Unmet Expectations of Boys without Fathers

It hurts when the sharpest memories you have about your Papa are the bad ones. It also hurts when you don’t have any memory of him at all.

This week when we went for our fishing ? trip, my aim was to have enough time with 3 boys who have no present fathers in their lives.

In the forest we sat, after a long day and I introduced a topic called “unmet expectations”.

I told them of my story of how I grew up without a biological dad. He passed on when I was young. But in the years he was around, he was good but rare to have. When he came visiting, he brought good stuff, biscuits, sweets but that’s not all. He came with big fat promises which raised our hopes but maybe they were hard for him to fulfil. He had a lot of responsibilities. Poor man. What I hate about it is that each time he promised, he had a way of convincing me that it will happen. I had no way of not believing him. He was my dad and of course how can he lie. My expectations of him were high in the sky yet each time, he broke them. Baambi I don’t blame him. RIP.

Sharing my story with the boys. I told them it hurts to grow up without a biological dad you can rely on yet you see other people showing off with their fathers, driving around, and enjoying time together.

When a father dies, you accept and get over it. You move on but what’s more hurting is when you know that the old man is not dead. He’s still breathing but won’t have time to see you. He doesn’t even recognize you.

It was a deep conversation which brought those rare tears in their eyes. They started opening up one by one. One of them shared why he doesn’t care much even if his father died. He’s already dead to him. He’s happy with his mom.

Another one who broke out shared how he started hating his dad because he was beating his mom. That was painful and still is to him. He can’t forgive him. 

To console them, I shared with them another part of my story, when time came and I lost my mom.

Told them what they each went through is bad but at least they still have their moms as a backup but there are people who don’t even have both parents. After a few seconds of silence, we all agreed that we’re lucky that at least our moms are still here and we can rely on them which introduced us to the last part of our conversation.

Forgiving our Fathers. It was the hardest one. Convincing ourselves to let go of the pain which was caused by our Papas and moving on is not as easy as you think. Each of my boys had something big they were holding on about their dads. Told them that I have ever been in that position of pain where you get angry to yourself because of someone’s mistakes but it’s doesn’t help much. Getting angry to your father who ignored you or hurt your mother doesn’t help. It only keeps bitterness in the heart and you’ll end up acting up at school fighting, drinking etc.

We agreed to forgive Papa. He is just human. We accepted to live our lives to the fullest without expecting anyone to make us happy. We understood that even boys who grow without fathers can do well in life. They succeed and break barriers. We drew some examples from the Bible and also looked at day to day influential people who grew without fathers.

By the time we finished our heart to heart conversation, our fish was ready for eating. We cleaned our tears and opened our faculties of joy.

This was the aim of our fishing ? trip. To create a space for boys to talk deep issues without being judged. A space where we can trust each other.

Happy Papas Day to all available fathers. Happy Papas Day to all mothers who have turned into fathers because the real father is not in the picture.

I invite you to our next fishing trip we eat fish as we wait for Covid to release us.



Written by Godfrey Kutesa

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