“I expect a gift on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.”
Those of us who were raised by single mothers have probably heard this before. Most folks would agree that the weight on the shoulders of a single mother is heavier than any human being.
Imagine being the caretaker, the cook, the disciplinarian, the counselor, the breadwinner, the pastor and the teacher. That’s asking a bit much. It’s a job for multiple people – a team or a small village, yet so often, these roles are carried out by one person.
In this example, it is a female who was not created to carry such a load. This is a small tribute to those mothers who are also “manning” the role of a father. Here’s to you! Song dedication: “Dear Mama (You are Appreciated),” by Tupac Shakur.
As we approach this weekend that honors fathers, I am reminded of the idea of the value of an inheritance versus a legacy. In a sense that’s not monetary, we need to examine the value of what type of legacy a father should prepare for his children.
Maybe we can start by first asking, what is it that you will inherit from your father? Is it land, property, a business or money? Is there a certain cultural characteristic, work ethic, certain talents or skills?
The definition of inheritance is: All or part of a person’s estate/assets that is given to an heir once the person is deceased. A legacy is defined as the passing on of characteristics and heritage from parents. Based on the above definitions, what is more valuable, an inheritance or a legacy? Eventually, money of any amount will run out. However, a legacy in this context can be everlasting.
This raises an even more profound question to a father. What are you doing to secure a quality future for your offspring? Have you established a trust fund that will grow interest over the years? You could leave them a fortune that could be blown in a short period of time if they are not trained to be financially responsible. Is it wise to simply provide for their needs but not provide them with the tools necessary to eventually provide for themselves? I like the biblical-related illustration that says, “Don’t just feed your son; teach him to fish . . . .”
One of the best investments is to give them your most valuable possession, which is . . . you. Don’t just spend money, spend time. Don’t just tell them what is right or wrong, show them by providing a solid foundation of good morals and ethics.
A friend of mine shared with me how the fine examples you show your child is like a bank deposit you make that will earn interest over time. You may not witness the benefits until years later. I often question my own integrity as a father. Am I spending too much time outside the home? Am I being too ambitious with career objectives? Have I invested the same amount of time and energy with each of my children? We are often overzealous with our first child and not as enthusiastic with your last.
A highly effective father will establish a healthy balance in how he prioritizes his time. There are some men who believe that as long as they are providing financial support, they are doing enough and are meeting their parental obligations. Without providing quality time, proper guidance, influence, affection, discipline and emotional support, you are falling short of your responsibility as a father, and in most cases this puts an additional burden on the mother, forcing her to your job.
Deon Price is an author and youth life skills coach who lives in Fairfield. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/youthgeneration.