Keeping up appearances in the changing world

Thursday January 13 2022
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By Business Daily Africa

In a world of keeping up appearances, people live too many lies. My interest in the social and professional lives of young people fuels a curiosity in their behaviour and activities.

On this particular day, as I enjoyed a social evening with friends, a young man carrying his baby boy happened to pass by. My attention shifted to him, and as I took in the sight, a friend asked me what I thought about the guy with the baby.

Women are taught to nurture and care, men to lead, instruct and provide. It explains why fathers never visited labour wards to watch their babies being born. They did not go near a child until it reached school-going age, yet no one frowned at this because it was expected.

As perceptions and beliefs about gender roles and expectations continue to evolve, however, certain behaviours and attitudes towards parenting, relationships and other socio-cultural norms are being challenged, with mixed results.

Living a genuine life is harder now than it used to be a few decades ago. My friend explained that most young fathers seen carrying babies do not do it out of their own volition.

They do it to be seen as good fathers and loving husbands. If true, this is food for thought. What does it mean to be a good father as opposed to being “seen” to be a good father?


Perceptions aside, young male professionals can have immense influence on their children, particularly their sons, in the following areas:

Good leadership mentality – Young professionals discard practices such as nepotism and tribalism. They tend to embrace people regardless of tribe, gender or religious affiliations. Their passion to enter politics is inspired by the urge to bring a positive change in governance and create a society where peace and humanity prevail. They believe in fairness and objectivity. Mediocrity is a red flag to success.

Business ethics – The young professional places high value on honesty, integrity and respect. This will inculcate good morals and conduct in their children.

Smart, hard work and honesty – Young professionals are averse to corrupt practices. Most are proud of the fruits of their labour, especially when achievement is through own lawful efforts.

The young professional male can influence his and other children with his behaviour and actions.

However, the impetus to influence is normally stronger and more effective if one is guided by a firm conviction in what he believes to be true and right. Actions driven by a desire to keep up appearances are short-lived and lacking in impact.