Earth, fire, water and air are the four elements of nature. The balance of those four elements within mankind can lead to a sustainable environment where peace and healthy living can reign supreme. But what about a household without a father?
The role of a father is extremely important to a young boy. I grew up not knowing who my father was until I was eleven years old. The negative effect of the absence of my father was lessened due to the fact that my maternal grandfather, an Anglican clergyman, took over this role. I can still hear kids from my West African countryside town ask me “where is your father?” My ready-made answer was always that my father lived in the big city.
The role my grandfather played in my life was enormous to say the least. For I was never made to feel different from his children whom I was within the same age range with his three last born. When I finally saw my dad for the first time I knew immediately who he was. That aspect of seeing him for the first time and knowing who he was still surprised me. But our relationship did not click. The emotional involvement of a father in a child’s life was upstaged by my grandfather. My father tried all he could to take me away. My grandfather was willing to let me go, but at that tender age in my life, the foundation of my life revolved around what was already laid.
For those of us who experience the profound presence of a father or a father figure during our upbringing might take it with a grain of salt. However, there are lessons that can only be taught by fathers. The father is the number one influencer of a child, especially a male child. The involvement of my grandfather right from the day I was born had the greatest impact in my upbringing. It enabled me, since I was a child, to be emotionally secure; it gave me as a child and adult, a sense of belonging. And, his leadership as father, created in me the spirit of curiosity and adventure that would later help me in being an effective father to my children.
With what I learned from my grandfather, as a guiding light, I have tried, knowing I am not a perfect being, to create an environment where love reigns. In creating a loving and caring environment, my kids are able to respond to other discipleship elements, which without love cannot sustain themselves on their own. Kids will not respond when you ask them to join in prayer if the household lacks the element of love. With love as the sustaining element, just like earth, fire, water and air, as the elements that sustain our existence as mankind, I am able, as a dad, to be a role model to my children, a mentor who my kids emulate.
It is not then unimaginable to wonder what it would be like in a household without a father or a father figure to guide a male child as he prepares for life.