Girls need their fathers to set the tone for the kind of love, protection and leadership they look for and accept in a man, writes Tintswalo Christian Nkuna
In a girl’s life, her relationship with men is determined by the kind of relationship she has with her father. To take this a bit overboard, a person’s relationship with their father has influence on how they relate with God as a Father. But I am not about to preach to you about having a relationship with God, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. I’ll tell you a bit about the influence my father had or still has in my life as a girl child, perhaps it will help you see the importance of a father’s presence in his children’s lives. Maybe it will make a father pick up the phone to check on his children or make the absent father to consider getting back into his children’s life. Or perhaps it will make two separated parents overlook their differences and work out a way to build relationships with their children to raise them better, I don’t know.
What I know for sure is that, had my father not been in my life, I would not have the kind of confidence I have, I would not know myself the way I do. I would not be as ambitious as I am. I would not be as strong as I am and I definitely would not be as independent as I am. Bear in mind that I am not saying I would not be confident, ambitious, strong or independent at all. I most probably would be because those are some qualities I inherited from my mother. I am saying the level would not be the same. My father’s presence made all the difference.
Most of the time we believe that girls should be close to their mothers while boys should be close to their fathers. It is an ideal set-up and makes a lot of sense but most of the parental influence I have is from my father, because my dad raised me while my mother did so from a distance. This should not mean the opposite relationships between father-daughter and mother-son should not be nurtured. Each parent’s presence and involvement in the raising of the child plays a major role, in its own way.
Girls need their fathers to set the tone for the kind of love, protection and leadership they look for and accept in a man. I agree with the person who said that girls want to marry men like their fathers while men want to marry women like their mothers. The sad thing is, at times the parents don’t always set the best of examples but whatever kind of example is set, children are more likely to identify with that kind of example because that’s what is familiar to them and in our pursuit of relationships, we want to or easily relate to what is familiar.
A father’s presence confirms and affirms identity. The value of a father’s presence goes beyond financial provision, so fathers must not feel they can’t or should not be present if they don’t have much financial influence. The confidence and pride a child has in who they are is influenced by who their father is. The support and backing of a father can boost a child’s self-esteem and help them tap into hidden potential to pursue dreams. I cannot tell you just how fired up I get when my dad tells me, “go ahead, you can do it” or “you are a Nkuna, we are born to lead”. My heart melts when he says, “I am proud of you”. Even now as I write that statement, I can just hear his voice and it makes me emotional. His affirmations kind of raise a lioness within me that believes the entire world is my stage and each and every person is watching to see me succeed. I feel unstoppable.
When you speak bad or negative about a child’s father, they take it personal as though you were directly speaking about them, that’s why I encourage the single mothers I coach to never do so. I also encourage them to allow father-child relationships as long as it is safe to do so, in the interests of the child. I am saying ‘safe’ because there are instances where it can be emotionally and physically risky to expose a child to a toxic father.
I wish fathers would rise up, realize their value and take responsibility beyond financial means for their children. We are struggling with a situation where most children grow up fatherless due to various reasons I can’t discuss here because of space, and as a result we are stuck with broken children who go around looking for the identity and love they should get from fathers, in the wrong places. Those fatherless boys have grown up and are the fathers of today, the cycle goes on and on because they do not have good examples of fatherhood to imitate, so they make and leave children fatherless again.
I’m writing this aware of some of the challenges that result in mothers raising children alone, as a single mother myself and that other fathers cannot be there because they are deceased. If your father or father of your child has passed, condolences to you. May God raise men of integrity around you to play that role. Daddies, you can do this. We need you. Rise up!
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Tintswalo Christian Nkuna is the author of an acclaimed book, Single Again. She is a transformational speaker with a mission to help those who are broken hearted and emotionally wounded to restore hope and reignite the spark for life and God.