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Keeping fatherhood in Christmas

By Richard Thompson

Looking back over the years, my adulthood has always challenged my true self-worth, whether I was a sales representative, manager, or director. I cherished family life as I matured into a man and eventually a proud father.

My brothers, my parents, and my life, have been good to me, even with hardships. Sickness, health, success, failures—all meant so much in shaping my character, my strength in becoming a leader, but most of all my love for being a father.

What I have found to be constant is the importance of spirituality, kindness, and true fatherhood, understanding why our sons and daughters need the same human spirit as we all do, even though they seem more concerned with playfulness and friendship, all of which appear to be something we let go as we get older.

Adulthood tends to see unimportant attributes such as colour and social inadequacies, and now favours social media value –who we appear to be online versus who we really are. If we choose an opinion online, it seems to affect our ‘followers’ regardless of whether they share our family values.

When Covid-19 became a reality, the fear of dying somehow manifested into a paradox of beliefs. Some say almost an anomaly, or an inconsistency of views emerged in this ‘new way of life’, what separates us as brothers and sisters under God.

Many have lost loved ones and still do, which pains everyone and makes us question our faith. Our love for happiness and cherishing the Christmas Spirit is difficult and almost awkward.

I’m aware of family feuds, friendships ending and even banter online that creates discourse, rage, and a new wave of hate. We as fathers need to stop this from happening and use our leadership in a more effective way. We need to ask ourselves, ‘Is it social media that has changed our lives?’; ‘Are we really the vaccinated vs the unvaccinated, the responsible vs the irresponsible?’

Questions that never existed in society are now being asked. Why should they during a pandemic that has no disparity in infection?

One thing is for certain, this year has changed us, and our kids are noticing. What we preach now during this turmoil, is what our kids will remember and build on. Our anger will affect their outcome in five years, and we are foolish as parents to think differently.

I’m a father, and I hope that my father is proud of my endeavours. I’m also a leader, an uncle, a godfather, and committed friend. I’m a loving husband and my wife knows I’m not perfect in many ways. She strengthens me every day with her love and thoughtfulness and her imperfections make my life so much more enjoyable.

Now that Christmas is upon us and the birth of Christ approaches, I feel a sense of joy, of relief, even though we have lost so much. What we must do now is understand that all of this was His way of asking us to be better, closer, to return to His arms of love and allow Him back into our lives, even if we got lost for a while. God’s way is a heavenly, joyful way.

The one constant, the one message I can always live by is trust in God, no matter where life takes you. Close your eyes and He will guide you if you believe.

There is nothing easy about this path. Sometimes, I get angry with myself for taking this approach. I feel foolish; I question my folly; I even find myself in arguments with God, but I always come out the other end with more resilience, more faith, and a greater capacity to help those whom I love and those that need it the most.

What we experience here is only the beginning, be it as father, husband, or leader. This new world is only the beginning; what follows is all that really matters.