Grandpa, how did daddy become great?
This is a line in Fidelity Bank’s Always Always advert, which, in my view, is one of the greatest ads ever produced for television. On occasion, Coca Cola ads come close. Very close to being awesome.
Set on the backyard of a house that overlooks a river and a city; a grandfather peruses through a magazine called Business. Playing close to the river is the old man’s grandson, whose father’s photo appears on the magazine cover.
Anyone who tells you fatherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to you, they are understating it.
Many sons and daughters have lived to tell the tales of their fathers. It’s a moment of pride and satisfaction when a father watches a fruit of his seed, the one that out-swam the rest, blossom into a beautiful human being with sound principles and impeccable character.
We all, for certain, want to be great fathers, like the father of that boy in that awesome ad. We want our kids to see us as a destination. We want them to know that after God and Jesus, we come next in that chain of command.
What do you want to be, child?
I want to be a writer or a photographer or a surgeon or an engineer. Your child will shoot, excitedly.
We may never admit it, but this isn’t the answer our hearts desire. `
I want to be like you, dad, is the answer we seek. But they never say it, and each damn time they don’t, our hearts are broken. Our egos are ripped apart; shot down to a fundamental level.
Nothing quite prepares you for fatherhood. While society has average estimations of a man who is adult enough to raise a family, it no doubt plays down the bits and pieces that go into building a father. Society has rigged us all in into a false philosophy; that the hallmark of a great man and father is being in the news, appearing in magazine covers or breaking into top 40 men at 40 piffle.
Fatherhood means much more than planting seed. It means much more than putting a couple of storeys over your kids’ heads, and a fence that purrs electricity around them. Fatherhood means seeking Christ and doing God. It means dreaming in a hopeless world. It means going on your knees to seek God’s wisdom and blessing. It means leading your family to Church and showing them the path to Christ. It means holding your kids, even when they are a few minutes old, slippery and fresh. It means not being afraid to show your imperfections, because in our imperfections kids learn people are not defined by flaws, but by their deeds.
Fatherhood means living for the truth. Fatherhood means accepting failures and disappointments. Fatherhood means standing up, even when life pulls you down. Fatherhood; fatherhood has no definite reach. Fatherhood is a voyage around a shoreless sea. Fatherhood is such an endless journey, that even death – the grim reaper that connects humans with mortality in no certain terms – doesn’t spell an end to it. Even from amongst the soil, our fathers live on, ever so inspiring us in ways we can’t count.
Image source: Ruth Usher.