Ace comedian, Gbenga Adeyinka, has shared his fatherhood tales in recent interview.
The TV personality/comic, also talked about the qualities of a father saying not all men with kids deserves to be called a father.
Read excerpts from his interview with Punch.
How would you describe fatherhood?
Fatherhood is one of the most amazing gifts from God. It comes with a lot of responsibilities though. But I always say that it is not every man who has the capacity to give birth to a son or daughter that is a father. A father is that man who has children and lives up to his responsibilities; he deserves to be called a father. To be called a father is an honourable title.
How did you feel when you found out that you were going to be a father?
I felt good but the first time I saw my son in the delivery ward, I lost control of my emotions. I was overexcited and confused. The nurse had asked me to get some water to bathe my son, I did not know she meant tap water; I went and got bottled water. She said she needed tap water to bathe him. I then went to buy a packet of water. I told them to use what I brought; I was confused. The experience was humbling, crazy, joyful – a potpourri of emotions.
Were you present at the birth of all your children?
I was present at the birth of my first two kids, but for my last child, I was unfortunately not around. I found out on the telephone that my wife had given birth.
Did you assist your wife with tasks such as bathing your baby and changing diapers?
Yes I did. It was easy for me. I love children. There is nothing called ‘your work’ and ‘my work.’ On some Sundays, after an event, I head straight to the market. I buy foodstuff to cook for my children. My children always tease their mother about my good cooking skills. Whenever people see me in the market, they yell, ‘What are you doing in the market’ and I respond saying ‘what are you too doing in the market’. Because you see me on television doesn’t make me a better human being than someone else. I tell my children they are not special because I am celebrity; I let them know that they are like every other kid.
Were you concerned about the sex of your first baby?
No, I am not one that prefers a particular gender. I believe God blesses everyone with good children, whether male or female. I know families that have all female children and are happy. In fact, my father-in-law has female children and they take care of him so well. My mother and I were close too. The general belief is that female children take care of their parents better, which is wrong. I think that is old-school thinking. Things have changed. One’s prayer should be for God to bless one with a good child that will make one’s name bigger and better.
What were your concerns when you brought your children home?
I kept asking myself if I would be able to take care of my child; if I would turn out to be a father that my child would be proud of. Will I raise him to be a God-fearing child? Different thoughts kept racing through my mind. Even till now, I sometimes ask myself if I’m doing things right. There are lots of books on fatherhood just like there are books on marriage. But two children cannot be the same; raising children is a thorough job. All one must do is to put in one’s best.
What do you like about being a father?
I like it when my children use words such as ‘I love you dad’, ‘You are the best dad in the world’. I love the credit that comes with fatherhood. I like it when people pass good comments about my children.
What values do you teach your children about money?
I teach them to respect and have value for money. When you have money, treat it as a tool to greatness. I also tell them that they are not the son or daughter of a big man; they have to work hard to succeed in life. Money worked for would be valued.
Are any of your children showing interest in your profession?
All my children are comedians; some of my best materials are from them. But I always tell them to focus on their first degrees, after that, they can pursue any profession which interests them.
Describe your relationship with your father.
My relationship with my father was not amazing. I had a better relationship with my mother. My parents broke up when I was quite young. But I was lucky to have grown up with a couple of uncles who treated me like their son. I saw the way they related with their children and desired to follow suit. I was surrounded with a terrific family while growing up.
How do you spend time with your children considering your busy schedule?
All my children are in the university but whenever we are at home together, we have a nice time. They harass me and vice-versa. My relationship with them is a special one; I can be extra hard on them and other times very friendly. We relate like friends. When they were younger, we used to wrestle. But one thing I have discovered in life is that most times, these kids are your children not your friends. You must be hard on them and also make them your friends. I punish them when I need to. For example this year, they all went to school and did not call me on phone for a month. During their birthdays, I refused to send them birthday cakes. I wanted to pass a message about how to care for one’s parents.
Where is your favourite place for family vacation?
I rarely travel with my family; my wife usually travels with them during summer. It always happens that when I’m free, my wife is occupied with work. When I am free, I travel with my kids. There was a particular holiday we travelled to Ghana; it was our best bonding trip. We all had a lovely time. I have been looking forward to such trip.
Are you close to all your children?
I am close to all my children but I’m closer to my daughter. My son is a little withdrawn from me but I’m trying my best to bond with him. He is closer to his mother; but my daughter tells me everything, even things she does not tell her mother.
How old is she?
She is turning 20.
How do you balance your responsibilities at work with your role as a father?
Every human being must learn the act of balancing. I know sometimes work takes a lot of one’s time but as a father, one must not allow one area to suffer for the other. Thank God for mobile phones and free time. When one is at home with one’s kids, one should make it worthwhile. There is no excuse for failing to fulfill one’s responsibilities as a father.
How do you discipline your children?
Whenever they misbehave, I withhold things they like. But my kids are well behaved, I guess it is because while they were growing up, I was their friend and at the same time, an old-school dad. I did not tolerate naughty attitude. We understand ourselves; my children know when I am joking and when I’m serious about a thing.
What is the hardest punishment you meted out to any of them?
It would be not giving them birthday presents. I intentionally withhold it.
Are there areas in your children’s lives you wish you had invested more time in?
I wish I was closer to my son, I wish I had invested my time in talking with him. I think if we had spoken more, he may have found it comfortable talking to me more now. But I’m still trying. He is not fully grown and I know that there is room for improvement.
How do you appreciate your wife?
I always let how know how thankful I am to have her in my life and she knows it. A good father needs the support of a good mother. If you are a busy professional, you won’t always be at home which is why you need a good wife to make your children grounded, firm and focused. I know that my wife would always have prayers with my kids in the mornings and evenings. No one is perfect in the game of child upbringing, there would always be challenges.
Are you a father that gives his children all what they want?
No, it is always important to let one’s children know the status of one’s finances. Whenever my children call me, they show concern about my work. One’s children should know what one is passing through. If you show your kids your worth, let them know what you can do, and also let them know that in life one doesn’t get everything one wants. That way, they would grow up well grounded. I have always wanted to raise my children who to be grounded. When you don’t pretend to your children, they would appreciate you.
Would you describe yourself as a ‘westernised’ father who sees house chores as child labour?
No, I was not brought up to be a western father. I believe children should be brought up in a proper way. For example, I was happy when our housemaid left because I realised that she was the one doing the work, probably because she felt it was her job. Growing up, I learnt how to cook at a young age. In my house, everyone has a day to cook and clean. I always make sure that when our new housemaid is busy working; my kids are also busy working. Anyone who brings up his or her children to sit back while a housemaid does all the work is treading a wrong path.
What areas in child upbringing do you think parents are missing out?
A lot of times, it may not be their fault but they are missing a vital part which is in talking with their children and forming their habits in the proper way. Many children firm their habits based on what they see on TV and outside influences. Some parents do not take time to access their children’s academic work. However, I am not a perfect father. I am still learning in the game.