of this same woman but from a different mother. And though it was quite obvious from their looks that they were father and daughter, the son and daughter chose to fight throughout the show while the father stuck to his story that he doubted she was indeed his because the dates just didn’t add up. Words were thrown and it was just an ugly mess for a show (i don’t know why Trisha allows this on her shows but who am i to judge anyway?) before the DNA results proved that this man was actually that woman’s father.

I couldn’t help though but wonder why at 28, this woman was so hell bent on proving that this man who had constantly denied her all her life, was her dad. Was it because she had battled daddy issues? Was it because she felt like she needed to vindicate her mum for getting pregnant at 14 by this man? Apparently, her mum had given her a detailed explanation of how it had all happened, including how many times she had sex with her daughter’s father the night she conceived. Sounds a little off and too much detail, right? I thought so too.

I have never been one to believe in chasing after someone who walked out on you. At 17, this boy would have stepped up and admitted to fathering that child whether the girl claimed otherwise. Instead, he chose to believe her when she claimed that he wasn’t the father, out of fear according to her side of the story, because he was a friend to somebody in her family. And he actually went ahead to convince himself that the dates did not add up and that he couldn’t have fathered that child for a total of 28 years! Wasn’t that enough proof for this mum and daughter that this man wasn’t interested in being a daddy? Was the DNA necessary if this woman had managed to raise her daughter without his support for a whole 28 years? Did this mum even realize that she needed to be proud of herself for bringing up this daughter whether this man was present in their lives or not?

Why women choose to second guess themselves in such scenarios like these has always remained a mystery to me.

Some unknown person stated clearly that `it is very easy to become a father but being a father, is much harder’.

There are hundreds of men who have fathered children, suspect that they are indeed the fathers to those children, haven’t been in contact with the mothers of those children for years, haven’t seen those children even and are perfectly OK living with that knowledge and doing nothing about it. Would it be wise for a woman to keep following this man whose actions clearly show he is not that interested?

I think it is high time that women stopped second guessing themselves and moved on. Close that chapter completely. It doesn’t matter whether you were once in a steamy relationship with this man or not. It doesn’t matter whether you bore him a child that now he can’t bear to look at or can’t imagine himself stepping up to the role of a father. If he walked out on you the minute you gave him the pregnancy news then he isn’t worth chasing nor is he worth being in that child’s life.

The reason why so many women are carrying such heavy burdens in their hearts is because they refuse to forget about men who have treated them like trash in the past. They refuse to find that closure for themselves without the man present to sort it out. Women need to know and realize that they are much stronger than they think. If they weren’t that strong, then the pain of bringing forth life would have been too hard for them to bear. But they indeed bear it with an unexplained courage whether it is the right time for them to become mothers or not. Whether it was planned or unplanned. And they still carry on with that same courage while raising kids whose fathers are putting no input whatsoever. Motherhood, as some Christian post i was reading stated, is indeed a blessing and not an unpleasant chore. What makes it unpleasant is women refusing to forgive that man who got them pregnant, letting go of the pain and forgetting about him.

I am of the school of thought that if he was indeed the one to walk away, then he should be the one to come looking and not the other way round. And that is the main reason why daughters or sons for that matter, who go in search of men who initially wanted nothing to do with them, suffer the pain of rejection and cold treatment from these men. It is high time that women and single mothers should instill high courage in their children so that those particular children should not feel like something is missing in their lives to the extent of embarking on a fruitless search for a father who doesn’t want you. If he didn’t want you when you were chubby and cute with those huge innocent eyes, what makes you think that he would want you when you are all grown with a beard thing going or fully woman? If he got off the hook then, 80% of the chances are he would still want to get off the hook now.

Men who father children and leave them hanging are actually cowards who should be left in their cowardly dance. It takes a hellova courage to step up and father that child who is a product of whatever relationship you had whether it was a one night stand or a friend with benefit thing or a teenage romance for that matter.