Most Fathers Are Just Husbands

Not all husbands are fathers. That a man gave birth to a child legitimately
or illegitimately does not make him a father. The man could be awesome, he
could have all the aspects that are associated with men, but he is not a
father; he could acquire all the property and money in the world, yet he is
not a father.

As a child, you wouldn’t understand your father better till you are of the
age of wisdom and reasoning. At that toddler’s age all you do is look up to
your father, who commands you and gives you assignments to do, but without
any sense of direction of where he wants you to be in life.

Many homes are like this! He allows you to just grow-up and succeed the way
your peers are succeeding or do things the way of your peers. Whether good
or bad, he does not care to know; all he wants to hear or know is that you
have succeeded at last.

In his estimation he has the belief that your future depends on you. Even
when he is financially rich, he prefers the money in his hands at the
moment than your future, because the future he knows is just the immediate.

Some might say that this is just sheer ignorance or wickedness, but
whatever it is. He finds it hard to spend the money even when you are
hitting your head on the ground that he should help you to higher school
after your primary or perhaps secondary school, which you were the mock of
the time in your class, because of the molestations you did not enjoy due
to the incessant fees you were unable to pay, the patch-patch school wears
you wore to school and all that.

He will not even send you to go learn handiwork or trade. Yet, you love him
as a kid. But when you are of age and begin to remember where you are
supposed to be had it been that he assisted you when your peers were being
assisted by their fathers, that childhood love you had for him would begin
to dwindle, would begin to wane, would begin to vanish and, whether you
have a father, it would not be waxing passionately in your heart, as it
used to wax when you were a kid.

The politics he played in raising you up would begin to glare in your own
eyes, in your memory and, most times you are depressed, because you trusted
your father, because that religion or that culture and tradition
indoctrinated in you to love and reverence your father.

It was per second sermon that you do just that, but it was not per week or
month or year sermon to your father that he should not provoke his children
to anger.

As you are growing and he is aging, your love for him (out of anger) would
begin to grow old, while his love for you would begin to grow very strong,
because he is realizing the mistakes he had made. He wants love now; the
same love he did not show to you as a kid. The house you lived in with him
was like a military quarter.

In those days, you get the beating you deserved and you did not deserve per
second from him. When you remember your house while with your peers, you
would not like to come back to your house, you would want to commit
suicide, you would want to disown your father, and you would want to elope…
You are always troubled, you are always angry and all that.

Your mother is the submissive mother who cannot ‘challenge’ the husband,
which is not rather bad. Your mother is only bent just on advise that he
assists his children. But he is the man of the house, who does not want to
be challenged, who does not want to hear the contrary voice of his children
to his; what he says is final and no one challenges it, no one dares.

Yes, he only remembers that he is your father when you have started to
succeed in life, begin to make money and marry and went to higher school
and begin to do those things that were his responsibilities he blatantly
shied away from, you see him coming closer to you and making boasts among
his peers of how he ‘trained’ his son to become who he has become.

Sorry, if you do not want to set your eyes on him at this period that
providence is making you to succeed, you would see your mother coming to
plead on his behalf for you to forgive him; your mother he severally
molested and scolded when she was advising him that he should assist his

And if you harden your heart, you would hear your mother preaching that
‘Jesus forgave all the people that offended Him’ as if your father was not
the first to preach Jesus to you but preferred to draw the shoddy line he
seemed was the best in raising you up, as if Jesus was from your village,
your town.

The memory of how your father treated you keeps living with you. If you do
not begin to read books that could expunge the scars from your heart, mind
and life you could be volatile and unloving all your life, you could hate
humanity all your life, because you did not experience love in your
immediate home, you did not know that which were supposed to be the
responsibilities of a father.

All that you grew up seeing was a man who was always scolding you and
barking at you without any sense of friendship existing between you and
him. You have never had any discussion with him as a father. He is not your
enemy and not your friend. Most times you tried to relate with him, ended
up in fierce reprisals and reprimands.

Conversely, for those of you who are suffering or have suffered in the
hands this type of father, Jonathan Safran Foer gives you hope in ‘Extremely
Loud and Incredibly Close’ thus: He promised us that everything would be
okay. I was a child, but I knew that everything would not be okay. That did
not make my father a liar. It made him my father.

Written by
Odimegwu Onwumere
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