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The Best Gift: Having Daddy Home

Whenever my father went to Nairobi, Kenya from our village, chances were that he would bring something for our mother and sometimes for us, his children. The gifts for children could be candies or a shirt or shorts. I always looked forward to his coming hoping that there would be something for me.

I started my own family in early 1980s and adopted my father?s habit. Whenever I was away for one or two nights, I would make sure I had something for my wife and children. Sometimes my schedule made it hard for me to get time for shopping for gifts. In such situations, I would arrange with my wife for time to shop on our way home after she picked me from the airport, just to buy gifts for the children.

Well, that was before I became a full-time motivational/inspiration speaker/storyteller and business trainer. Most of my schedules in the last few years don?t allow me time to shop. Thus, with time my father?s habit has unintentionally been left behind.

But, recently Celina, my 8-year old daughter, brought me into tears as she and her two older sisters were discussing about the gifts I used to bring home. They talked about how they used to wait in anticipation for the gifts and also noted they now don?t get those gifts so often.

At this point Celina hugged me and said, ?Oh, well, the best gift is to have daddy home.? Bless her heart!

Again, there is no substitute for a father in a child?s life unless the absence is due to natural causes, and somehow God compensates in such situations. A loving father?s presence and involvement in a child?s life provides emotional security that helps the child to develop the wings he/she needs to soar in uncertain world.

As a father I have found some trivia things I do with my children that are monumental in their lives. Here are some: Take each child alone for lunch. Let your child hear you cancel a business appointment because you have just realized he/she has an event you want to attend.

Visit his/her class (I go tell African Folktales and show slides of where I grew up ? this is a hit program). Read or tell him/her a short story. Have your child retell the stories he learned in school. Share funny cartoons or e-mail messages with you child. Read a book your child is reading in school and discuss it casually. Recognize your child for something he/she didn?t think was important. Write a note to your child?s teacher or call and tell him/her how much you appreciate the positive influence the teacher has on your child?s life. Take the family out or do something as a family in honor of a child?s achievement, no matter how mundane. Know the name and something about his/her best friend.

Regardless of culture, religion or social status, a child?s strong relationship with his/her father reduces chances of rebellion. In addition to being a father, being your child?s friend opens up doors of opportunities to learn his/her world. Apparently, today?s children world is different from ours. ?Oh, well, the best gift is to have daddy home.?

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