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I have a friend. We met during NYSC camp. My friend is tall and pleasant to the eyes. We were always standing next to each other because the soldiers on the parade ground will insist we line up according to our heights. He is the ladies' guy, very funny and generous. We started chatting one afternoon and we instantly became very close.
We left camp and we continued to be great friends. I really like him. There was nothing not to like. He likes me too. He will travel to Lagos to spend time at my home. He is always fun to be with. My friend had abundant supply of girls. I got married. He continued to focus on his career. Honestly, I really admire him. He is the guy that doesn't get angry or tensed. He carried so much joy and peace around him. He helps everyone within his circle. My friend is a great guy. Then in his company I visited his parents in the village ...
I met his Dad. I was blown away. My friend's charm is not anywhere near his sweet Dad's. His Dad will hand wash his mum clothes while the woman attended to her other businesses. He did that for years. He'll drive her to church for Good Women's Fellowship meetings and sit patiently in the car in the parking lot for hours. My friend's Dad was ostracised by the entire village because he left the Catholic Church for a pentecostal one and the village chiefs got NEPA to disconnect their family home from the grid as punishment. This man will still greet everyone in the community with a smile, he will crack jokes using his predicament as plot and himself as main character. They are Igbo. Oh I love that man. The Yoruba boy in me will want to prostrate to greet him and before I could bend down, he'll rush at me with a hug, telling me the ground is dirty, I shouldn't touch it. He remembers my kids by name and will always send them goodies. His table had his books and bible. He's never far away from those. The drama between himself and his wife is what I enjoyed the most. He is never angry. He always finds a way to make her happy even when she's deliberately looking for his trouble. The kids will tell the man, "you're the one spoiling her". He'll ignore them and sing for his firebrand wife. elegant dresses for wedding guests
Life happened. Lagos took it's toll. My friend and I haven't seen in a while until last week when we met in Ibadan. Though he's now married with a daughter. He has not changed a bit. He was telling me about the drama of married life and all the complications of marrying the kind of lady he did. Though what he was describing wasn't funny, he found a way to make it funny. We laughed and hugged each other. It was like old times.
Why am I telling this story? I learned a lesson from my friend and his Dad. Fathers will always be the biggest influence on their children. Fathers impact their kids in very deep immeasurable ways. My friend was just like his Dad. He saw life through the lenses of his Dad. Unconsciously he always asks himself, "what will my Dad do in this circumstance" and he does same. This lesson has put an extra layer of responsibility on me. A responsibility to be an awesome role model for my kids and other kids around.
I've been asking myself, do I have enough peace in me to pass on to others? Am I content enough that I'm not flustered by life? Am I consumed with so much joy that it's impossible for my kids not to be joyful themselves as adults?
If you have a child, parenting must be at the core of your purpose. That's why we must be deliberate. That's why we must fight for them. We must be aware. We must be present. For those of us who have made mistakes in the past, we must start retracing our steps today by correcting the evils in our tracks. I don't know how it happens but it does happen that our kids mirror our successes. May we have enough of those such that our errors are not noticed. Give the best version of yourself to your kids. Be true to them and they will carry the torch to the next generation.