As we mark Father’s Day today, my heart and encouragement go out to many women and mothers, who to the best of their ability play the roles of fathers in the lives of their precious children, same roles haven been abandoned by the fathers.
The foregoing is a growing and disturbing phenomenon, which our nation and her private and public institutions can only abandon at their own peril. It is never the design of God that mothers should entirely play the roles of father and mother as one person.
Remember, Idi Ami Dada and the havoc he wrecked on his nation and people. According to Wikipedia, ‘abandoned by his father at a young age, Idi Amin grew up with his mother’s family in a rural farming town in north-western Uganda.’ Joseph Stalin, the Soviet Union dictator, who ordered and oversaw the uncanny pogrom of his people was raised without the support of the father. It is high time we began to pay adequate attention to how we are raising our precious boy children to under stand the uniqueness of their roles first in the family and their immediate and general environment.
By virtue of where I sit as a Social Development Lawyer, whose area of professional influence and interest is primarily the family institution, I have lost count of how many women, whose matters I have handled directly, refer or counsel with, whose husbands have run away from home and abandoned the awesome responsibilities of fatherhood to the mothers.
There are other category of women, whose husbands die and the families of their late husbands sit on the estates of the husbands, depriving the widows and their precious children of the deserved access to their late breadwinners’ estate. Most of these women had laboured tirelessly with their late husbands to build their estates.
I also work with another group of women, who are divorced or separated from their husbands for sundry reasons, including but not exclusive to domestic violence and despite court orders and intervention of government agencies, mandating the fathers to take responsibilities for the upkeep of the precious children have refused or failed to live up to the mandate. Some of these fathers just seem to be above the law.
There is another category of women, who have never been married to the fathers of their precious children. Some of the fathers were married before they had something with these women and from whence these precious children came. Some of the fathers were singles, who had affairs with these women in the days of their youth and have never been there for the precious children.
There is yet another category of women, who are neither separated nor divorced from their husbands. They live under same roof with their husband and precious children, but the fathers are there as if they are not there. It has become the burden of such mothers to play the roles of father and mother to their precious children.
There is another category of women, who the precious children they father are not their biological children. These noble women have become voluntary foster parents or guardians to the children of their relatives abandoned by the fathers.
There are also women, who play the roles of fathers by virtue of the fact that they run orphanage and rehabilitation homes.
As many as these categories are, which I am sure I have not exhausted her, my intervention and experience reveal to me that many of these men are third or second generation absentee fathers. This is very frightening for me.
Most of these women that I know have sacrificed their lives so that their precious children can live a meaningful present and future. One of these women once unburdened to me that, ‘I also try to help stabilise her emotionally, which costs a hundred percent of my attention. In the process, am unable to live.’ Many of these unsung amazons are acquainted with sorrow of abandonment and grief of loneliness. There are many of them, who live in abject poverty and yet strive to find the best of help for their precious children.
Some of these women are not only fending for their precious children, they are servicing the debt either jointly entered into or solely entered into by the fathers of their children.
In a Third World country like Nigeria, where there is no social support system and public social services, strongly undergirded by the principles and practice of Social Protection, most of these mothers are practically on their own, in providing economic and social succour for their precious children.
Now, if the foregoing have been available, it would have only eased only a minute part of the mothers’ unusual burden. It is important to note that while meeting the economic needs of these precious children are very critical, they are not as important as the social and emotional needs of these precious children, which these honourable women are left to carry.
A father is a source and sustainer. Source or origin is fundamental to the identity of an entity. Functions are lost in the wilderness of lack of identity. You cannot do what you are born to do, if you do not know, who you are born to be. Fathers point the precious child to his/her identity and helps him/her to discover and give full expression to his/her potentials. The mother reinforces and builds on the foundation laid by the father. The father as a sustainer is first there as a spiritually and emotionally stable person to prepare the precious child, by example for life and its countless and meandering intricacies. The sustainer, provides resources, which finance is the least, but positive value system is the chief. The sustainer helps the precious child to answer the questions of origin, morality, meaning and destiny, as identified by Ravi Zacharias as the four questions every person must answer to make sense of life.
It is therefore a herculean task for a woman to stand in the roles of a father, not to talk of playing both the roles of father and mother.
You know the most painful part of my experience? Some of these mothers, who played the roles of fathers live in some level of bitterness. At the height of their bitterness, they indoctrinate their precious children against their run-away fathers. They forget that such prepare the precious children for a tough family life in the future. The fact of the disappearance of the fathers is already very damaging to the precious child in the present and future, except there is divine intervention, not to talk of the extra burden brought by negative indoctrination. There are some of these precious children, who today are at loggerheads with their mothers because they want to know who their fathers are and the mothers do not deem it fit to oblige them.
I must not in any way condemn or judge these distinguished mothers, who are doing their best to be fathers to their precious children as a result of their fathers refusing or failing to do so. I am not in their shoes and if I claim I know, where it pinches I will not only be lying but also be insensitive. The absentee fathers are real culprits in this situation
All, I do today is to celebrate and encourage you that there are some individuals, who appreciate your daunting but noble efforts to give your precious children a hope and future. All I appeal to you to do is for you to understand that it is by the grace of God Almighty that you are alive and standing for the best of your precious children.
I appeal to you to keep going, knowing that God is behind the scenes, working everything to work together for your good and that of your precious children. I appeal to you today to cast all of your burdens, (including, when you become bitter due to seemingly unbearable pressure) into God’s hands and watch Him be your peace as He fathers those precious children through you and brings a father figure to support you at His own time.
I plan to either call or send a message to as many mothers that I know doing their best to play the roles of mothers today. I hope I will be able to achieve this task, for they are many that I know.
I celebrate you today dear mothers and wish you an INSPIRED Fathers’ Day.
I am The Preacher, I SPEAK for the PRECIOUS AFRICAN CHILD.