In the book, Barack Obama and the Politics of Redemption, Stanley Renshon describes how Barack Obama worried he would fail as his father had.
Mr Obama’s worry was not far-fetched. Despite his education, brilliance and opportunities, fate conspired to drive the senior Obama into alcoholism, eventually dying in a car accident in 1982, a bitter and disgruntled man.
Some may argue that the senior Obama did not play much of a role in his famous son’s life, having left him at age two, but truth is children become what their parents leave in them. Parents impart not just their genes to their children, but confidence, self-belief, inner strength, appreciation of beauty and respect for humanity as well.
This means a child raised by ordinary parents can rise to extraordinary heights, beyond their parent’s wildest imagination.
Parents have a divine responsibility to bring up giants of men and women, not pimps and sissies.
Perhaps if the future could be revealed to parents so they see how their children will turn out, they would work harder to get a desirable outcome.
Why is it that young people seem not to turn out right anymore? Why are men not stepping up into their roles as heads of families and as leaders? Why are grown up men living with their mothers when they should be running their own homes?
We simply got too busy to play our parental roles effectively.
To beat traffic and arrive at work in time, parents leave at dawn when children are still asleep. They return late at night, having stayed in traffic for hours to find children already slept. Essentially, parents are not raising their children.
Kids are raising themselves with little support from “house managers”, Television and other electronic gadgets. I remember planting some tree seedlings on my village farm years ago. When I returned a year later, I found some had dried up due to lack of water.
A few others were eaten by goats and sheep, a good percentage grew, but were unshapely and needed trimming.
It is the same thing with children. Parents have to be present. They have to spend quality time together. They need to talk and pray together. And, of course, a father must be present to teach his sons how to be a man and to demonstrate to his daughters what a real man looks like.
The other gap in modern parenting is the emergence of electronic gadgets such as television, phones, Ipads name them. Now, don’t get me wrong. Technology is good. It has aided our lives in so many ways than we imagined only a few decades ago. The problem is that we have allowed technology to take over our lives.
Time was when children played football in dilapidated pitches and returned home dirty to warm meals cooked by their mother. Now children spend time watching television and playing games on electronic gadgets. Often, the parents are not even aware of what their children are consuming.
We are exposing them to a lifestyle which will eventually destroy them and we simply not there to offer guidance. More importantly, quality family time has been taken over by technology. Instead of talking over a meal, every family member is busy on phone or watching TV.
Family makes communities. Communities make a nation. When we get it wrong at the family level, we can never get it right as a community and as nation. We have to retrace our paths.