Times, they are a- chang­ing… my fa­ther was a role model... today, kids’ role mod­els are not dads

WKND - - Paternal Instinct -

Nasif Kayed is a 53- year- old dad to five chil­dren rang­ing from eight to 22 years old. The Emi­rati na­tional says that be­ing a dad today is com­pletely dif­fer­ent from when he was a son, paus­ing to re­call what his life was like, more than 30 years ago, around the time when he was as old as his old­est son today. “My fa­ther was my role model. A ‘ fa­ther’ was de­fined as be­ing a leader, a men­tor and a con­fi­dant for chil­dren, some­one who was will­ing and ready to show the way for­ward. If I tried to do that for my kids today, they’ll just give me a weird look,” he says, with a muf­fled laugh. “Today, kids’ role mod­els and idols are not their dads but TV celebri­ties. As a dad, I’m con­stantly wag­ing a war against those in­flu­ences, and some­times feel like I’m los­ing.”

Nasif adds that he also tries to spend more time with his kids, like his fa­ther be­fore him, but he gets the ‘ look’ or a back­hand to bore­dom. “I re­mem­ber my fa­ther would walk into my­roomand­say,‘ Let’s go to the mosque for prayers, and I would jump up and go. We would meet peo­ple on the way, he would tell me sto­ries… such a great time. If I tell my kids the same thing, I’m pretty sure they would just roll their eyes at me, or say, ‘ I’ll go with my friends later’.” But, he adds, he has big­ger fish to fry now, es­pe­cially with his younger chil­dren, aged 14 and eight. “I’m con­stantly wor­ried about what they might see or hear on the In­ter­net, on their phone or on the com­puter. I have to de­ploy all these se­cu­rity fea­tures and fil­ters and things… I don’t think my dad ever had to worry about any of that stuff. We had such closed con­tent.” But the In­ter­net age has made one thing mas­sively easy — pun­ish­ments. “If I want to pun­ish my kids, all I have to do is take away their phones or their ac­cess to the In­ter­net. It’s quite fun,” he says chuck­ling. It’s in­cred­i­ble how much be­ing a fa­ther has changed in just one gen­er­a­tion, he says as he pon­ders fathers’ predica­ments. “The world has changed so quickly in the past gen­er­a­tion, and, I think, par­ent­ing along with it. I think be­ing a par­ent was taken far more se­ri­ously back then — they ac­cepted the bur­den and re­spon­si­bil­ity and were com­pletely in­volved. It’s sad that a lot of par­ents today are too busy to be with their kids and rely on maids to raise them.

“My fa­ther taught me to do unto oth­ers what I would have them do unto me,” says Nasif. “That’s a les­son I hope to pass on to my kids. That, and to be sin­cere and strive for qual­ity.” FAM­ILY POR­TRAIT: Nasif Kayed ( cen­tre) with his wife and five chil­dren

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