The Making of a True Father

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In the last issue of this magazine, we celebrated women that did extraordinary things in their communities. Even though few women were featured, I can say without a doubt, that there were myriad of well-deserving women that would have equally graced the pages of FunTimes Magazine. Be that as it may, our focus has now turned to the celebration of fathers in this issue – men who are not only biological parents of young men and women in our communities but men who have distinguished themselves in the nurturing and development of a child.

From my perspective, a real father has characteristics that transcend genetic commonalities with his child. He has to see his role as a natural responsibility that can impact the future of a boy or girl he helped bring into this world. Besides demonstrating physically his paternal love for the child, becoming part of the molding and nurturing process is his primary responsibility.

Fatherhood embodies something quintessential considering its importance in the transformation of a child’s life. If I should paraphrase, the Bible advises us to raise the child properly so that he would not deviate when he grows up. In other words, the father’s primary role is to guide the child as he grows up. He has to be instrumental in lifting the blindfold from the child’s eyes so that the child recognizes good from bad, right from wrong, friends and foes. And most importantly, he should school the child in how to navigate through this treacherous would.

Yes, the quintessential father – who is he anyway? I can tell you that he is the man that does not flaunt his affection neither is he afraid to tell the child “I love you.” He never fails to accept the fact that his first
responsibility as a father is the welfare of his child – the upbringing – providing shelter, food, clothing
while ensuring that his educational needs are meet.

Perhaps men need to accept the fact that by merely parenting a child does not make one a father. Honestly, it
saddens me to know that thousands of young men in our society are having kids when they lack the mental maturity and life’s experience. You see, mental maturity and life’s experience are without doubt very vital tools that all fathers need in order to make decisions and choices that directly or indirectly impact the child. Simply put, you cannot teach what you do not know.

Growing up, there were few things that I learned from my father, Phillip. He went to work every day even when his life was gradually slipping away because of his battle with prostate cancer. Because we lived in a small town, whenever we were both home, we did things together – gardening, farming and home improvement. I remember going with him one day to the city of Monrovia and eating lunch at a restaurant for the first time. It was my first time
learning table etiquette – how to properly use a knife and fork and the need to spread the napkin in your lap
before eating.

My experience with my father was during my formative years. Yet most of it like the part about work ethic is ingrained in me today. But what is very important is that thanks to him I was able to love, mold and nurture my four sons while living in the West Philadelphia community. As a father, I made sure I guided them against the pitfalls and challenges of society. Thanks to God they all went to college and are now productive citizens.

A Dialogue with Four Fathers on Co parenting

By Norman Bell

Many times men absent themselves from their children’s homes because of their perception of the challenges they
30-4-300x193associate with co-parenting. The struggles are not imaginary and often men find themselves falling out of rhythm with their children around arguments, misunderstandings and conversational confusions. Christian Andrews sat down with four men of various profiles who all co-parent asking for their thoughts on fatherhood: Terrell aged 25 co-parenting 2 biological children, Michael aged 32 co-parenting 3 biological children, Norman 44 co-parenting 2 biological children and Charles aged 57 father of 4, co-parenting his youngest who is also a special needs young

Your biggest challenge as a co-parent

Charles: Working as a single father and balancing my work schedule with my son’s needs is my daily struggle.30-2-300x235

Terrell: The relationship with my daughter’s mother…trying at all times to keep it positive.

Michael: Agreeing with my children’s mother on the same methods of how to help them be successful. Decisions
can be difficult on how to spend our limited resources on school, camps or lessons or anything — trying to see if something has value.

Norman: My sons are in my thoughts daily and I miss that I do not see them every day. I look at pictures and they
are getting so old and I feel like it’s all passing so quickly. Plus not hearing everything they said!

Your biggest joy with your children

Terrell: I enjoy the quality and the way we create the memories.

Norman: I have always sought to be a better father and have a stronger relationship with my sons than I had with my father. I have a blast with my dudes but sometimes I just love looking at them relax and eat. I like watching sporting events like the Super Bowl with them — just enjoying my little men.

Charles: Watching my son grow up, adjusting, realizing the good things, appreciating what I am trying to do for him, having him tell me ‘I am the best dad and I am lucky to have you’. Those things mean the world to me.

Michael:Watching my kids smile, and understand a lesson I am trying to teach them. It’s great to know that they see me as dependable, reliable and able to provide for their needs and wants.

Advice for a man struggling with co-parenting

Michael: Tell him regardless of the disagreement (because there can be many) try not to make a decision while you are upset because it may affect the child. If it is not immediate sleep on it so you can come back focused on your child. Put your children first.

Terrell: (laughter…hmm) I agree with Mike–try not to make decisions while ‘in the frustration’. My observation has been that negative relations with the mother can rub off on the child
30-3-300x212so try to be positive. Kill’em with kindness!

Norman: I have always tried to focus on being a father which does not always mean the mother is going to understand. I believe in the differences between the Mars and Venus so I don’t aim to please people who don’t understand. Just do the right thing by your child even if others don’t agree or always understand your methods.

Charles: I could not agree more. Have patience! Show commitment! Enjoy the good times and keep your
child first and foremost in your mind and gradually the child will adjust. I was born in Kpaiyea, Liberia so culturally it is not common for a man from my culture to raise a child. I am doing it and my attitude is if a woman
can do it then I must do it. You can never run from your responsibility — you would regret it till you die!


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Eric Nzeribe