Being able to impregnate a woman or have children, is not what fatherhood is about, Pastor Mensa Otabil has said, adding “fatherhood is not for children, it’s for adults and for people who have the ability to have a relationship”.
Teaching his congregation about fatherhood on Father’s Day (Sunday June 19), the founder of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) said it takes a man to be a father.
According to him, a man is one who takes responsibility for his actions and curtails his sexual desires. According to him, a male learns sexual responsibility in the process of growing up from being a boy to being a man, “otherwise when you marry, faithfulness is going to become a problem for you.”
“A man must learn to restrain his sexual desires when he is becoming a man because when you are a teenager, your sexual instincts will become very wild, your mind will paint all kinds of pictures, your body will play havoc on you, your hormones are imbalanced, but what makes you a man is not just expressing what you feel, it is controlling what you feel, because people sometimes say: ‘Well, if you feel it do it…but that doesn’t show you as a man, it shows you as a person who has no self-control. So, why do we think that when it comes to sexual instincts, if you feel it and do it, you are a man? No. It means you don’t have self-control. …It’s one of the most nonsensical things I’ve ever heard,” he said.
“So, the process of becoming a man is that you learn to control your impulses. Things that are driving you hard, you learn to control it. …Unfortunately many boys never become men, they may grow in age and be 60 and they are still boys. They still play with their toys,” he added.
Dr Otabil said: “If you don’t learn to become a man and [you] become a husband, it becomes ‘the boy becomes a husband,’ but the normal process [is that] ‘a boy becomes a man [and] a man becomes a husband’. When you learn to become a husband, you learn to give of yourself. Marriage makes you grow through sharing, if you don’t know how to share, you are going to be in marriage and be selfish; anytime you are upset, you pick your toys and go into your room. Instead of sharing your life, you just want to have fun. And there are some men who never grow, always having fun…meeting old school mates and having fun.”
Dr Otabil taught his congregation that it was wrong for husbands and fathers to be always fraternising with their friends and former classmates instead of spending time with their wives at home.
In his view, even though ‘it’s OK if you meet once every ten years with your old schoolmates and remember how it was when you were in school,” “you can’t do it every Saturday,” adding: “Life is too serious, you can’t meet your schoolmates every Saturday and calling yourselves nicknames and trying to recreate your youth and eat all the food you used to eat and telling stories. How long are you going to eat that food and tell those stories? Stop! You are not a boy, you are a man and you are a husband, stop playing! You did it when you were a teenager, now you are married to somebody… and you’ve put your name on her, she’s called ‘Mrs your name’. That’s a serious responsibility when somebody is called ‘your name’. You’ve overthrown her father, and you’ve taken her father’s place, so, you got to behave seriously. I mean somebody’s life investment has been put in your hands. Don’t take it easily. Don’t just say: ‘You are my wife’. Do you know what it means? It means you are going to share your money”.
“So, boy becomes a man, man becomes husband, [and the] third process [is that] husband becomes father. When you become a father, you learn to live and give beyond yourself. When you marry, you give of yourself, when you have a child, you give beyond yourself. When you have a child, you know that life goes beyond you, children are the extension of yourself to the next generation, but they are also going to demand from you more than you think you are capable of. …To be a man is not easy, I mean you can’t bring a child into the world and say: ‘Oh, as for me, I like babies!’ They [babies] are expensive; for your information they cost money,” Dr Otabil said.