Father, Behold Thy Child

In an era of a myriad of re-definitions, where ancient landmarks are being removed, and the operating manual of humanity seems to be undergoing a major revision, it would seem that fathers are unnecessary vestiges of a world left behind; a time when humans thought it took two and a village to raise a child. But as a son who is father of a son, I look at the world around with a knowing that a father, if he truly be one, would always have a place in a child’s heart.

Father’s Day 2021 would have sneaked away without my keyboard feeling my fingers’ intentional taps putting together this article. But a chance reading of a social media post triggered a reason to write. I saw a lady’s tweet about being in church, hearing a composition related to the day, and feeling a strong sense of bitterness towards her father. Later in the day, while in transit, I regurgitated that post and thought about the difference in circumstances. Acknowledging that some persons might have genuine reasons to hate their fathers, I tried to think of a reason to hate my father, but I could not find one.

Today marks four weeks and a day since my father was buried. If he had been alive, his birthday would have been during the past week, though he never cared about birthdays, and sounded awkwardly shocked the year we called him on the day. Nonetheless, his birthday is not the essence of this article. Rather, it’s about an epiphany regarding his impact in my life; a loan that I owe our children. It’s about realising that while my dad never said he loved us, he showed love in his actions, even when we felt he was mistaken.

After his burial, I wrote an article in which I mentioned that affiliating a request to school work was the easiest way to get something from my dad. Today, I remembered the second easiest route—falling or feigning illness. He was a commander, but the minute he felt that any of us was in any form of danger, he transformed into an ambassador of care, as if he feared that he would lose his child. And how proud of us he was! After I passed the first stage of the National Common Entrance Examination, he had a new safari suit sewed for me, and ensured I wore it on the day of the second examination, as if to tell the world that his son had finished tops in our little corner of Port Harcourt.

I now look at our son and realise I have a bigger task to do all my dad did, and do it better by creating that strong emotional bond with our children, ensuring they are never in doubt that I love them. If faith comes by hearing, then, by their ears, they shall hear that I love them. It would take a lot of work to transform this almost-robot into a bastion of fatherly love—love that is continually affirmed, but I know I would get there aided by the one I call my love, and the One we say loves us.

Happy Father’s Day!

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