Monica Cheru-Mpambawashe and Tafadzwa Zimoyo
Anyone can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a daddy. Everyday they labour to put food on the table, a roof over the heads, send the kids to school, show them the right way through example and speech, pick them up when they fall down, stand back and let them go, love their mother and scold them when there is need.
Daddies may not say “I love you” to their children everyday but by simply being there and being real fathers, they communicate that special something. This week, in anticipation of Father’s Day, we went around and asked what defines a good father to various people.
A university student Chido Murisi said a great father should lead by example.
“A good father is above the old ‘do as I say, not as I do’ credo. He will not smoke if he doesn’t want his kids to do so, and definitely won’t drink heavily. He teaches them to deal with conflict with a family member and with others by being firm but reasonable at the same time,” she said.
She said that a good father also illustrates the importance of affection by professing his love for their mother in front of them.
“He won’t fight with her in their presence. In all, he adheres to the values he’d like his children to follow. He should be fiercely loyal to his family,” Murisi explained.
For others, an ideal father is all about the lessons that he teaches concerning life.
“I love my father so much because he is an example of a great father. He never lets his children take what they have for granted. From the food on the table to the good education he’s paying for, a good father will make his children see the value in everything they have,” said Geofrey Nyamagodo from Mainway Meadows.
“One best thing I cherish is the relationship that I have with my father.
“He never stops pushing me, from asking me to get a job or buy my first car or get married but he also take time to illustrate how important a good education is. He doesn’t let his kids treat him like an ATM,” said Nyamagodo.
Another aspect of a good father is the ability to let his children be who they are, not identical chips off the old block.
“Everyone is different and a father knows this well. A good father won’t expect his kids to live the same kind of life he does, and do the same kind of work. He also respects their values and opinions, as long as they don’t harm the family or anyone else,” Nyamagodo said.
Shallom Mandiyanike, upcoming entrepreneur from Tafara said a father should instil discipline in his children and is not afraid to show tough love.
“A good father loves his children, but he doesn’t let them get away with murder. He strongly disapproves of his children’s misdeeds, using tough love to prove a point. He does this through the power of his words, not his fists. Likewise, a father doesn’t reward his children for actions that are expected of them, such as helping with house chores or performing well in school. If his child drops out of school, the father demands that he provide for himself, considering the child no longer wants to invest in his own future,” he said.
But at the same time, a father should also give some leeway for children to discover themselves.
“No one is perfect, a father realises that his children are human, and that making mistakes is part of growing up. Spending money recklessly, getting into minor car accidents, getting drunk and sick for the first time, even dating questionable women are rites of passage, and a good father recognises this. However, he makes it clear that repeated irresponsibility won’t be tolerated,” he said.
Janet Nyambo who is married to Edmore said a good dad (and husband) has to be smart, not only in terms of appearance but intellectually. Ruvarashe on the other hand admires her brother Tendai Lacoste’s involvement in the everyday lives of his children. She said such a trait is important and children need to know that they can always count on their super hero.
With the search for money getting hotter each passing day, too many parents are just providing for their kids without taking time to be with them. This is a definite no-no for a real daddy.
“A dad knows how to have fun with his kids too, taking them out to games, movies, and supporting their sports teams by attending their matches.
“He takes the time to listen to his kids and have a good, easy chat with them. He also makes time to help them with their homework, every night if necessary,” said one lifestyle coach guru Miechellina Moris based in Belvedere.
She said a father should be open-minded and realise that his generation does not have the last word on everything.
“He should understand that times, people and tastes change over the years, and doesn’t try to maintain some gold standard of his own time. For instance, he should realise that body piercings and tatoos are more common than before, that more couples have premarital sex, and that people talk more candidly about personal issues. In other words, he allows his children to be citizens of their day and age,” she said. She added that he shows his kids that everything has its value.
“There will always be a few people who have the courage to love what is untamed inside us. One of those men is my father,” said Alison Lohman.
What came out is that most people do not feel that their father should be rich or famous to be a super dad. He must just love them and show it in his own way and his children will always believe that he is Superman, Spiderman and all other action heroes rolled in one.
The worst thing that a father can do, the vote was unanimous, is denying paternity and or responsibility.
“My father only pitched up when I was working after leaving my mother on her own when she was pregnant with me. I am no longer bitter but I can never look at that man and see a father. He is just a biological fact. I also want to say that to all fathers who must be dragged to maintenance court, please remember that one day those children will grow up and know that you had to be forced by a magistrate and the fear of jail to look after them,” said a young man who refused to be named. On spoiling your very own hero this weekend, most people said they would buy some clothing item, take their parent out for a meal or simply spend time together.
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