These are hard times for Kenyan men - Evewoman

My Man

These are hard times for Kenyan men

Pastor Simon Mbevi with his family: Photo; Courtesy

You've perhaps seen him on TV talking about manhood in modern Kenya or read of his books on Fatherhood. Pastor Simon Mbevi, founder and CEO of transform Nations and Man Enough talks to us about the trouble with Kenyan men.

You are a father  and as a father, which three things are you most concerned about when you look at your children?

I worry and care about them. Every father does. I'm concerned about their moral values, their skills and calling; are they going to find their place in life? And finally, I worry about their future, especially family life - will they get the right people to invite into their lives?

Skills and calling in life; what would you do if one of your daughters told you she is not interested in science, tech, engineering or mathematics-oriented careers... for instance, that she'd want to be a make-up artist?

I would respect that and at the same time get worried about the challenges that will come her way. If this is what she is most equipped to do, and she loves it, I will go along with her and just begin, as early as possible, to prepare for all that is needed for such a career.

In fact, Convent, my daughter is interested in photography; I have no problem with that at all.

There are fathers who interfere with the career choices that their children make...

That is not good. The role of a parent is to understand, educate, encourage, and empower their little boys and girls to follow their dreams. Life is more than money. Children should be taught towards leading fulfilling lives.

Now that you mention it, what role does finance (money) play in making a man, A MAN?

Traditionally, the man was seen as the provider. He made sure the family (community) is catered for. That expectation still exists and it stands. You need to run a personal as well as a family economy.

What if the man is jobless or is in bad employment where he makes little if not nothing?

If as a man you can't use your skills to make money and better your life, be it in a job or business, you will feel emasculated. If you are unable to produce, your self-worth goes down. This is why even today, like in the past, women still want a man who can use his skills for the family.

You have witnessed this I believe: man meets woman, man and woman like each other, man and woman get together, man realizes woman earns more than him or has more money than him, man chickens out - woman wonders why, man takes off-woman is at loss for words. What has caused this?

Two things. Lack of confidence among men. Most Kenyan men do not know who they are, they don't know where they are and where they are going to. Worse off, they don't know what they want in life.

The modern woman, on the contrary, is opposite of him in all those. She is totally confident. When the two meet, only a strong man can keep up with her. Such men are extremely few. The other reason is the irresponsibility in Kenyan men today.

Moral irresponsibility, financial irresponsibility and social irresponsibility. A woman won't respect you unless these are in place. And if she can't respect you, she goes or in most cases you take off.

How have your associations, with regard to manhood changed over the years. You know - boyhood, early adulthood and manhood?

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I missed something as a boy since my father passed on when I was eight years old. My mother was the center of my childhood. Early adulthood (college years), my male friends were my reference points and consultation mates.

Like they say, a man is made among his friends. Your company shapes you. Into manhood, especially in marriage, I began to see glaring holes in my masculinity. I realized there was a lot that was expected of me. I'm glad I have worked on them.

Women are facing harassment and violence at the hands of men at work, home and on the streets. Why is his culture so prevalent?

Not to defend violators, but these are hard times for men. Changing times. What we saw in the past was tethered and subservient femininity. Today femininity is mobile and outspoken. Men are grappling with new expectations and new demands.

That said, back to irresponsible men. If a woman realizes that you are not pulling your weight, they will disrespect you or walk off. Men turn to intimidation, harassment and violence.

And still on parent to child bonds, what of the mothers' boys who at 29 years have not moved out of their mothers' houses?

This is a sad one. Some of these men are plain ignorant. They don't know that it is wrong. It is unhealthy; either the mother (father) is too protective or is controlling. Men need to cut off their maternal cord in order for them to be real men. Psychologically, you can't grow as a man unless you cut off the father/mother bond.

Spirituality and masculinity, do they interact at any point?

They interact at all times. Faith defines values and morals. A man needs to anchor himself in faith because those values and morals define who you are as a man. Faith also helps men deal with the deeper questions and inner turmoil that men struggle with.

Single women. We have so many in Kenya today. Can a single woman with a son raise him to be a proper man?

Children who grow up without a father will always be at a disadvantage. That is what I think. They will turn out okay but there will be gaps in their lives. The mothers can mitigate this by alternative fathering where they invite uncles into the boy's life. Or they can also introduce the boy to older male mentors.

Photo; Courtesy

You've perhaps seen him on TV talking about manhood in modern Kenya or read of his books on Fatherhood. Pastor Simon Mbevi, founder and CEO of transform Nations and Man Enough talks to us about the trouble with Kenyan men.

The question that disturbs most grown men is how they can leave a legacy. Do you have a word for such men?

In the heart of every man, there is the yearning to leave a legacy. To do something positively great and be remembered for it. There is a yearning to be a hero (I suppose this is why superhero movies are such a big hit.)

Such men need only ask themselves three questions; what is your mission in life? Who do you intend to impact with your efforts?

 How do you ensure that this impact goes beyond you- after you are gone? If a man can answer these, he is well on his way to creating a legacy-it is a deliberate and intentional effort by the way.

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