Last week was Prize Giving Day at Farrah’s school. You went with Caroline and it was a half a day well-wasted for you.
You have been to a dozen such meetings and they are a waste of time. But last week was particularly disturbing. The number of fathers present was high -- actually higher than that of mothers in your estimation. Either men are jobless or fathers have become responsible.
You got there at 9am as per the letter and it looked like it was going to be a big day. The tent could seat nearly 10,000 people. You peeked at the programme and it was stuffed with lots of irrelevant stuff. There were so many activities packed into the day to cleverly market the school and showcase the school’s might. They even had a popular businessman as guest speaker.
One thing was obvious – men were not having an easy time. Most were bored out of their minds. You could tell they would rather have been elsewhere – even having their balls crushed – than enduring the mundane activities of such a day. They were not exactly opposed to the day or the activities – just that it was not their habitat. Women, on the other hand, were enjoying every minute.
Children modelled. They danced inappropriately to inappropriate music and mothers cheered as fathers cringed. Seeing your seven-year-old twerking or modeling – it breaks your heart as a father. No doting father wants his daughter making modelling or video-vixen-ing a career choice. But you could see them being groomed. Seeing them shaking their tiny and puny bodies to Diamond’s Tetema was scary. There were also boring recitations of badly-composed poems, and a badly-written play with moral teachings.
Maybe these things are necessary. Maybe they are not. What you are sure of? The presence of fathers adds absolutely no value. None, whatsoever.
Why can’t we just let it remain a day for mothers? And fathers who are willing. No need to criminalise fathers who don’t show up. The man can pay school fees and help with homework, but for this specific day, fathers should be allowed to do more important things. They can even stay home and cook.
The world overestimates the influence of fatherly presence in children. Just being available at home, providing and leading by example is enough. Going for parents meetings once every four years would be cool.
You ask Carol what she thinks and she says it is stupid. “No modern parent can reason like that. Those were our fathers…”
“But don’t you think those aerobics and phony exercises were over the top for old men like us?”
“Damn, it is supposed to be fun…children like that a lot. Seeing mum and dad following instructions goes a long a way to boost their self-esteem…”
You mute her before she starts sounding like an educationist trying to sell a programme based on phony research. You will have to find every excuse not to attend the next one.