Being a man and being a father are two different things and involve different responsibilities. What differentiates a man from a father, and at what point do both roles intersect? What do men need to become successful parents?
Business Analyst and father, Adeeso Adetoye has this to say:
” I believe that being a man is different from being a father. The dictionary definition of man will be something like an “adult male”. I would like to think of it more from a perspective of a “successful man”. When I think of success as a man, I think of someone who is responsible, able to manage himself and contribute positively to his community. A lot goes into managing yourself as a man including emotional maturity and financial independence.
The dictionary definition of a father will be “a man who has a child”. I think the big difference between a successful man and a successful father is that a father’s life goes beyond managing himself to being responsible for his family. That responsibility includes nurturing all the members of his family (including his wife), providing for them, and helping them to become the best versions of themselves. A father’s success therefore is no longer measured by his own individual success, but by the victories and successes of the family he has nurtured. This is true for biological, adopted, and all kinds of fathers.
There are different phases in a man’s life and they require different emotional adjustments. It is different when your family is just you and your wife, to when a baby comes in, to the baby growing or having other babies. There are other complications of life that make each person’s situation different (e.g career, financial or medical issues).
For me, I have found out that transitioning to fatherhood starts with acknowledging the change, understanding the requirements of the new role and having open honest conversations with your spouse. It is also important that God can help us through these changes. I often pray to God for wisdom and strength to lead my family aright.
I will have to say being a man is probably easier. This is because you mostly need to manage yourself as a man. As a father, you have to nurture, guide, help, lead other people who are not always easy to take care of. It is similar to the difference between an individual contributor and a team leader in the corporate world.
I think there is a place in fatherhood for providing tough love (through discipline), which is often associated with masculinity. However, the focus of fatherhood remains nurturing and helping the family members to grow into their best versions. Masculinity just for the sake of being masculine can often detract from that objective. I would like to point out though, that men sometimes struggle with the softer (more emotional) side of parenting – and some of the so-called masculinity can be a mask for not knowing another way to respond to situations. The important thing is to focus on the objective, do our best, and continue to improve with God’s help.
There are times a father needs to be both masculine & fatherly towards his family. As mentioned above, there is a place in fatherhood to be firm and tough. The most common is in the place of discipline. Leaving children to themselves without adequate guidance and discipline does not help them grow into responsible adults. There are some things that a child will not want to do because “if daddy hears…”
Parents have a great influence on their children. That influence can sometimes be negative. As parents, we need to remember that our children are watching and learning from us. We need to strive to be good examples for them by exhibiting qualities that we would like them to develop, while reducing any negative habits.
What men need today to be successful in parenting?
The same things we need for most things in life – God and role models. Seeing examples of successful parents can be very helpful. Ideally, this should come from our parents but that is not always the case with everybody. It is good that we should find opportunities to be around older successful parents and learn from them.
Also, we need to realize that we don’t have to be perfect as parents. What is sometimes needed is that we create the time to be present for our children and have the humility to learn what they need.”