The search for a father-figure is every boy’s or young man’s secret longing that cries for fulfilment. It is a struggle that resonates with me. Here’s how I am fulfilling my search for a father-figure.
In 2012, I walked into the Nairobi Remand Prison and discovered that the young men that Richard Onchuru and I were meeting needed a father-figure. At first, I wanted to run away from the responsibility because it is the same thing that I had grown up looking for.
The next time that the need for a father-figure really hit me hard was in 2015 when I turned up at my ex-girlfriend’s house one day and her two year old son asked me the following question:
“Are you my dad?”
Since I wasn’t I said, “No, I am not!”
Deep in my heart, I knew that this boy was asking every man who showed up in his mom’s life and door the ‘are you my dad’ question.
That question has stayed with me for a very long. Even as I have become a father-figure to a few boys and young men, the need to have my own father-figure has kept growing strong with each passing year.
Growing up without a dad and not having a father figure - I noticed a hole in my life. For the longest time, I would run away from my problems instead of confronting them. I felt empty at one point. Not depressed, but empty.
The search for a father-figure
Every time I am traveling in a bus, taking part in a marathon, cycling, inside a supermarket or taking part in a Zoom meeting, I keep scanning faces for that one elderly dude who can play the role of a father-figure. It is a search that begun after my dad died when I was 13 years old.
So, today I finally asked one of the elderly dudes that I have been closely watching for the past few months to be my father-figure.
“Why do you want me to be your father-figure?” he asked, gazing into my eyes.
“Because the many boys and young men who look up to me as a father-figure need a grand father-figure,” I replied.
“Also, I’ve been looking for an elderly man who can be a father-figure to me,” I added.
“I have two things,” he said. “First, I’m disappointed that you consider me to be too old,” he joked. “Secondly, I am a very imperfect man,” he added.
“Listen, your imperfection makes you a perfect candidate as a father-figure,” I said. “I’m also the kind of guy who doesn’t take no for answer.
“What I can accept is you sleeping over this and giving me an answer in a week’s time, what so you think?”
“That’s fine by me,” he replied.
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