I hate driving.
I hate driving myself to work.
I love driving.
I love driving myself for leisure.
My car radio is normally my moderator on these two ambivalent perspectives on my feelings about driving.
I love my car stereo.
It makes my driving a leisure at all times.
I enjoy the banter that goes on in Radio talk shows and call-in sessions during my early morning drives.
Recently,a local radio station Capital FM, carried out an interesting social experiment.
They gathered a group of young men in their 20s and early 30s and asked each one to call their fathers and utter three dreaded
words in Mars, “I love you”.
That this coincided with the recent uproar of “Deadbeat Dads” where useless fathers like me were told off for not being responsible fathers by footing all their family bills,I was all ears,hoping to hear gallant sons who are proud of their fathers sing praise to them.
My estranged sons would definitely “roast” anyone trying to tell them that I’m a good dad.
But back to the Radio Talk.
The anxiety expressed was real.
Where does one start?
How to broach the subject?
“The old man will think I have lost the plot or
thoroughly high on something herbal?”
Eventually after some relentless pressure, the guys each called their fathers in turn.
They mostly started by beating about the bush with windy salutations before blurting out the words like a bashful teenagers stuck in a lift with an older crush, “Dad… some guys told me to tell you, I love you”.
The reactions of the fathers on the other end of the line was positive, if not somewhat surprised as if to say, “What the hell?”
Nonetheless, they were very receptive and the gratitude was expressed all around.
The initial fears expressed appeared
So, why don’t Kenyan men tell their dads that they love them more often?
Probably because we believe our fathers would not appreciate that level of validation?
Try making a habit of calling your 60 year old plus old man every so often to tell him how much you love him and he will politely ask you to contain yourself.
If you really must appreciate his efforts in bringing you up, then make something of out of your life and give him something to brag about amongst his peers.
If the same experiment was carried out between
mothers and sons, the response would have been quick and swift.
But “I love you dad” does not roll off
the tongue that easy.
I suppose it is a cultural specific thing.
The phrase “I love you” in the conservative African mindset has a very precise context.
That is a western romantic notion that
usually reserved for gooey eyed lovers.
Love, like sex,has a certain level of sacredness in the traditional African homestead.
These are not things to be discussed in public surely!
It does not mean that you do not love your dad
because one does not show eagerness to give him a bear hug every time he appears.
Out in Kenyan mano-sphere, there is a different language of love.
Those who know do not need to tell.
Actions have always spoken louder than words.
For some people receiving gifts is what makes them feel appreciated.
A bottle of top shelf whisky is a very loving gesture.
For others, it is just quality time, shooting the breeze, dissecting politics and roasting meat.
An African man from an early age is socialised to show, rather than tell.
Hence, male courtship is all about grand gestures and the very reason diamonds stand pre-eminent.
Nothing says “I love you” like a big shiny and pricey rock.
It is also the reason men break their backs to be
seen as able providers to their women and families.
Loving fathers in Kenya are those who pay bills.
Culturally, daddies were always placed on a pedestal but they had to earn their respect.
I was socialised to never bother trying to understand my dads’ motivation for anything.
It was not my place to figure him out.
One learnt to accept him for who he was and if you did not like his style, then wait until you
could start your own family.
Indeed, we never understand the love of a parent until we become parents ourselves.
Ultimately, all that good fathers’ desire, is to make their children better versions of themselves.
My father wished I could follow his advice but I ended up following his examples.
Men,contrary to all other false beliefs.would love to hear an affirmative declaration of love from their sons!
Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®