A sentiment often captured by idioms in many African cultures reminds us that biologically fathering a child does not automatically earn one the status of fatherhood. In fact, in most countries, fatherhood evokes a strong set of values.
Fathers are loved and respected for being available and engaged with their children, for taking on the responsibility of guiding and supporting, and for their ability to listen, to provide wise counsel based on listening to their children.
But, as in many places across the world, the notion of fatherhood has gone through many changes and distortions. Restoring these positive values around fatherhood is important for children, for families, for our communities and for fathers themselves.
Across the continent there are increasing efforts to transform gender dynamics generally, and engage men in the care and protection of children in particular.
As we celebrate father’s day, we celebrate all those men in Africa, and across the world that are making a difference in the lives of children. Your presence, love, and engagement with your own children matters. When you extend that nurture to a child growing up without his or her own father, it is transformative.
Happy Father’s Day.