Khalid Vawda is a single dad to 3 budding young ladies who have officially anointed him as a “Fa-my” (father and mummy). He also moonlights as a Life Coach plus running his own tour operating company for visitors to South Africa.
Always being one to seek out new experiences (sometimes at painful costs), the one thing I always wanted to do and be, was a family man. Some deep memory had ingrained in me that there would be a home filled with warmth, a loving better half and a brood of offspring who would progress from inquisitive little terriers to invaluable adults, who would set in motion empowerment, justice, knowledge and goodness to the entire planet.
I wouldn’t make the same mistakes that the teenage me judged my parents to have made. I would do things differently. Those were the idealistic thoughts of a young man who didn’t have a clue what it took to walk in the shoes of his parents and the many silent sacrifices that were made by them in order to raise him.
After a marriage of 13 years and three amazing kids, here are some of my reflections:
When becoming a dad, life changes. We don’t have a choice but we can choose whether that change is going to be for the better or by embracing change and adopting these 4 crucial practices.
1. self evaluation,
3. a willingness to learn
4.desire to change
You’re also occasionally faced with the real danger of multiple personality disorder as you find yourself playing good cop bad cop – by yourself!
Culture plays a huge part in your development as a dad and a parent. While there are some valuable wisdoms we learn from our elders, there are some cultural influences that you want to make sure you leave as far behind as possible! Given my cultural background, imagine the alarm with which the alien concept of single dad-hood is met in many quarters, with the (well intended) primary concern being that of starvation for the kids. My girls have managed to turn that alarm into wonderment when people are informed that dad actually cooks and does a pretty decent job at it, while seeing to the rest of the house and earning an income in between all of that.
Your actions speak louder than your words
I’ve been blessed to be able to understand that we as adults have a thing or two to learn from these growing and ever curious little people and that it is simple and sincere. If you need something to be said like it is, a kid will gladly do that! Not because he or she is unconcerned about others feelings but because that’s the truth of the matter. Much to the red-faced embarrassment of parents close by! Watch what you do and say around your kids folks.
The major overarching factor in dad-hood for me though, is mindfulness.
Mindful of the fact that it starts with me.
Mindful of my words and actions and their impact.
Mindful of my manner and character towards others.
Mindful of my approach and reaction to situations.
Mindful of what I expose my kids to.
Mindful of their emotions, thoughts and ideas.
Mindful of their individual uniqueness.
Mindful of their uncomplicated perspectives.
Mindful of other kids.
Mindful of others.
Mindfulness in virtually everything because there are constant eyes watching to see what I do rather than do as I say.
This single dad-hood is a roller coaster ride and it will push you to the limit. Equal to that if not more rewarding is the wonderfully rich journey with young hearts and minds placed in your care.
Respect to all the single dads (and mums) who pursue this most noble of professions with love and dedication. You can do this without sacrificing yourself in the process!