Role of A Father: Celebrating the Positive Family Impact of Fathers this Father’s Day
June 10, 2021
What do a teacher, mentor, therapist, coach, advisor, financier, bodyguard, and supporter all have in common? They are all roles a father plays in the lives of his children as they mature into young women and men. A father never stops sharing the wisdom he has learned and is often the first person we seek out when making major life decisions.
For this and many other reasons, the importance of a father cannot be overstated. It’s been well-documented that children suffer major disadvantages in life when there’s no father in the home. Whether it’s an increased likelihood of poverty, substance abuse, crime or dropping out of school, it’s not an understatement to say that having a dad, or a positive male role model, in the home can save a child’s life.
That’s why this Father’s Day, Asante Africa Foundation is celebrating the positive impact dads have on their children’s lives; empowering their kids to grow into healthy, happy women and men through sacrifice and hard work.
How positive male figures change children’s lives for the better
The road to becoming a positive father figure in a child’s life has twists and turns and it doesn’t always come from the same point of origin. For some men, the provider and family mindset has been passed down to them from their father and their forefathers. For others, they are driven to become loving and supportive fathers precisely because they grew up without that figure and, as a result, came to know life’s struggles. These fathers remembered those valuable lessons so they could one day pass on their wisdom, with love, to their children. Despite the differences in situations and life experiences, what is common in these men is the desire to make a positive impact in their child’s life.
Asante Africa Foundation is blessed to have positive male role models and dads working in various roles and setting examples for their East African communities at large. These men have done a wonderful job being providers for their families and supporting their children’s growth and education. Their perspectives help us understand the importance of having a male role model for the family unit.
Many girls and boys first learn what it means to have a strong work ethic from their fathers. “I endeavor to raise my children to be more responsible, resilient, visionary, and open-minded. I believe this will help them in dealing with challenges and aid them in achieving their goals. I want them to learn that life is not offered on a silver platter, but one has to work hard for it; strong principles and a positive attitude will take them far,” says Chris Mkado, a scholarship manager in Kenya who is head of a household with eight children.
Albert Jumbe, one of the first translators for Asante Africa Foundation, and currently the owner of a tour company in Tanzania, agrees, “It is very important to set an example for your children because it will teach them the importance of hard work and generating their own income rather than depending on someone else. This will lead children to a better future.”
For the dads in East African communities, by striving for achievement at work they come to find traditional ideas of success in the workplace take on a different meaning in the eyes of their children and families. For Albert, being a tour operator meant long trips and time away from home and equating success with “the good life”. But as a father, it means something different. “Success isn’t about me, it’s about being present… having my family and my community around me.”
Chris feels similarly. “In the course of my work, I am able to witness how positive relationships with fathers foster the growth of confident young men and women. To all fathers, the energy and strength given to us is unimaginable…know that your small contributions into your children’s lives really count and affect generations to come.”
At Asante Africa Foundation our programs are focused on supporting the fundamentals of education, personal safety, financial literacy, work ethic, and reproductive health. With strong fathers in the home, these seeds of knowledge are planted organically, making a huge difference in children’s lives and their futures.
When dads practice being present children thrive
In addition to the physical definition, the concept of “being present” means committing oneself fully to the moment, giving oneself mentally and emotionally to what’s going on so you can make the best of what’s taking place. This is something the great dads in East African communities, and around the world, do consistently. It’s what makes their kids swell with love, and appreciation, setting the example that serves as a compass for the rest of their lives.
“I’ve learned that my presence in the family is very important. It’s during difficult times that my family needs me the most. I use that lesson to teach my children that, in the future, they have to be fully responsible to their family.” – Mr. Jumbe
When you listen to childrens’ feedback about strong fathers it stands out for being nearly identical, and not dissimilar to children around the world. What they love about their dads is how friendly they are, how approachable, and supportive they tend to be. What they dislike about their dads is how they’re always pushing them to be responsible human beings, leaders and accountable for their actions.
What’s ironic is that it is these very qualities that are intrinsic to the role of a father and make today’s children into empowered adults tomorrow. They may not realize it, but many East African children, similar to ones in Asante Africa Foundation, learn hard work and dedication due to what they’d like to change about their dads. It’s only later in life that children understand the love they have for their fathers is as much for pushing them as for being their friend.
This Father’s Day, for the children who can, spend some time in person with your dad to let them know we’re thankful to them for being present in our lives and communities, and for nurturing us to become our best selves.
Written by: Christopher Bass