Think of those two words and what does it conjure up in your mind?
Respect. Authority. Honour. Cultural expectations. Deference. And
I am fairly certain that these terms in relation to the father- child
relationship are not alien to us. This is the reality we wake up to
We hold our fathers in such high esteem as though they are demigods. continue after this slice…
Our mothers we see much more frequently while growing up so we are
more emotionally attached to them. They might spank us and for a fact
like in my experience, my father never laid a finger on me while I was
growing up yet I feared him. I got a whole lot of beating from my
mother but whenever I refused to eat (I was one of those children who
started watching her weight from the age of three so required extra
cajoling to eat), she would threaten to tell my father and that always
prompted immediate obedience. Funny enough, it is not as if he would
punish me if he were around but that stern look of disapproval was
more than enough, no matter how much I had been beaten by mother prior
to that (in my mind I would say, “no be to cry and clean my eye later
on?”). Do not get me wrong please, I had great respect for my
mother-and still do- yet the respect toward my father bordered on
It was an inane desire to please him and make certain that I did not
do anything he would disapprove of. If anyone agrees with me, can I
get an ‘amen’?
I mean, look at many homes. The moment the father’s car is heard
pulling into the compound, conversation seizes among the children in
the living room. If they were watching TV before, they put it off as
if to leave no traces of their presence. When they hear the father’s
footsteps the room clears out or they only linger long enough to greet
him. It is not as if the man never smiles or they never joke around
with him but there seems to be an invisible barrier that tells how far
the children are allowed to go.
I am not calling for lawlessness or disrespect. I would be the first
to ‘yab’ white kids who say things like, “Dad, don’t be stupid.” You
But there is something else to be seen there. It is freedom. Culture
has so boxed us in concerning what is acceptable and what is not, so
we live lives that are streamlined and walk paths dictated to us. Over
the years, we have been taught how things should be and that is why
many fathers have learnt to distance themselves because they are the
men and should not be seen as being too domestic.
A father should spend quality time with his children in spite of how
hard he works and not leave them to the mercies of the mother. They
are your children, not strangers. True enough, overfamiliarity breeds
disrespect but that there is where proper home training comes in.
Earlier I had thought this pandemic had died with my generation but I
see the young couples these days and it seems to be happening all over
again though I should mention that some have broken through the
Please note that this word of advice is not directed at just married
men but applies to even youngsters as long as you are planning on
having kids. It is never too early to prepare.
As for those men that always say, “Go and meet your mother”, all I
have to say is, “Really?”
Just remember that the trees of today were once seeds. Don’t be surprised at what you see tomorrow.
Author: Angela Umoru