Time for fathers to rise up

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 17 August 2016, 12:00AM

And so here we are today. Father’s Day has come and gone. In Samoa and in some other countries near and far, fathers were honoured right across the board when the nation paid tribute to their role in the families. 

In the scriptures, parents are identified as the glory of their children. It means that quite often, a father is his son’s first hero, and his daughter’s first love. 

That’s true in many ways in this country. 

Although we accept that there are exceptions in some families where fathers have been absent, it has to be said that fatherhood matters. The quality of which can determine the outcome of a family, especially the children.  

Just like how we praise the role of mothers in raising families, fathers have an equally important role. They have a responsibility to lead their families.

In a Christian country like Samoa, we know fathers are ordained leaders.

Whether you agree or not, the Bible clearly states that he is the head of the family. Which means that as the leader, he has a responsibility to shape the future of his children through his vision, foresight and actions.

Indeed, we live in a world where the notion that leaders lead by example is strongly upheld and respected. Which means that as leaders, fathers exist to inspire their followers through their examples and wise decision-making. 

In other words, they must set examples for their children and people to follow so that they do not go astray.

But that doesn’t always happen. And looking at our world today, it must be said that many of us as fathers have failed to inspire our followers. We have failed to inspire our wives and children and the result is obvious. 

We don’t need to tell you about what is happening in Samoa today with all these social problems.

What we do want to say is that the social problems of today demand fathers to rise up and claim their rightful place. We are talking about their role to instill values, ethics and principles in their children. They are to articulate vision and good scholarship so that when their children grow up they will never stray from it.

When we pause for a moment to reflect on challenges such as youth misbehavior, gangs and so forth, they are a reflection of a dysfunctional society where fathers have failed. These children are lacking identity and they are looking for somewhere to belong. Where are their fathers? What have they been doing? Why are they not calling them in, sitting them down and helping them grow up to fulfill their true potential in life?

Let’s be reminded here and now that these children first and foremost belong to parents. They are members of families, villages, churches and the bigger picture is that they are children of God. Indeed, they are children of the most high God and they should behave like it.

And if fathers are struggling to fulfill their roles, look no further than the example set by God in dealing with his son Jesus Christ. The father loved him first and foremost. And as the son, Jesus Christ obeyed to the point that it cost him his life. 

What that tells us is that before anything, as fathers we have a responsibility to love our children regardless of the circumstances. It through that love that we will win their hearts, which inevitably opens the door to allow us to influence, inspire and motivate them to be the best they can be. 

Sometimes all they need to hear is for us to tell them we love them. In a society like Samoa, that is hard sometimes. We are not known for being openly affectionate with our children. But then perhaps that needs to change.

The Bible speaks of the need for fathers to affirm their children. Even Jesus Christ was affirmed by his father when he said that “this is my son in whom I am well pleased.” So don’t be shy to affirm your children in front of people. It’s okay, it’s not a crime. A hug is free, a smile is priceless and being made to feel loved is the most wonderful feeling in the world. 

A number of studies have shown the key role fathers play in the development of children, particularly daughters, into healthy, confident, secure and productive citizens. But we say that fathers have an importance that extends far beyond the occasionally stereotypes we dust off every Father’s Day. That is they were ordained by God to be his image in the eyes of the children.

In times like now, the need to stand together and strengthen the bonds of families is imperative. Let us not just sit back and allow the problems we see today to destroy our community and what God intended for us to have.

Today, we have our Constitution in which  secured our freedoms and our human rights and yes, we also have a responsibility to one another, which is the inalienable knot that is binding our unity tightly.

And with that unity and the belief in fairness and equality for all, we may not be able to tackle all the challenges confronting us but we can, at least, help one another build strong foundations on which we can live happy and meaningful lives. Have an awesome week Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 17 August 2016, 12:00AM

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