Fathers and kids enjoying World Cup

Fathers and kids enjoying World Cup

Date: June 21, 2010
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Ideas of stern looking, upright and unapproachable men are the ideas embedded in our minds when people talk about their fathers. Most choose to overlook their softer, friendlier, and more emotional side, as society has told them that this is not how “a real man” behaves. Moreover, by falling short of such stereotypical traits, men often face scrutiny from the people around them.

Yet, many men are breaking this stereotypical mould. The ongoing 2010 World Cup is giving some fathers the chance to spend extra time with their children, out of school for the duration of the event. Many celebrated Father’s Day this past weekend enjoying the nation’s centre role in the global mega event.

Charles Kheza is one of many fathers who spent time with his children by taking them to watch soccer at a World Cup fan park. “It is a real honour for me to be with my children to watch the game,” said Kheza. “Men rarely have time to spend with the children like this,” he added. Importantly, men like Kheza are not just taking male children to watch the games, but recognising that girls love soccer too, Kheza also watched the game with his daughter.

In many cases, the World Cup is letting us see the more jovial side of men. Many men are spending more time at home, watching games with families, and keeping their kids busy by taking them to local fan parks. The soccer fever gripping the nation will only go away when the referees blow the last whistle of the tournament. We can only hope that the whistle will not also signal the end of more fathers out and about with their children and spending more time at home.

In reality, fathers are the icons that we look up to. They inspire us to aspire for academic excellence, success, and achievement. They grind in pain when they see their children suffer and when they start to take the wrong path in life. They will be there to tell us “I told you so.”

Seeing how fathers handle situations that arise teaches us how we too should handle problems and challenges. Some fathers have close relationships with their children; others have relationships based on courteous detachment, and some are absent. However, all children desire a good relationship with their fathers, seeing them as their ultimate heroes, and want to reach out to them. This makes their absence from some families even more painful.

Bheki Hlatshwayo, a father himself, encourages all fathers to stand by their word and be responsible. “They brought children into the world and it is their duty to protect them and no let harm come their way,” he says. “To be responsible is being fatherly and that is part of Ubuntu.”

For such men, it hurts when their girl children sink deep into the jaws of docility in their marriages. These men encourage their daughters to be proactive at every given chance and not to think that marriage is their final destination. Fathers play a role in creating both the men and women of tomorrow.

Of course, not everyone celebrated the day. Some men said they forgot all about the day, and that their own children had not wished them a happy Fathers Day. For these fathers and children, why not take the step to reach out to each other. There is no need to wait for any special day, today will do.

For the many fathers out there who are people with character, we appreciate admire and love them unconditionally as they have loved us too. For those fathers who have lost touch with their children, it is not to late to make a connection. There is a still lot of time left before the last whistle blows, why not take in a match? And if you don’t like soccer, any other event will do. Mostly, kids just want to spend some time with the fathers they so admire.

Tarisai Nyamweda is a Journalism and Media Studies student working as a media intern at Gender Links. This article is part of the GL Opinion and Commentary Service.

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