July 20, 2018

I am Daddy and I am not Your Friend. By Toni Kan

Back when we were young, you knew a father when you saw one and that was because fathers behaved in a certain way: They did not hug their children; if the baby soiled himself while in his father’s arms, the man would shout “mama tobi, come and carry your son!”; they did not attend school events; they did not wipe snot; if the child failed at exams he would scream at his wife “see, your son has failed again; If the child passed he would smile to himself “see, my son has come first again”; when the kids heard his car drive in they scampered inside; when he stepped into the living room they changed the channel to NTA news.

But today Pastor Taiwo and DSTV has changed everything. First, why did the DSTV decide on over 150 channels if not to make fathers lose their ‘fatherness’ and why does Pastor Taiwo keep talking about men and father’s being more in tune with their children if not to make us sissies?

My father and I have not been on good terms for about 2 months now. (Pastor Taiwo please skip this part) I know, I know but you see sometimes we have to disagree to agree. It is necessary. He is insisting on being a father the old way.

But Pastors who are very family-centric like Pastor Taiwo keep insisting that we must be new fathers, Christian fathers, wife loving fathers, children hugging fathers, diaper changing fathers, TV sharing fathers.

This TV issue has come up again and again, so let me address it. From the day we bought our first DSTV decoder, my wife and I agreed that we must buy a Dual view to avoid wahala. So, we did and peace reigned until the kids came and then I realised we should have bought Triple view.

My wife would sit in the bedroom and watch her favourite channels while the kids would sit in the living room and watch the Cartoon Network and Discovery channels.

Whenever I got home and felt like watching TV, I had to apply the wisdom of Solomon. Where did my power lie? If I told Madam to change the channel, the couch would be my bed. If I told the children to change the channel their “I am not your friend again” would haunt me.

Which brings me to a point, me and my friends understood when we were kids. Our fathers were not our friends. They were our fathers. So, where did our children get this “you are not my friend again” from? Did someone say Pastor Taiwo?

Well, the TV thing got so bad that whenever I walked in the children would hide the remote!

In my days, who born you? TV did not even have remote sef so what were you going to hide? Children would watch TV from 4 to 8 and then once Daddy sat in his favourite chair to watch you vamoosed.

But am I my children’s friend? Yes, I am. Am I proud to be? Yes I am.

I am the hugging and kissing and tv sharing kind of dad. Never mind that my son always wipes his cheek after I have kissed him. (He will come round, macho boy!) I try to attend school events and when I meet celebrities I make sure I get them to sign an autograph for my daughter because if I mention that I ran into DBanj at an event or was interviewed on Channels tv, my daughter never forgets to ask “So, did you tell them you have a lovely daughter called Awele?”

And who do I have to thank for that. This church and our pastors for making us put family first. From the day I got married, I told God that my family would always come first and I know I have kept true to that.

My children are my friends. We share with and cheer up one another. We are family and as they grow and make more friends and my daughters fall in love (Shudders!!!) I hope they will still look back and remember their oldest friend, Daddy.

Toni Kan is a writer and PR practitioner. He is Managing Partner at Radi8 Limited, a PR/Advertising/Events company.

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