It's hard to be a real man

As a member of the male species I sometimes wonder why some of my fellow beings are found wanting when it comes to performing their paternal duties. I've made my own conclusion- it's hard being a man and harder to be a good father.

If men were blessed with the instinct to automatically become good dads and loyal partners the world would be full of happy kids and fulfilled mamas.

But what is a real man?

I'm not referring to a dictionary's definition of a man: An adult person who is male. There is nothing difficult about that. My idea of a real man is a male adult who is strong, focused, protective, respectful and caring to his family. A real man makes a good father.

Our perceptions of manhood and fatherhood are shaped by the role models in our lives- our fathers, uncles, male teachers and so on. Unfortunately many a role model has done a shoddy job. It's hard for a boy to develop into a real man or a good father when he lacks influential role models in his life.

Breaking bad habits

A boy who witnesses the men in his world mistreating women and children may associate fatherhood and manhood with violence. He may grow up into an abusive adult. Similarly if his father never helps out in the home (choosing instead to always sit in front of the TV) the boy may view women as servants who are there to make life comfortable for men.

I've met fathers who give their sons the impression that helping out in the house is unmanly. To break this cycle a mother should ensure that the boy child is given household chores such as cleaning up and cooking. She’ll be doing her son and her future daughter-in-law a favour.

Every adult male should be aware of the positive or negative influence he has on the young males in his sphere of influence. Real men set good examples and help in shaping young males into responsible men.

It’s even harder for some adult males to act like real men when they become unwilling fathers. When a man engages in a baby making activity for pleasure and a baby results, he should be man enough to perform his paternal duties. Real men, who find themselves as unmarried dads, step up to their responsibilities: paying child support, visiting their child regularly and being involved in their child's life.

Single mamas can help their child’s father to become a good daddy by granting them access to their kids. To become a good papa, a man needs to bond with his child. The writer, Frederick Buechner expressed it well when he wrote: “When a child is born, a father is born. A mother is born, too of course, but at least for her it's a gradual process.

Body and soul, she has nine months to get used to what's happening.

She becomes what's happening. But for even the best-prepared father, it happens all at once. On the other side of a plate-glass window, a nurse is holding up something roughly the size of a loaf of bread for him to see for the first time.”

As men let's help our babies' mamas raise the children we helped bring into this world. Only then can we proudly carry ourselves and say: "We are real men."

Do you agree with Sipho? Do you think it’s possible for good men to be good fathers?
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