It feels auspicious that Father’s Day and Youth Day fall in the same week this year. With so many challenges facing young people these days, the best gift they could get is a dad who is present to guide and support them.
Yet, sadly, a survey of urban working households conducted by the Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor found that half the mothers in the country were raising their children on their own, and 12% received any regular financial support from the fathers.
If you are a dad, take this time to reflect on your role in your child’s life and think about what you could be doing for them to provide for a better future.
What letter could you write to your child today to tell them about the future you have planned? Here is a letter a father should be able to write to his child on Father’s Day in celebration of Youth Day:
My dearest child,
You are the most important person in the world to me and I want you to grow up in a better world with more opportunities than I had. This is what all parents strive for – for our children to stand on our shoulders and to pass on that legacy to future generations.
To achieve this, I have worked hard to make sure that my own finances are in as healthy a state as possible, given my means. I have also made provision for your future should I not be around to watch you grow up.
If, however, I reach a ripe old age and get to enjoy my time with my grandchildren, I also want to ensure that you do not have to worry too much about your old dad when you are struggling to meet mortgage repayments and educate your own children.
For that reason, I have put the following in place:
. I have sufficient life cover so that, if I pass away or am unable to work due to a disability or an illness, your education will be paid for;
. From when you were a baby, I started putting money away each month for your education. By starting to save early, even the small amount I put away each month has grown into a reasonable amount so that I do not have to borrow money to help you finish your studies; and
. I continue to save for my retirement. This has not always been easy and I had to avoid the temptation of cashing in my pension when I changed jobs. But the money is there and will be available to you should I leave this world earlier than expected.
I have made sacrifices for you, taking on extra work where possible and never buying that luxury car that I have always dreamt of, knowing it would cost me more than I could justify. It is also why I said “no” to the many things you wanted. I needed to put your future first.
As much as I have made sacrifices, I also want you to know that I have plans of my own for my future.
I will support you through your education, but if you mess around and do not respect the money I have spent, you will pay for your own tertiary education. My sacrifices have been an investment in you to grow, not to squander.
I also expect you to find student jobs and pay your own expenses. I am not going to be an ATM for your cellphone data and designer shoes. I will not be financially supporting you after the age of 25.
By then, you would have received sufficient education and support to stand on your own two feet. I will always be there for you as your father, but it is then that my job as your banker and financier comes to an end.
The role of a parent is not only to support our children, but also to raise responsible adults. And I hope I do that as successfully as I have provided for your future.
Always, your dad