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Fathering powerfully or powerlessly

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Charles Ighele

Children do not have respect for weak people. In fact, children tend to gravitate towards seeking the friendship and approval of stronger children or more intelligent children. Children try to make a mess of weak children, but stand in awe of strong ones.

This is the same attitude children display towards their parents. They have no respect for a father or mother they think is weak but are full of reverence for those who are strong.

Children who watch cartoons have good and sweet memories of strong and powerful cartoon figures while they make fun of weak cartoon figures such as “Courage the Cowardly Dog.” They disdain them.

In fathering your children, you can either choose to daddy them powerfully or powerlessly. You can decide to drop your authority as a daddy or kindly but fully use your authority as a daddy. But as someone made me realise many years ago, authority has no vacuum. The extent to which you drop it is the extent to which it would be picked and used against you.

God is proud of strong but kind father figures as can be seen from what He (God) said about Abraham in Genesis 18:19, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”

In Genesis 26:34 and 35, after Esau’s marriage to Judith became a source of sorrow instead of joy, Isaac’s wife by name Rebecca complained to her husband about the agony of seeing her other son Jacob getting married to a similar girl that could cause her sorrow.

On hearing his wife’s complaint, Isaac swung into action. He decided to exercise his power as a father over his son, Jacob’s marital life by telling him, “You will not marry from among these Canaanite with whom we live,” Genesis 28:1-3.

The twelve sons of Jacob and his only daughter Diana were a handful for Jacob. Fathering them was not easy at all. But after Diana, his daughter had been raped; he decided to put his foot down to maintain law and order for which his grand-father, Abraham and his father Isaac were known. Therefore, in Genesis 35:2-6, he ordered to throw away anything in their possession that did not bring glory to God.

He ordered them to change their clothes and stop wearing earrings. Genesis 35:4 says, “And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hands, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob buried them under the Aok tree near Shechem.” What a day in the life of that family. Jacob decided to be strong. He decided to provide leadership for his family the way God wanted him to.

But in 1 Samuel chapters 3 and 4, we find another father who choose to father in a powerless manner. His name is Eli, a priest of God. His two sons who were also pastors under him were committing adultery and also misbehaving all over the place, but he was powerless before them.

The result was that Eli, his two sons and his daughter-in-law died the same day Israel was defeated in battle by their enemies and the Ark of God was taken.

If you want your children to have good and sweet memories of you, choose to be loving, understanding but benevolently powerful.

The making of an orderly, strong and civilised nation starts from how the families that make up the nation are parented. I pray that Nigerian fathers and mothers will rise up to build their marriages and families as God would want it done in heaven. Love you.


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Charles Ighele
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