The joy of every child is to have pleasant and fond memories of moments shared with dad. Every child sees their dad as a superhero and equate them to their favorite characters from comic novels.
I am lucky. I count myself fortunate. I grew up under my father’s tutelage. Every child’s first teacher is the parents. It is not the bonding but the secure attachment that they provide that endear us to them (our parents). Not all grew up with their fathers. Some lost their fathers to death and others by their dads walking away when they were born. Others simply lost their dads because their moms refused to let them see their dads. Drugs and crime separated fathers from their children.
But in the absence of a father, there must be a father figure. When I was growing up, my father taught me to wash my hands well so as to be able to eat with my elders. ( African proverb). He taught me the qualities to look for and how best to present myself so as to seek guidance and direction. Father figures are beyond mentors. So when Dad was alive, I had uncles and yes father figures. They would easily treat me as their own.
Then he died. He left us after being sick for sometime. Some of the father figures evaporated overnight and some of the uncles just got lost. A vacuum was created. It is only when you lose your dad that you realize your foolhardiness in not listening to his advice.
Fortunately, a father figure filled the vacuum. Even as I travelled and domiciled in a foreign land, I sought and always found these father figures. Father figures need not be of your race or color. Father figures need to understand and guide you. Father figures do not find you; you find them and they in turn latch unto you. Father figures provide love and instill confidence. Even as you become a father today, take someone less fortunate under your wing and guide same.
In the absence of a father, one can always seek a father figure who though not providing the same intimacy as a dad, will provide an invaluable assistance that will shape and mould one into a better person.