Birth, wedding and Death…… In all the cultures I know the birth of a child is a highly anticipated event which is treated with jubilation only rivalled by that present during a wedding. The mentioned three events are some of the most important rites of passage in the existing cultures world over. This is despite the fact that there are some births which are not celebrated as much given the number of abortion cases and children dumped day in day out.
Now that the pressure men go through before the bouncing baby arrives has been documented and has been a topic of discussion on our radio stations, it is imperative I make some observation on the after side which many men go silent on save for a few (sometimes too a many) snaps here and there on Facebook detailing the progress of the baby.
Unless you are one of the many much hated absentee fathers-(alcoholism, work-holism and mpango wa/mipango za kandoism are the main culprits) you have to be actively involved in the upbringing of your kid. The pull between modernism and African traditions dictates the extent to which fathers like me would go in their parenting. I must admit am the conservative types…..you aint gonna find me changing the diapers of my daughter…..Nah nah nah. Unless it is some very special circumstances which haven’t happened so far. So what’s my role then regarding my daughters upbringing? First it is the biblical role – providing for the family basic needs. I have to hustle to ensure there is a roof pon their head, food pon the table and some clothing. More importantly I have also to ensure that I cultivate a conducive environment for her growth. You see one thing with children they are very receptive –when her mother is stressed, trust me; she will “be down” too. It could be the breast milk I guess….
As a father I hav realized you have to keen while around your kid…..You have to understand her….when she says “trarat huh” (sic) while pointing to the door you have to know she wants an outing of some few minutes. You have to do it even if you are rushing out for job coz if you don’t oblige that will give her caretaker a hard the for some hours before she forgets…… yes hours and sometimes the whole day..Girls girls girls girls girls ..I aint talking of boys yet……In understanding her you also have to know which toys she likes, which day and which hour and when in which mood…..a wrong choice of a toy in “soothing session” might exacerbate the situation to levels you wont like…talking about soothing sessions you have to understand you are dealing with a toddler and if you think she is “too much” just call your mother (err your father wont help I am very sure) and ask her how you were when you were eight months….
There you have it my 100 cents on parenting role of a father torn between modernism and conservative African traditions. (The 20 cents has been adjusted upwards due to inflation)