Fathers, teach your sons well

2011-03-02 00:00

I WAS fortunate to attend a local municipal integrated development plan (IDP) meeting where there was a presentation by a young female constable who spoke about women and child abuse. As I listened to her and tried to understand the objective of the campaign, I was shocked by the silence in the hall that met her presentation. It was as though the audience was completely ignorant of the concern. A large part of women and child abuse is perpetrated by men and seeing a young woman talking to men about this issue was sobering.

For every little boy growing up, regardless of the circumstances and the provisions or the lack thereof to which he is exposed, there is a man inside. For every son, there is a father, an uncle, a brother, a male cousin or a grandfather who should provide support in his growing years.

With all due respect to the female constable who gave the talk, I feel that women and child abuse will never end until men stand up and take their rightful places within themselves, in their minds, in their homes and in society. Good men, real fathers, grey-headed noble men across all races, cultures and generations will agree when I say that a real man is a provider, a builder, he is responsible and he is a protector. When a man brings up a son in this world, it remains that man's responsibility to nurture his son, encourage him, love him, father him, harness and channel his energy. He must teach him about the ways of life, help him discover who he is in relation to other people, to women and children and steer him into proper manhood.

I believe that for every child you bring into the world, you are, to a large extent, responsible for their actions and what they become until the child reaches a reasonable age. To every wayward male — where is the father, the uncle, the brother, the grandfather and the support that should have steered him in the right direction in terms of sustaining and strengthening society?

It is not the cruelty of wayward men that destroys society, but rather the silence of good men. Women and child abuse will last until good men stand up and say "enough is enough" and take authority in taking chaos back to order, in teaching sons the roles and the responsibilities of a man in the house, in the neighbourhood, in society and in life. Women and children, children whom we bring into the world through these women we love as our mothers, wives and sisters, are crying, suffering and confused and men are responsible.

A man will spend time and take pride in teaching his son how to ride a bicycle, drive a car, ride a horse and how to take charge of oxen in ploughing fields, but he will never take a moment to teach his son how to treat women and how to protect children. A man always knows where his car is and how much money he has, yet he doesn't always know where his son is or what he is doing. A man will mend his fence so his that a vicious dog does not hurt people, but he will do nothing to control his son who is hurting people. You must be responsible for those you bring into the world.

To all the women and children — there are bad men out there, but not all men are bad. To sons — if your father is abusive, it is not right and it is not fair so please do not carry this on down the family tree. Do not become a tool for passing generational curses. Stop it.

To all the men — please change. Bring an end to this chaos­. Bring order to your mind first, then to your conduct and then your house. If you can control chaos in your house, then there is hope for your neighbourhood, for your township or settlement and for the city, too. If you can change the city, there is hope for the district and gradually for the province, then the country will follow and the continent too and the finally the world. The abuse of women and children is a global concern, but it starts with you and your house, and there is hope.

After reading this, do not wonder who I am or try to find me, find yourself. It's not about me, it's about the message. Know who you are in relation to others, especially women and children across all races and ages, and above all understand and accept who you are in relation to God, because believe it or not, God is watching.

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