What you need to know:
- I've never put unrealistic academic expectations on my daughter.
- I've always reassured her that I'm proud of her, regardless.
I have a soundtrack for every season of my life. The soundtracks vibrate through different subplots of my life; mountains, valleys of the shadow of death or plateaus.
I can put one song on repeat, for moons and noons on end, as my creative crusher goes on overdrive, breaking down every lyric and ad-lib down to its musical molecule.
For the past six weeks, my soundtrack has been "Jireh" by Maverick Music and Elevation Worship. The lead vocalists, Naomi Rainey and Chandler Moore, have not only ushered me into God's throne but, unbeknownst to them, ministered to me on how to be a better father.
That's the multi-revelational and epiphany nature of God-ordained worship music, which oozes straight from the heart of Jesus to our panting souls. It's like a bulb onion. Each time you listen, God peels off more layers, causing you to shed uncontrollable tears at the myriad mysterious portals that are being unveiled. At times, if need be, these hot tears scald the scales in one's eyes.
My daughter sat for her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams this year. The opening lyrics of "Jireh" have been ministering to me about my role as a father, and how to respond to seemingly life-changing examination results.
These opening lyrics are just what God ordered for this subplot of my life: "I'll never be more loved than I am right now/Wasn't holding You up so there's nothing I can do to let You down/It doesn't take a trophy to make you proud."
I've never put unrealistic academic expectations on my daughter. She's a bright girl. Yeah, I want my daughter to do better. Always. I know she's got the potential. But? I've always reassured her that I'm proud of her, regardless.
Our children need such reassurances, especially at such a time as this when depression is on the rise among a younger demographic.
My daughter passed her KCPE exams. Being in a private school, the government docked her tens of marks to, ostensibly, be at par with their peers in public schools. Although this drastic measure meant that my daughter fell short of the marks she'd set to achieve, I want her to know that she wasn't holding me up, so there's absolutely nothing she can do to put me down. I want her to see that it doesn't take 400 marks to make me proud.
Recently, I started speaking to my daughter about boys. It's a complicated conversation, especially for an African father to have with his teen daughter. Traditionally, such discussions are left to mothers and aunts. But this is 2021.
Social media has popped opened so many trap doors, and men can't afford to delegate this important task. If we do, life will chew up our children, and spit them out in scores of unrecognisable pieces. We must be the "door-keepers".
Part of being a door-keeper is teaching our children that God loves them, and we do, too; and making them know that there is no vacuum in their life that someone or a substance will come in to fill. It's letting them know that they'll never be loved more than they are right now.
Period. Because, if they get it twisted that someone who's just come into their life loves them more than they're loved right now, that person automatically becomes their god. When that god leaves, all hell breaks lose, sometimes with, God forbid, tragic consequences.
Men, our work's cut out. Let's do this.