So Fathers’ Day is here……
This Sunday, the 19th of June is Fathers’ day. It comes barely a month after Mothers’ day. The celebration of the two days has taken Kenya by storm and now people get all over the internet appreciating their mothers/fathers-never mind that the older generation of our parents barely know about, leave alone use social media! If anyone is able to notice a six inch tall adult amongst really small children, then they are able to notice the difference in enthusiasm between Mothers’ day celebrations and Fathers’ day celebrations.
On Mothers’ day, almost everyone appears to have a mother, whether alive or passed on. And messages of acknowledgement (for those who are alive) and tributes (for those who have passed on) fill the air. Churches have Mothers’ day specials, gifts and flowers are very much in demand during the season.
On Fathers’ day however, it is not uncommon to see wishful messages such as ‘I wish I met you dad’, or even some appreciating their mothers for playing both parents. Reasons such as alcoholism and many others may be reasons to sympathise or not sympathise with the fathers/men.
So why the pride in mothers and ‘not as much pride’ for fathers?
- There is such a high rate of absent fathers in children’s upbringing if the following statistics are anything to go by. One out of every three (33%) children in America and nearly two-in-three (64%) African American children live in homes where the father is absent, according to a study in 2011. http://www.kenyaforum.net/2013/09/08/single-motherhood-in-kenya/
- Its no longer a big issue to be raised up by a single child, or to raise up children single handedly. With the casualness of separation, divorce and upcoming formerly unheard of practices in Africa like prenuptials, single-parenthood is more often planned than not. Six of every 10 Kenyan women are likely to be single mothers by the time they reach 45, one of the highest rates for single-parent families in Africa http://mobile.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/-/1950774/1958704/-/format/xhtml/-/r02vx8/-/index.html
- The rise of feminism and girl child empowerment has almost come at the expense of the boy child. So generally, the boy child is left to learn things the tough way, after all, ‘mwanaume ni effort’! We seem to have forgotten that children, teenagers and youths are a perfect image of the society. Neglect of the boy child breeds a wanting generation of masculinity. Gender based mentor-ship is no longer a thing to consider while raising up children, after all, the priorities now are all about dreaming and following the dreams and ambitions.
What can be done?
- This fathers’ day, and every other day it is important to honor our fathers as much as we honor our mothers. Eph 6: 1-2, Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the Land”. The Lord has instructed us to honor our parents, whether we feel like they deserve it or not, whether they have been good to us or not. The instruction is to honor them (father and mother). If we are to be used in healing the families already in crisis then it will mean that there is need to stop sidelining one parent over the other. The praises/laments on Fathers’ day will exhibit so much to the readers and viewers on how much we love and honor our fathers.
- Girl child empowerment, boy child empowerment also! There are still some oppressive practices among some Kenyan communities that the girl child needs to be saved from. But that doesn’t mean that the society sidelines the boy. A society is made up of both genders. So both genders need to get enlightened about the pros and cons of a practice.
- A little investment in time and presence with our fathers may come a long way in celebrating them other than putting up messages on Facebook that a fifty year old will most probably not get to read. I love an initiative that some churches have picked to organise for mentor-ship retreats of older men and younger men where the two groups spend time together just bonding!
For those who this weekend have no one to remember as a father, for those who the mention of the word ‘father’ only brings back bad memories, for those who have really really loving fathers but who for sure know fall short of expectations at times, there is a Father who is above all Fathers, and who is immeasurably loving to all people and who has shown us the perfect example of unconditional love. Rom 8:14-17, For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
It is great to know that there is a Father who has adopted us from a life of filthiness to a life of hope. From being outcasts to belonging in a family, through sending his Son Jesus Chris to die for us, and therefore destroy the wall of hostility of sin and race to a family of His own. There are high chances that our earthly fathers (and mothers too) will get below expectations as parents (and ourselves as well whether as parents or as children) but we have a heavenly Father who has in store for us an imperishable inheritance, together with Jesus Christ when He finally gets back.
Happy Fathers’ Day