Women Of Reverence welcomes Dereck Donora as a guest blogger for Fathers Day Month.
Dereck Donora is a teacher, a church leader, at Gateway City Church Alex, a preacher of the Word and an encourager. He is a father of boys and married to Isabel for 12 years.
He enjoys encouraging young people to fearlessly confront their challenges and make a difference in life. His motto is #faithlovehope hence he runs some social media pages aimed at spreading the message of faith, love and hope through Voice of Hope social media pages and channels.
He enjoys spending time with his family, exercising, reading, Bible study and sharing information with people especially encouraging the youth. He has a heart for reaching out to the lost souls and advancing the Kingdom of God.
What does it really take to be a father of 3 young boys? This is a question I always get, especially when people experience the behaviour of my boys and the way they apply themselves. It seems as if there is something that a couple of people think I am doing right. Whether it’s by design or mere coincidence, let me take this opportunity to share five things based on my experience on fathering boys so far.
Parenting means stewardship – the Bible says, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” Psalms 127:3 (NLT). This means that we receive children as gifts from God. They are a heritage, a treasure and an inheritance. Our duty is, therefore, to be stewards of the gifts that God has given us. Children become very important gifts because they respond to the original reason why God created man, to be fruitful and to multiply. Therefore, being a parent should be viewed like God has given you something to steward and when He looks back, are you going to be a faithful servant as far as stewarding the children is concerned? It is just like the story of talents by Jesus. Before you can steward anything else, you need to steward your children.
Be trans-generational – a lot of people do not look beyond themselves when looking after children. For boys, it is very important to set a trans-generational foundation. Whatever that they learn is what they become or reproduce. It’s not only raising your son, but someone’s husband, someone’s father and someone’s grandparent. So, your responsibility must look at the impact that you want with regards to generations to come. Whatever you expect in the future, the foundation should be laid when they are young. 2 Timothy 3:14 says, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned…” (NIV). This simply means what children become is what they would have learnt, seen and observed from their parents.
The first 5 years of a boy’s life signify a period where he develops foundations for life. If he can’t learn foundations of life within the first years, it’s unlikely he will have foundations in life. By foundations, I mean fundamentals of life, such as responsibility, hard work, discipline, honouring God, respect, love, accountability, honesty and others. I don’t expect the boys to love their wives if they don’t see me showing love for my wife.
Discipline is a key of life – one of my favourite quotes is, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn. This means that for our children to realise any of their dreams and visions, discipline plays a crucial role. Discipline doesn’t start when children are old and mature but when they are young. Proverbs 13:24 emphasises the importance of not spoiling the child by sparing the rod and that whoever loves their children disciplines them. Simply put, if you don’t ensure discipline in your boys then you don’t love them. Discipline is the ability to do what should be done and not what a child wants to do. A lot of parents fail to balance love and discipline. Children must understand that disciplining them doesn’t equate to not loving them, while parents must also know that not disciplining children is not a sign of loving them. Believe you me, I love my boys; they are the reason I work hard but I make them understand why there is need for discipline. Children must understand that when they ask for something, the answer is either a “Yes” or a “No” and they must be content with any answer because that’s the nature of life – you don’t get everything you want.
If they learn it at a young age, you avoid perpetual problems even for your children’s future friends, partners, employers etc. Experience has taught me not to discipline the boys in public, but talk to them in private and explain why what they did was wrong, and the consequences of their actions. Remember, disciplining can not be universal – understand your kids and develop a mechanism based on their character. There are several ways of inculcation of discipline so use the ones that work for each child. Our 3 boys are all unique and I got to a point of knowing that I should treat them differently.
Carry the children along – it is very important to remember that as stewards of the gift of children, we need to carry them along. Proverbs 22:6 says to train your children in the way of the Lord and when they grow, they won’t depart from it. This is a very important part of parenting. Whatever we deposit in our children when they are young, they remember in their future years. So many times, we are preoccupied with businesses, careers and even ministry, hence we fail to carry our children along. They must be an integral part of what we do. When I grew up, my mother was part of a rural church. There was no privilege of having a church cleaner. She would prepare food and then say, “Let’s go to church.” She would arrive 2 hours early to help with cleaning, arrangement of chairs and decorations. After church, she would remain to pack up stuff before the church was locked. It meant I had my breakfast and lunch at church. At first, I didn’t like it but the only way I could have breakfast and lunch was to go with my mom. With time, I began to accept it and started helping with the cleaning and other duties. One day, I was sweeping and she was cleaning the chairs. She was saying, “God, as I clean these chairs, clean the hearts of my children and my grandchildren to the fourth generation.” I always remember this prayer. This experience instilled in me the need to dedicate my Sunday to worshipping God and that I can do anything in the church without it being too big an effort. She carried me along. So, I do anything that I know will build them up – I carry them along, be it homegroup, helping with household chores, cleaning the car, doing the garden or even my farming project. Even when budgeting or buying their stationery, involve them so they know the processes and what you are going through.
Prayer – we are spiritual entities and all the things we do start in prayer. To be effective stewards of our children, we need to pray for wisdom, courage and knowledge of how to be effective parents. I have seen a lot of parents struggle, especially with boys, simply because they are doing it wrongly. I have been in situations where people ask me how I do it and some even bring their boys for a play- date too, so they can learn one or two things. I always look back at one of my prayers: “God, I want to be a good father to my children so give me the wisdom.” Wisdom gives the ability to deal with problems and challenges before they even manifest. This is what Solomon did and there was peace in his reign, so ask for wisdom. It is also important to pray for our kids, the born and the unborn, and release what you want from God. Ask for their protection and that God will always reign in their lives.
As I conclude, we have a couple of events that have helped us a lot. The boys’ circle is a meeting we hold in the garden to discuss serious issues such as school reports at the end of the term or serious school disciplinary issues like a red letter. I have seen the boys promising each other to improve their work, even rebuking each other or initiating prayer for each other. We also have boys’ outings where we go for dinner as boys, jog or cycle. This is where I get the chance to model awareness about social matters like preparing for Mother’s Day or their mom’s birthday, as I give them the opportunity.
Thank you and remain blessed.