The former chairman of Nigerian brewery PLC, Felix Ohiwerei shared a story with a group of us that was a warning to career driven men.
He said when he was still a manager, he was very active and rarely at home. He was making good money and providing for all his children’s need.
One morning, as he was rushing off as usual, his little son was walking out of the room. He wanted to give the boy a hug before rushing out and the little boy ran away from him and clung to his sister.
The little girl made a statement that shocked him to the bone she said “daddy junior does not follow strangers. May be if you stay around more, he will know you and not think you are a stranger. Then, he will start to let you carry him”.
He said his briefcase fell out of his hand. He called all his people and cancelled his appointment for that day. From that day he was home before seven pm, he made sure he attended all his children’s school program.
He told of one of his friends whose was now a retired multimillionaire but whose children don’t say more than how are you to. They will spend hours with their mother gisting. One day he asked his son why he rarely talked to him and the son told him that he really did not know him because he was not there when he was growing up.
I had promised myself that I was going to be a friend, a confidant to my children before being called their father. I attend the events they have at school. Last week Thursday was my children open day at school when parents come to check their children’s work at school. I don’t think we were up to four fathers that came. Mostly mothers came.
My son was so excited that his teacher said that day was so special to him.
I how built such a strong bond with my children that I must sneak out of the house any time I want to go out and they are around. Mensa Otabils once asked fathers to think of what they want their children to say about them twenty years from now and start now to lay the foundation.
Thirty years from now God willing, I am very sure I will have great gist to share with my children. I am very sure that they will call me at least twice a week. I am sure they will not see me as a stranger.
Children will forget the money you spent on them but will never forget the memories you built with them. I am deliberately building that memory and so should every man. I am talking more about men because women find it very ready to build the memory.
Twenty years from now, it is the current memories that you will relive so you better create great ones. Be there at the little but important moments of their lives.
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