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Constitution Day: Things I Wish Every Man Will Do Before Retirement

Dear Men,

Today is a public holiday in Ghana (Constitution Day). As men, there are many things we fail to cultivate but expect to harvest in the future. Whether you are married or yet to marry, kindly lend me your ears.

We live in a culture that expects you to be the primary provider of your family. In fact we even expect you to extend arms to help other members of your extended family. I am told most of you have embraced this call and are willing to work hard, hard enough to make sure your homes (and even beyond) are having necessary resources and status for decent survival. But, I want to share a little advice with you, as your pursue this noble call with (masculine) enthusiasm.

My advice is DON’T THINK IT’S ALL ABOUT PROVIDING.

Our economy is hard. It’s difficult bringing enough resources home. So you may end up focusing so much on PROVIDING that you become “absent” from home; always working.  As altruistic and noble as this seems, it’s suicidal. Countless men have trodden that pathway and regretted.

You need to make sure you build a direct personal relationship with your children. IT’S NON-NEGOTIABLE.

You will one day grow old. [At least you hope so]. Your health will (very likely) deteriorate.

When you’re old and the kids have left home, the personal relationship you built with them while they lived in your home is going to be the largest determining factor in how much attention they pay to you (and your needs). When you’re old you’ll crave love from your kids. You’ll wish they visit you or call you often. You’ll even wish they share the happenings in their lives (including their problems) with you.

How do you expect them to do so when they spent their lives knowing you as just a wallet; a wallet they no longer need?

From today, make it a conscious decision to make time for your family. Try hard to get home as early as you can. Stay home. Help with work home. Help with your kids’ homework. Wash and/or iron their clothes if they’re too young. Play with them and ask them about their lives and schooling progress.

The goal is to do everything possible to make your kids learn to see you as a father on whom they fall for fun, advice and resources. Try your best to help your wife tap into her own talents and intellects productively — to a high level. This reduces the burden and makes it easier to share time with the family.

You will have a happier family, a happier marriage, and a happier old age. And even when you’re long gone, your kids will remember you as a loving force in their hearts. Of course, work hard to provide for the family.  But, Never forget that no amount of material resources can adequately substitute the necessary quality time you must spend with your wife and kids.

Cheers!

Isaac Ampong

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