Be­ing a fa­ther has taught me to love more deeply – Shipi, bauchi PDP le­gal ad­viser

The Le­gal Ad­viser to the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party in Bauchi State, Rabo Shipi, speaks with ARM­STRONG BAKAM about his ex­pe­ri­ence as a fa­ther

The Punch - - FATHERHOOD -

How would you de­scribe fa­ther­hood?

Fa­ther­hood to me is the stage a man gets to in life when he be­comes a fa­ther, has the pas­sion for tak­ing care of his fam­ily and has chil­dren he raises to be­come re­spon­si­ble in the so­ci­ety. It is a re­ally in­ter­est­ing pe­riod; it makes me feel com­plete and hope­ful.

As a fa­ther, my life is full of mo­ments that re­ally take my breath away. To have a small hu­man be­ing that looks like you and has so much joy that they can’t con­trol them­selves when they see you or when you re­turn home from work, is re­mark­able. There is no feel­ing in the world that can com­pare to the joy and love you feel.

would you say you mar­ried at the right time?

I got mar­ried when I was 35 years old. I would say yes, I got mar­ried at the right time con­sid­er­ing that I had to pre­pare as a man for mar­riage and fam­ily.

Did you nurse any fear be­fore you de­cided to take on that re­spon­si­bil­ity?

I did not have any fear be­cause I was pre­pared for mar­riage and fa­ther­hood, so I was ea­gerly wait­ing to be­come a fa­ther. How­ever, I will say I had anx­i­ety which is very nor­mal when you’re mov­ing into another phase in your life where you will not only think about your­self but about your wife and chil­dren. There was also anx­i­ety about meet­ing the ex­pec­ta­tions and needs of your im­me­di­ate fam­ily but none of it was fear.

How has fa­ther­hood changed you?

Fa­ther­hood trans­formed my life to­tally be­cause there are a lot of things I did be­fore that I no longer do be­cause I am a fa­ther.

Ob­vi­ously, be­com­ing a dad has changed the way I spend my time. I now spend more time at home when­ever it is pos­si­ble. I plan very well for the fam­ily, save as much as I could and I’m spir­i­tu­ally sen­si­tive. It has made me more sen­si­ble when it comes to work and money. Fa­ther­hood makes me do things I never thought I could. be­cause of fa­ther­hood, I love more than I be­lieved pos­si­ble.

As a lawyer, how are you able to achieve a bal­ance be­tween your du­ties and obli­ga­tions as a pro­fes­sional and a fa­ther?

It is very dif­fi­cult but I try to bal­ance my time. I close late from work but I try to spend as much time as pos­si­ble with the my fam­ily be­fore go­ing to bed. Thank God for the kind of wo­man I have as my wife; she’s very car­ing, lov­ing and un­der­stand­ing. She is there to be with the chil­dren when­ever I am not at home. She has re­ally been very sup­port­ive and that has greatly helped in eas­ing the stress I would have had if she wasn’t sup­port­ive and avail­able. I also spend my Satur­days and Sun­days at home to make up for the week­days and com­ple­ment her ef­forts.

Did you have a pre­ferred gen­der be­fore the birth of your first child?

Yes, I was looking for­ward to hav­ing a girl as my first child but I had a lovely boy. My sec­ond child is a girl.

were you in the labour room with your wife dur­ing the birth of any of your chil­dren?

No, I wasn’t. I re­ally wanted to but I couldn’t be­cause of the en­vi­ron­ment we live in; it doesn’t al­low it. I mean, it is not per­mit­ted for you as a man to be in the labour room with your wife be­cause there would be other preg­nant women there.

what val­ues did your fa­ther in­cul­cate in you that helped to shape you?

my fa­ther worked very hard; he used to leave the house for his of­fice early in the morn­ing and had a strong com­mit­ment to his work. I learnt hard work and com­mit­ment to ev­ery­thing I do from him. Also, my fa­ther was al­ways there for his chil­dren and was re­spon­si­ble our well-be­ing. So, as a fa­ther today, I have learnt to be re­spon­si­ble for my chil­dren’s well-be­ing and be there for them when­ever they need me.

