It is not everyday that I come across a ‘Present’ Father, so when I do as promised, I will be quick to corner them and get them sharing so as to celebrate and encourage other Fathers out there to step up.
At 32 life changed for Businessman Dennis Kimutai, and he came to appreciate just how precious life is as he joined the ‘Fatherhood club’. For Dennis, “the process from conception to birth is nothing short of a miracle.”
Since becoming a father to two boys; Jude ( almost 6) and Luke (almost 4), Dennis has a new-found respect for mothers, and he believes that they deserve to be celebrated and appreciated.
Once Fatherhood became a reality for Dennis, he was forced to grow up. Fast. From the moment he saw Jude, his first born son, he knew that his life as a bachelor was no more. His life had new meaning and Real purpose. By the time Luke came along, his conviction was reinforced, as he felt more fulfilled, like nothing else ever could. It was epic. Dennis gushes as he speaks about his sons and one can tell that they are his life. He goes on to add that his sons are his greatest achievement; most treasured of gifts; and his legacy.
Now 38 years old, Dennis says that he does not subscribe to any one given parenting style. At least one that is defined well enough to be classified as a style. For him parenting is generally one of those ‘learn on the job’ type things. “All children are different. They are first and foremost individuals and I take that into account in my relationship with the boys. I’m also very honest with them.”
When it comes to discipline; Dennis says it is a tough job but one that has nonetheless got to be done. “Sometimes, I have to be tough. I feel that this is the time; when they are very young to teach them that in life there are rules. and boundaries.” His core lessons are on guidance, values and respect, as he believes it will make them better adults. That said, he is quick to add that he tries to be careful not to be too hard on them.
The transition into fatherhood for Dennis felt natural, as everything he had gone through up to that point was designed and geared towards preparing him for it. “It felt and feels like its what I was always meant to do.” Dennis adds that, it might scare a first time parent a little, and there are definitely some jitters but you learn to get over them.
Dennis largely attributes his smooth sailing to his wife, Juliet. “When your significant other possesses the skills, qualities, heart, love and dedication necessary to make her a mother, it makes fatherhood a whole lot easier. Just knowing that my sons have the best mother they could possibly have wished for, and that they are in the best hands, gives me peace of mind.”
For most parts Dennis tries to be as involved with helping raise the boys as he possibly can. From brushing their teeth, helping with homework, playing with them, attending school functions, to listening to them, talking to them, taking them to church and so on.
“Being physically present in their lives is not enough. There are things a father is better placed to handle and others a mother; so together we do the best we can.”
Dennis was there during both pregnancies as well as the births of Jude and Luke, and he wouldn’t have had it any other way.
His advice to other fathers is to always try and set a good example, as children are very impressionable and you are their first teachers. He goes on to add that we have to mould them properly if we expect them to be decent adults.
Dennis also recognizes that we are only human and do make mistakes. Its normal. There is no manual on raising kids however, as a Christian, he believes if you commit your children to God and raise them accordingly, they are on very solid ground.
Dennis is also quick to remind us that it is very important that we remember to allow our children to be children. “Let them get their hands( and feet and hair) dirty, play outside, get into a little mischief, allow them to make their own mistakes and learn from them, to interact with others, build relationships of their own. We can only shelter them so much.”
As I take in Dennis’ words, I find myself looking at the role of a Father and realizing that you are there to encourage your children; pick them up when they fall but also push them when they need it, as it goes a long way in building their confidence. He adds, “A confident child will pleasantly surprise you. Jude and Luke have given me some of my life’s proudest moments.”
Of course I cannot let my interview end without asking Dennis about the ‘interwebs’. Here Dennis urges parents to tread with caution as we’ve all heard the stories, of just how negative an influence it can be for kids today. We have to be careful which sites our children can access. It’s a new problem that our parents didn’t have to deal with, so we have to find our own solutions and not use it as THE SOURCE of information.
Dennis is fortunate to have older siblings with children all older than his. Which came in handy as he became a father as he has the opportunity to tap into this wealth of knowledge and experience if ever he is faced with a situation that he is not quite sure how to handle. This is his first go to source. However, he admits to googling and reading up on the opinions of parents facing similar situations and their thoughts on the way forward. The problems we face as fathers are not unique and neither does any father know everything there is to know when it comes to fatherhood or parenting in general.
The one thing Dennis wishes he knew and wasn’t prepared for were the sleepless nights. He also had to now make every decision, with his new family in mind at the foremost consideration and priority.
As we wind up, Dennis quips with a smile that Fatherhood has more than its fair share of hilarious moments. Children, in their innocence, say and do the funniest things. Like Jude, who one time was served with a plate of ‘omena’ (Sardines) and ended up wailing because the foolish fish were looking at him and he knew they wanted to eat him.
Fatherhood254 would love to hear from you about your Fatherhood experiences. Feel free to share or ask questions or nominate a ‘Present Father’. Remember we are not here to break but build a Fatherhood community as we support each other.