‘If you can’t fly, then run; if you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward’—a profound statement by the iconic Martin Luther King, Jr.This story will continue to open with President Obama’s words from one of his Fathers’ day speeches that I admire so very much, I will paraphrase: “any fool can have a child. We need fathers to realize that responsibility doesn’t end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one”. My story has all been about courage and sacrifice, something that breaks my heart at times, yet reminds me how inspirational I have become to many guys of my age; and beyond: amid my brokenness, not that I am too dumb enough to suppose that being broke is a thing to romanticize, but because I have taken my life lessons rather seriously.
If I ever meet anyone who says they enjoy being broke, I will give them an ear to listen to their story than I have ever given anyone in the world. Trust me; anyone who knows what it means to be broke will tell you it is the last thing they want to have for a companion, even just one week. The often under looked thing is the detail of the word father, ‘a man who gives care and protection’; that starts way earlier before the bundle of joy is physically evident—nine months, and at times longer, or earlier.
To care and protect is more than just buying chocolate, taking your beloved child to the amusement park and morethat fall along that line of thought—which are essentially good things but not the only parameters setters for passing someone out as a successful and responsible dad. Personally, I have lived every single day of my life thinking; doing and planning for a life I would my son like, and mypossible future child to live: but unfortunately, I am struggling; actually I have courageously struggled all the way to say the least: but, it is never enough, I can’t lay claim to the line of perfection but surely I try to give fatherly love to my boy.
Fathers’ day this year came a few days after my son’s second birthday—that I never celebrated with him though, does that make me an absent dad? Rather not, I could never do that to my beloved princeShanebecause I love him more than anything in the world; if love means anything, it can never go without the word ‘inclusivity’. For my second year as a father, I wrote something in my journal on fathers’ day ‘16; that propelled me to put up this article here on the blog. In the journal, this was my note to self and Shane:
“I am happy man but not a perfect father—even when I try to give it my best shot; I can’t come anywhere close to perfection. I am in a way a ‘fortunate-unlucky’ dad right about this time; that my son, at this age, can’t judge me like the other people possibly do .My prayer though is that when he is old enough to judge my life’s role, he will do it fairly. I think that if there is anything that fatherhood has offered me, it is appreciating the sacrifices my dad made for me, something a child needs to know before they learn to say thank you-heartily.
By the conventional metrics of a successful dad, today, I may only pass for a not very successful dad. But the good news, the unconventional metrics offer a liberating experience for me; I can possibly pass out for a dad who is trying, against all odds. Life’s Launchpad builds us in such way that we don’t have to be weary about everything we would want to do—but rather to settle for what we can do, one thing at a time. We are called into something rather bigger than we can ever imagine, to be present in our kids’ lives, that’s what history’s role for us is—it is thus overly paramount to try as much as we can to be present, especially when the stakes are so high.
At times I sit and question myself into my role as a dad: Am I doing enough? Of course, it is a ‘Yes and No’ answer I offer myself to say the least, a report card that sends me chills—something I have to live with and possibly get better at it as the years go by, for all the realms of fundamental child-upbringing and development. I have been reflecting on decisions I have made the last two years that make me ‘wonder bleakly if I stepped from the frying pan into the fire’but I certainly have to keep myself in perspective. My prayer is that this guy will not be anything less than I am but rather twice as good. Bless you Shane; I will always love you, unconditionally”
The 999th Humiliation of a broke dad: ‘Belittled to bethe father of your son by convenience’.
The raw fact is if you are a ‘broke ass’, you may wake up one morning only to realize that the people you would take a bullet for are the ones very willing to pull the trigger, a dispiriting and very humiliating experience—if you are giving it your best shot like I said above. At this point, however much it hurts, you may need to be your greatest hero and tell yourself these words that I have found handy the last two years of fatherhood: “I am a temporary broke dad. I will not offer what I can’t afford but I will always try to be in my kid’s life”—if you are brave enough to admit it, your life may solely depend on it since suicidal thoughts tend to keep crossing your troubled mind riddled with humiliation after another. The liberating thing here is that this all keeps making it crystal clear to me in ways nothing else possibly ever would that God’s ultimate goal for me isn’t comfort but rather character development.
The 1000th Humiliation: forever going to be a dad, and; not sure of the ending.
As I said earlier in the fathers’ day note, I pray my son grows up to judge my life’s role fairly. Between now and when Shane turns into an adult, I am going to have to continue being the best version of me, in all circumstances. That’s not overly bad thing just that along this line comes some mind bobbling pressures. When Shane’s mother was in her second trimester, I read E.R.HULL’s book, THE FORMATION OF A CHARACTER; a book that beautifully instructs how to raise a boy child into a respectable gentleman. When I considered writing this piece, I went back to it to fetch some words that would best describe me if you haven’t been in the cave, on pg.21 (163) he writes:
“The life of a man of character is a decided unity—something knit firmly together into a consistent whole;—not rigid or unrealistic necessarily but still a unified structure. The man of character has his impulses, and his circumstances too, both of which try to dominate him just as in case of the “other fellow”. But his attitude towards both is different. It is the attitude of a master, not a slave—a dominating,ruling,directing attitude, which uses both impulses and circumstances as amenable to his own purpose, and makes them his tools. There is a calculation, deliberateness about him which the creature without character has not got. He may be a good man or a bad man, but he will be masterfully good or bad. He may indulge his evil impulses as the “other fellow does”; but if so, it is with deliberation and set purpose. He may also restrain his impulses; but if so, this may not be out of a weak fear of being caught, or a dread or unpleasant consequences, but out of deliberate policy and set purpose, because he has an object in view. In other words, the man of character is a man not ruled by impulse and circumstances but by internal motives—in short, his life is dominated by principles. These principles may be good or bad, right or wrong. But there they are; and it is due to their presence that he is what he is, and consistently what he is.That is what we mean by a man of character”.
My dear struggling dads that identify with my story, read with me: “Be silly. Be fun. Be different. Be crazy. Be you, because life is too short to be anything but happy”. Stay blessed, Grace AbahoSr: INDEPENDENT BLOGGER