“Being a father is the most important role I will ever play and if I don’t do this well, no other thing I do really matters.” Michael Josephson
As a Nation-building Evangelist, called to evangelise the message of citizens partnering with God to build a developed Nigeria with a God culture, I have often pondered on the real hindrances to national transformation.
A lot has been said about the poor quality of our political elites who have delivered poor governance over the years. We have, in various forums, analysed the damage the military interventions have caused to our national development which also affected our personal development. Some have laid the blame on poor followership that is easily manipulated by the political elites.
As noted in my book, ‘Nation-building: How to build and sustain a developed Nigeria’, there are 3 key foundations for nation-building – Faith, Education and Family. Of these three, I believe the family is the core and most essential because development begins in the family. Besides, the quality of actors in the other two foundations is down to the quality of products from the family.
There is no greater actor in the family other than the father. I have decided to beam the searchlight on Fatherhood with a series of articles that is intended to get men to wake up to their role as heads of their families but also as pillars of society.
I believe it is pertinent to start the first part of the Fatherhood series by looking at who a godly father is and there is no better way to do this than to look at the roles of a father.
Leader: The father is the head of the family and responsible for the direction of the family. He leads (consciously and unconsciously) and the family follows.
Servant: The father is the chief servant in the home. His leadership of his home is done with a servant attitude. He serves his wife, his children and other children without fathers.
High Priest: The father leads his family before God and receives from God for his family. His fatherhood helps his children better relate with and appreciate the fatherhood of God.
Protector: He works with God to guide his family towards physical, emotional, mental and spiritual safety.
Provider: This is perhaps the most instinctive role of fathers because there is something in every man that wants to provide for the ones he loves and leads. He provides necessities and an environment for growth through love and encouragement.
Enforcer: He creates the rules; communicates the what, why and how; and disciplines when they are broken.
Counsellor: Through deliberate words and actions, a father counsels, guides, teaches and mentors his children to become effective citizens for the kingdom of God and for our nation, Nigeria.
Role Model: By virtue of his position, the father becomes a key role model for his children. A godly father is proactive to set positive modelling, recognising that children learn more by what we do than by what we say. Godly fathers model courage, compassion, responsibility, equality, ambition, liberty, enterprise and spirituality to their children.
Friend: Though not the initial role of a father, friendship does develop over the years as the children grow into the model the father seeks. This friendship makes him accessible to his children who in turn grow in confidence, trust, understanding of boundaries and what is safe. It is friendship that creates a bond which is the bridge the father crosses into the deeper spheres of the child’s life.
Nigerian fathers need to grow in this role.
Visioner: I left this till last because it is a role not usually noted and as such, we suffer the consequences in our nation. As a High Priest and leader, it is the father’s role to receive God’s vision for the family, effectively communicate this (verbally and modelling) and to digiliently implement it.
This is how fathers can use their children as weapons in God’s hands to advance the kingdom and transform nations.
Our nation is falling apart fast because we lack citizens with the right values and the right mindset to initiate and lead the change God seeks for Nigeria. It is obviously a failure of fatherhood.
Will you pray and work tenaciously to become the father who will raise the generations who will build nations?