As secondary school students, we were taught about “metamorphosis”— the full lifecycle of insects such as butterflies that sees them transform from eggs to larva, pupa, and then adults. Although the term “metamorphosis” was not used in describing the human journey from birth to adulthood, the circle of life is surely a journey of staged transformations. However, unlike the butterfly that largely has no say in its metamorphosis, humans make choices that influence the outcome of each transformation; for example, a man can decide whether to be a mere sperm contributor or a father.
The year 2020, with all its intrigues and discomfitures, marks the first time that on a Fathers’ Day, I get reckoned as a biological father. This is a big deal, for the “allegedly” hyper-inquisitive boy whose diapers were being changed just yesterday is now a father. As I behold our son’s face, my mind races in several directions, blending a triad of excitement, realisation, and apprehension. I am excited at having crossed to another phase of life, then I realise the immense responsibility for a human who needs to be groomed to meet the expectations of God, the society, his parents, and himself. This realisation and awareness of the current realities on earth makes me apprehensive. What if I fail?
As a father, there are so many things I want to be and do. I want to love, nurture, protect, and discipline. I want to be a dad whose kids can confide in, knowing that he would give them a listening ear even he thinks they are wrong, yet would not be so liberal that the kids grow rudderless. I want to become better on the emotional plane. My wife could literally have a heart attack if our son is crying, whereas I can carry him, while he
cries screams without feeling like the world were about to end. Maybe if I learn to feel a bit more like she feels, it would help me connect better with our kids down the road.
Rather than merely being a grant awarding institution, I want to be a dad who manages to balance resource provision with availability, ensuring quality time to share moments with the kids. I want to be a dad who God can boast about (Genesis 18:19), and people would feel assured knowing my kids are well groomed. I want to train our boys to be true kings—courteous, respectful, effective leaders—with our daughter as a true queen, embellishing these attributes with her feminine graces.
I recognise it will take quite a journey from where I am today to where I want to be in the next two+ decades. Maybe that’s driving the apprehension. But like King David, I will encourage myself in the Lord. I have a supportive wife with whom these goals will be achieved, in addition to lessons learned from my fathers and other fathers, and a commitment to learning, unlearning and relearning. I am not in a competition to becoming the best father in the world. Rather, it will be said of me that I was a father who was never scared of becoming better than himself.
Happy Fathers’ Day!
Image Credit: publicholidays.ph