I recently heard someone talk about how a man in the Maasai culture is held in very high esteem. He is received honorably when he visits and he has a special way of greeting people and of being greeted. This reminded me of the great reverence that was accorded to men who had come of age in our olden African customs.

Unfortunately, today we see a very different picture. Fatherhood and manhood are endangered concepts. So many negative things are being said about the male species. True, we have had few cases of unfortunate behavior by men which have been blown out of proportion by the media and generalized as traits of all men. But these are not necessarily true.

This article salutes the great and silent heroes who rarely get acknowledged for their hidden acts of heroic service to society-FATHERS. The article aims at highlighting the uniqueness of masculinity and especially the indispensable role of the father in a home.

The African man is said to have had very little room for shows of affection. This has led to having a current generation of fathers who never experienced the loving presence of fathers.

One cannot talk about fatherhood without touching on the special place masculinity occupies. Watching the movie ‘300’ one is left convinced that we are endangering our boys when we don’t help them to be men. Yet manliness is constantly being redefined and at times being put at a great risk of being ostracized. There is a reason why men are the way they are physically, biologically and psychologically. These differences are to be recognized, appreciated and harnessed as they are what makes humanity complete.

Having said that, it is important to note that human beings are directed and guided by love; they are social beings. Man has his shortcomings but can be taught how to love. The figure of the father is important because it offers protection and security for all in the family. A man by his physical make up (body, voice) naturally plays this role but, more importantly, provides the much needed authority that ensures harmony in the family.

My wife has confirmed many a times that I am best placed to ‘punish’ the children for obvious reasons. A father is easily detached emotionally from a situation and thus least affected psychologically by the enforcement of the punishment. This is just in his natural make-up and works like magic. My children to date know that when Daddy says something and insists on it, then it is not a suggestion, it’s an order!!

Children grow best in a home with very clear roles of the father and mother. Routines and clear rules in a home ensure children learn order and fortitude. Many men have wondered what role they can play when their wives are expectant and during the early years of the child’s life. Psychologists have confirmed that a child’s golden age is between 0-5 years. This is when it’s best to teach them virtue. Sadly, this is the time most men are absent form home leaving the upbringing of the children to the mother.

A father recently narrated to me how from the moment the baby is in the womb and is moving he would sing songs and even talk to the child!  He later accompanied his wife all the way through delivery and was there in the ward to be the first to hold his child when he comes into the world. The result is a very close bond that he shares with all his children. Children need us, fathers, at home because at these stages we are building the blocks of friendship that will come in handy during teen years as they face all sorts of crisis.

A father’s presence at home is not only beneficial to the children but also to his wife. A father who shows affection to his wife and helps her out does so much good to her. Children grow confident and secure in a home full of cheerfulness. The father’s role is not only to provide but to avail his time plentifully to his family: to engage the children in heart-to-heart conversations about their concerns and fears; to lead the home spiritually by being a prayerful soul. The day your children reach the age of learning the catechism on God the Father, guess which father they’ll they have in mind. Yes you got it right – YOU! The way you live your fatherhood will influence the way your children will perceive God and determine whether they will want anything to do with Him!!!

I cannot finish without paying glowing and special tribute to my father – Symon Gathure. I have been very lucky to have a man who has stayed for 40 years married to my mother! This is the best gift my father could have ever given me – the example of his faithfulness to my mother. I recently got the rare opportunity to hug him during their 40th wedding anniversary and to tell him that I love and thank him for all he has done for me. I guess that now that I am a father, I have come to really appreciate his role in my life. My father not only made sure we lacked nothing but shared with me my most trying times in life. As I watch him today play with his grandchildren, I wish that we too may stop demonizing our men and instead spend more time looking at their positive contributions. My father once told me to remember “whose son you are”. This pride I walk with everyday knowing that wherever he is he loves me and wants what is best for me.


– Thomas Mundia

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