Sometimes the clothes don’t make the man. Sometimes the three piece suit does not make Baba Kendi. Sometimes the two piece suit that shines like an aluminium foil does not make Baba Omondi. Sometimes the once white but now brownish coat does not make Baba Njeri wa mutura. Sometimes the maroon tout uniform does not make Baba Musyoka. Sometimes the blue uniform does not make Baba Bosibori. Sometimes the mtumba shirt does not make Baba Moha. Sometimes the designer pants do not make Baba Tanui. And sometimes the “you guy, my guy let’s chomoka to Vasha” coat does not make Uncle Chris.
I’m writing this — this sentence — at 11:48 pm on Friday. Twenty four hours and twelve seconds from now will be Father’s Day. A day in honour of men whose sperm was a sure bet and nine months later they earned the names: Dad, Daddy, Baba. And also men that are father figures to children that are not parternally theirs. But not every man that has sired a child should be honoured, right? Some have abandoned, some have abused. Some have neglected, some have short changed.
Being a man is not easy. “Acha ata being a man, being a father is not easy.” Mfalme told me a fortnight ago. I felt pity.
Pity for the father who wakes up at six in the morning and goes to a bus stop to get paid twenty shillings because of sitting in a matatu, so that when the tout shouts, “wanne ikiendanga”, it will entice people to board. Pity for the father who walks from Kawangware to Industrial Area just to save the forty shillings to buy his son a graph book. Pity for the father who sends his son school fees but instead the son uses the money to gamble. Pity for the father who chooses to buy his daughter a pair of shoe over repairing his worn out shoes.
“I find most fathers not quite passionate about their children. Passionate in the case where there is zero to a little emotional relationship with their children. And with this you will find most children acknowledging or rather appreciating their mums more than they would do about their dads.” — this is a thought I have had this week and I thought it loud to my friends.
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Fatherhood is anointed
I wish I could talk about this from first hand experience but oh well. I have a friend’s dad who treats him well, too well actually. You know, one thing with mothers is that they are passionate, to the point of not disciplining their children as they should. Fathers on the other hand, do what they have to do to make sure the family is intact and well mannered.
Ever since Adam was created, he was given one thing by God, RESPONSIBILITY. Every man has an inborn feeling that he has to care for everything that he owns or what comes from him. I’m sure you know of guys who cannot trash a place even where everyone is doing it. Every father who loves his family does not mind going all out to make sure they have a good life. Every father has an inborn trait that is actually seen from when one is a kid. If you watch the kids that play cha baba cha mama you will see what I mean.
I do not like my father. Growing up, I once tried to commit suicide because I felt unwanted. Now that I’m an adult I tried getting close to him. To build a relationship with him because I wanted one with him. I did not like the distance, the emptiness. But he brushed me off.
I will not honour him this Father’s Day. Because why should I? This is the kind of anger that makes you fall into depression at times. It leaves you guarded. It makes you not excited about the little things. You do not even notice them, actually.
How he used to cane me, at times over things I did not do, made me think he is not my father. I have this one memory of such a time. He held me by my legs, head down like how a cow is hanged in a slaughter house and he caned me thoroughly. I was even contemplating doing a DNA test.
Men make sacrifices no person can make. Ask your Dad how many pairs of shoes he has. Ask him when he last bought a new shirt for himself. If it is recently it is because all others are worn out. But you will never live in a house without electricity or water. If it is rented, you will never be locked out because rent was not paid. You are not chased from school because of unpaid school fees. You will never go to a hospital and have medical bills unpaid. You will never fall and lack his support to rise again. If you are waiting for a deeper connection from a man other than that you will wait forever. Is the volume okay or should I increase?
I say this from my experience. If my dad provides financially, according to him, his work is done.
Some of these things, we cannot change them. We cannot change who our fathers are. It is either they change themselves or we take it as it is. Then, us who are potential fathers, try and do better.
Mtoto ni wa mama
Do not expect too much from the father of your child. Mtoto ni wa mama. If you want a man that will help you out with your child, more than he is providing financially, labda awe a White guy or an African man with some white blood in him.
Just a father
My father provides financially. I cannot say I have lacked anything from what he provides. But that is just it about him. There is no connection, no friendship. No emotional relationship. I do not know if I am asking too much… but…
The relationship I have with my father today is not the one I had four years ago. Today, he is not just a man that provides financially. Our relationship has somewhat grown to a friendship. Where we can sit down and talk. Where he can share with me funny videos or memes. Lately, he has developed a liking, which he undoubtedly enjoys, of teasing and pranking me.
The growth of our relationship began from my side. Because I did not want a father that just provides financially, I wanted my Dad. So I had to understand where he’s come from, who he is and how he operates.
It is not about how many pairs of shoes he has or the number of shirts he has. Because there are fathers who have over 100 pairs of shoes while others have just two shirts and both can either have no relationship with their children or a relationship with their children.
At this age, an age of a depressed generation, you should not just provide financially for your children. Even with your busy schedule, try and be there for your children. Huyo mtoto mlitengeneza mkiwa wawili. As your wife is building a relationship with your children, be part of the journey
Fathers be there for your sons. Teach them how to be men. Teach them how to treat women. Allow them to embrace their manhood with pride. Ata ukihustle huko nje do not leave that job entirely to your wife.
As your child grows, treat them per their age. When they are three years old, treat them like a three year old. When they are an adolescent, treat them like an adolescent. When they are an adult, treat them like an adult. Because they are not just your children, they are human beings moulding their lives.
Every child born of a man and a woman, wants more than receiving gifts and fees being paid. We are emotional beings. And it is normal and deserving to want a person that takes their time to just sit and have a conversation with you.
And for you who does not have a rosy relationship with your father. You that is not in talking terms with them or when you talk to them you wished you did not. You that is filled with anger and resentment. Many will celebrate their fathers but I pray even if not today or tomorrow, you will find peace, heal and talk to your Dad again.
You only have the two of you to bury each other. Because most of your friends will either come to your burial or your father’s to look at how much property you have or what you have built at his home. But not really to bury or mourn with you.