I am mak­ing sure that

I give my chil­dren the best of ed­u­ca­tion. As a de­vout chris­tian, one of my ma­jor pri­or­i­ties is to raise my chil­dren to have the fear of God be­cause that is what will guar­an­tee their fu­ture. I do this be­cause the bi­ble ad­mon­ishes us to train up our chil­dren in the way they should go so that when they are old, they will not depart from it.

I learnt this from my fa­ther who raised us to have the fear of God and that has kept me till this day. I learnt from my fa­ther hu­mil­ity, hon­esty and kind­ness and I do my best to live by th­ese val­ues al­though as hu­mans, we some­times fall short but, I do all I can to live by them. I can go on and on, telling you the val­ues I learnt from my fa­ther and I wouldn’t fin­ish be­cause they are many.

Are you also in­still­ing the same val­ues in your chil­dren?

Yes, al­though they are still young, I try as much as pos­si­ble to make them un­der­stand the power of hard work, com­mit­ment and dis­ci­pline. I am try­ing to give them the best ed­u­ca­tion to mo­ti­vate them to achieve their goals. I try to make them speak the truth al­ways and to love them­selves, that way, it won’t be dif­fi­cult for them to speak the truth when they grow up and to love peo­ple. In fact, in­still­ing th­ese val­ues in my chil­dren is what fa­ther­hood is all about. If as a fa­ther you don’t pass to your chil­dren what you learnt from your fa­ther, then you have failed woe­fully. Know­ing that, I do my best not to fail in that re­gard.

How do you dis­ci­pline any of your chil­dren when they mis­be­have?

I cor­rect them in love be­cause that is God’s com­mands to us. I talk a lot with my son and I ad­vise him even at his young age and God has been help­ing him to learn.

How do you as­sist your wife with do­mes­tic chores?

I do my best when I have the time al­though it is not easy for me, es­pe­cially given the fact that as a lawyer, I hardly have enough time.

Do you re­ward her for tak­ing care of the home?

I spoil her with gifts and praises. As a cou­ple, we play a lot and I take her out a lot even though I hardly have the time but I al­ways cre­ate time to give her a treat be­cause it is not easy for her. She is ded­i­cated and com­mit­ted to tak­ing care of the house and the chil­dren even though she works.

She has been very help­ful, so if I don’t re­ward her for all the ef­forts she put in to keep the home run­ning smoothly, then I am not a good hus­band. I try to do my best to re­ward her as much as I can be­cause I know I can­not pay her.

what has been your most chal­leng­ing pe­riod as a fa­ther?

I can­not men­tion any­thing specif­i­cally . Al­though it has not been easy, so far, God has been so faith­ful to me.

when you have a dis­agree­ments with your wife, how do you re­solve them?

We nor­mally talk about them and find out what ex­actly went wrong so that we don’t re­peat the same things again. but I tell you the truth, some­times, it is not that easy as one would think. It is one of the dif­fi­cult things in mar­riage but if you mas­ter the art of set­tling dis­putes in your home or mar­riage, you will have great peace and your love level with your spouse will be very high.

What I nor­mally do is to al­low our tem­pers to cool by giv­ing her space for some­time, then we talk things over. Other times, what we have learnt to do is to al­low some things just go like that be­cause it is not ev­ery­thing that we dis­agree on that we talk about. As a hus­band, some­times, you just let your wife have her way and as a wife too, she some­times al­lows me to have my way. We do all th­ese so that peace will reign in our home.

Do you usu­ally in­volve a third party in the set­tle­ment of your dis­putes?

No, I don’t do that. In­volv­ing third par­ties in a mar­riage is not the best thing so we try our best to set­tle all our dis­agree­ments and dis­putes be­tween the two of us. what ad­vice do you have for youths who in­tend to go into mar­riage?

I will ad­vise them to be pre­pared for mar­riage and know that there is joy in it. It makes you more fo­cused.

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